Posts Tagged "cities"
February 23, 2023
Broadband in High Disability Areas is Subpar
The Internet has become a necessity in our modern society. Yet 42 million Americans live in areas of the country where the connections to technology are subpar or, in extreme cases, nonexistent.
At the same time, federal and state governments are increasingly relying on people to interact with them online. This mismatch between a growing reliance on the Internet and a lack of easy access is a problem for one especially vulnerable population: people with disabilities.
Without access to a fast reliable Internet connection, it can be very difficult to apply online to Social Security for disability benefits or to file the periodic reports the agency requires of people who are receiving them.
In a recent report, the Urban Institute found that counties with high rates of residents getting Social Security Disability Insurance are less likely to have access to computers, the Internet, or high-speed broadband to get the government services they need. For example, millions of people living in 1,887 mostly rural counties do not have a Social Security field office where they can meet with agency staff and, at the same time, may lack a reliable broadband connection to go online.
Poor connectivity became an even bigger problem during COVID when Social Security closed its offices, forcing customers to use phone apps and computerized transactions in place of in-person contact. (Most of the offices have now reopened.) …Learn More
May 27, 2021
Working from Home: the Next Inequity
An impressive consensus has emerged around the benefits of working from home.
More employers have come to accept the practice after being pleasantly surprised at how productive their employees are. If remote workers were once viewed as insufficiently committed to the company, they no longer feel as marginalized. And people seem to like it – with the notable exception of the mothers juggling Zoom meetings and childcare.
An NBER study out this month estimates that about 20 percent of the workdays in this country, post-pandemic, will be carried out at home. That’s less than half the at-home time that was clocked last year as the pandemic raged but is multiples of the very low levels prior to COVID-19.
There is “little doubt that the stigma associated with [working from home] diminished during the pandemic,” concluded the study, based on a series of surveys last year. This seismic shift in workplace conventions “will stick long after the pandemic ends.”
But a second theme running through this research is just as important: the benefits of telecommuting flow mainly to the more educated, higher-paid labor force.
More than 50 percent of U.S. workers earning more than $100,000 a year have been allowed to work at home, rather than in the office, giving them more protection from layoffs during the economic shutdowns and from COVID-19. On the other end of the spectrum are lower-paid and minority workers, who have been much more likely to lose their jobs and be exposed to the disease. Just 25 percent of employees earning under $50,000 work at home – and only 10 percent of the lowest-paid workers who didn’t complete high school work.
Yet the desire to work at home is pervasive. Regardless of their income, years of education, or family situation, workers view it as a perk – so much so that most people said they would accept a pay cut if they could work remotely two or three days a week.
Another potential impact on equity in the study is the effect of remote work on commerce in the urban centers. …Learn More
August 16, 2018
US Increasingly Polarized – by Geography
Rich or poor, old or young, white or black, red or blue – our differences cut many ways.
But a new divide has opened up, one based on geography. Stark new evidence shows that well-paid, highly educated people have moved to high-cost coastal cities over the past decade, while lower-income, less educated people have moved out.
American cities are “grow[ing] increasingly dissimilar along socioeconomic dimensions,” said Issi Romem, a fellow at the Terner Center for Housing Innovation at the University of California and economist for BuildZoom, a California website focused on development.
Gentrification is nothing new. But Romem’s analysis of U.S. intercity migration shows that gentrification occurs not just within city neighborhoods but also between cities. San Francisco is the most extreme example of what he calls “income sorting.” He estimates that the population moving into the Bay Area earns $13,000 more, on average, than the population that is moving out. People relocating to Seattle and Washington earn about $3,800 more than the people who leave.
A similar phenomenon is occurring in New York, Los Angeles, San Diego, and Boston, where restrictions on development, coupled with the strong demand for the limited housing stock, are pushing up house prices and driving people out, including renters who can no longer afford the steep increases in rents.
These movements exacerbate society’s already high level of inequality. As cities or regions of the country become less integrated in terms of their residents’ incomes, fewer low- and middle-income groups will enjoy the particular benefits to them of living in the midst of those who are better off.
Upward mobility is one such benefit. A famous study found that lower-income people are more likely to move up the income ladder, relative to their parents, if they live in coastal cities with higher education levels, better primary schools, and more family stability. Other research shows they will also live longer if they reside in cities with more socioeconomic diversity. …Learn More