Striking maps reveal the huge wealth gap between American cities and the rest of the country

A map of income disparities in the New York City area.

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A map of income disparities in the New York City area.
source
Esri

In the United States, your location is tied to how much money you can earn. Wealth is increasingly concentrating in urban centers like San Francisco, Washington, DC, and New York.

A new interactive map – which plots average incomes in counties across the US – highlights this modern reality.

Developed by the mapping-software company Esri, the tool indicates these income brackets with four different colors. The blue dots represent areas where the typical household makes at least $100,000 per year; purple is $50,000 to $100,000; pink is $25,000 to $50,000; and red is less than $25,000. Larger circles mean more households with a particular salary range.

The project explores patterns of wealth and poverty within American cities and the country as a whole.

Check out the data below.


As you can see in the map below, many people in the bright blue urban centers, like Los Angeles and Washington, DC, make over $100,000.

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An income map of the US.
source
Esri

To create the map, Esri used US Census data.


Nationwide, about 25% of households earn six figures. Around 22% of households earn less than $25,000 annually.

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Mansions in Beverly Hills, Los Angeles (left); cheek-by-jowl bungalows in South Los Angeles (right).
source
Esri

A closer look at individual cities shows economic disparities between neighborhoods.

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A wealthy Detroit suburb (left); vacant lots not far from GM’s Detroit-Hamtramck Assembly Plant in Detroit (right).
source
Esri

Detroit, a city that suffered major manufacturing job losses in the ’70s and ’80s, has a large income disparity between downtown and outlying suburbs.

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An income map of Detroit, Michigan.
source
Esri

More than a quarter-million Detroit residents live below the poverty line, according to the US Census.


Similarly in LA, economic opportunity is spread unevenly across the city’s geography.

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An income map of Los Angeles.
source
Esri

Wealthy households are centered in coastal areas, like Hollywood and Santa Monica, and the hills overlooking the city. Low-income parts of LA are downtown and to its south, in the San Fernando Valley, and in the San Bernardino area east of the city.


Manhattan neighborhoods are mostly rich except for parts of the Lower East Side and the northern part of the island.

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An income map of New York City.
source
Esri

Gentrification, particularly in Brooklyn, has raised income levels in some NYC neighborhoods in recent years.


Some Philadelphia neighborhoods, like West and North Philly, grapple with extreme poverty.

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Leafy estates in Ardmore along the Philadelphia Main Line (left); row houses in the Kensington neighborhood north of Philly’s Center City (right)
source
Esri

But portions of its urban core, like Center City, are also wealthy.

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An income map of Philadelphia.
source
Esri

Like Philadelphia, Houston has an outer ring of affluent suburbs and pockets of rich neighborhoods downtown.

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Gracious homes near Rice University in Houston (left); modest garden apartments in Houston’s Gulfton neighborhood (right).
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Esri

These neighborhoods — such as Midtown and West University Place — extend to the west and south.

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An income map of Houston, Texas.
source
Esri

Many of America’s elite zip codes are in city centers, especially on the East Coast …

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An income map of the East Coast.
source
Esri

… and the West Coast. San Francisco, California glows a brighter blue than any other city on the map, indicating that a large number of households make over $100,000.

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An income map of the West Coast.
source
Esri

The map’s snapshot of Southern states is much different, as shown via the red dots. In most Southern counties, over a quarter of households earn less than $25,000.

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An income map of the South.
source
Esri

Esri’s tool reveals that income disparities are both real and getting more extreme.

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Apartments and townhouses on Manhattan’s Upper East Side (left); public housing in the Bronx’s Mott Haven neighborhood (right).
source
Esri

It also suggests that the modern economy leaves behind large swaths of the US.

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Lakefront apartments on Chicago’s Gold Coast (left); houses and vacant lots in Englewood, south of the Loop in Chicago (right).
source
Esri