From the NYT:
When Ashley Broadnax thinks of the East Nashville neighborhood she grew up in during the ’90s, the images that rush in have a modest, middle-class tinge.
After school, she and other neighborhood children bought snacks at the corner store and threw balls on the street as their parents returned home, some in uniform from blue-collar work, others from jobs as teachers or office workers. Neighbors chatted on porches and lawns of unassuming single-story homes. There were some poor families and a few wealthy ones, but more than a third of her neighbors made between $40,000 and $75,000 in today’s dollars — enough to live comfortably.
But by 2020, the income distribution had tilted so that half the families made $100,000 or more, census data shows. All across the neighborhood, the modest houses of Ms. Broadnax’s youth have been replaced by high-end homes known informally as “tall skinnies” that tower over the older homes that remain.
So when it was Ms. Broadnax’s turn to pay the rent, using her own middle-income salary as an educator, the cost was out of reach.
In some ways, the pattern reflects how wealthy Americans are choosing to live near other wealthy people, and how poorer Americans are struggling to get by.
But the pattern also indicates a broader trend of income inequality in the economy, as the population of families making more than $100,000 has grown much faster than other groups, even after adjusting for inflation, and the number of families earning less than $40,000 has increased at twice the rate of families in the middle.
Ms. Broadnax has become part of a great chase nationally for affordable housing. High rents in the city initially sent her to the more affordable Antioch neighborhood in 2011. But home prices nearly doubled there since 2018, so buying a home meant moving farther out to a suburban community called La Vergne.
“The same people that’s working in their city can’t afford to live in their city,” Ms. Broadnax said about Nashville.
Nationally, only half of American families living in metropolitan areas can say that their neighborhood income level is within 25 percent of the regional median. A generation ago, 62 percent of families lived in these middle-income neighborhoods.