Tag Archives: Low-Income

Expensive Housing & Wealth Inequality

Source: rentcafe.com

Expensive housing prices are putting America into a vicious cycle of wealth inequality.

Look at public schooling. It’s no secret state and local property taxes are the major source of funding for schools.

In fact, local property taxes account for approximately 93 percent of education expenditures, according to the National Center for Education Statistics. That means towns with high property values have virtually no problem generating the money to fund public schools.

Poorer towns, on the other hand, don’t have these advantages. This only deepens the wealth divide, as education clearly matters when it comes to this issue.

Mean Earnings by Highest Degree Earned, $: 2009 (SAUS, table 232)
Mean Earnings by Highest Degree Earned: 2009 (SAUS, table 232)

This certainly can be seen in Connecticut.

Each year, the National Low Income Housing Coalition calculates the “housing wage.” This is the “hourly wage needed to afford a typical two-bedroom apartment in metro areas throughout the United States.”

Connecticut’s housing costs are the 8th highest, with an average housing wage of $24.29.

Affluent towns including WestportNew Canaan, and Weston have a housing wage of $37.37. It’s a different story for the low-income cities. Bridgeport’s housing wage is $24.67, while  New Britain and Hartford are at $22.00.

Compare this to Connecticut’s school district rankings. New Canaan, Westport, and Weston are found at the top of the school district rankings, while Bridgeport, Hartford, and New Britain are bottom feeders.

Is there a way to offer equal opportunities and better education to low income residents?

Partnership for Strong Communities, Policy Director, David Fink is working to provide affordable housing to struggling residents.

Source: pschousing.org
Source: pschousing.org

Fink is aware that people are generally very defensive when they hear the words, “affordable housing.”

He compares offering affordable housing in affluent communities to giving a child vegetables.

“You don’t give it too them all at once,” he says. “Out of 50 new developments, you offer 10 as affordable housing.”

Fink says people realize affordable housing “isn’t so bad,” after seeing the long-term results.

“After time people will realize that it’s not the crips and the bloods moving in. It’s the nurses, and hardworking families.”


By: Jackson Rioux

Can Twitter Predict Your Income?

Photo Credit: Huffington Post

Everyone loves to use social media. A 2014 study conducted by the Pew Research Center reported that 52 percent of online adults use two or more social media sites. In 2013, that number stood at 42 percent.

Pew Research Center Internet Project January Omnibus Survey.
Pew Research Center Internet Project January Omnibus Survey.

These statistics serve to show the increasing importance social media has in today’s world. People are expected to be proficient on sites such as Twitter, Facebook, or Instagram. Forbes has even provided a guide for potential job seekers to use social media to land a job.

One of the most widely used social media websites is Twitter.

It’s been used for presidential campaigns, surveying opinion, and has been the source of some of the biggest breaking news stories in recent memory.

But now there’s a new use for the popular social media site.

Your tweets can tell how much income you earn according to researchers from University of Pennsylvania, Johns Hopkins University, University College London and Microsoft Research.

Your tweets can predict your income, according to a recent study.

The team of researchers analyzed 5,191 Twitter users, and more than 10 million tweets. Researchers created an algorithm that pulled in words that people in each code class used distinctly.

Here’s a summary of what they found:

  • People who make more money, express more fear and anger on Twitter. Optimists tend to earn less.
  • Tweets from lower income brackets included more swears, while higher brackets discussed politics, corporations, and the nonprofit world more frequently.
  • Lower-income people use Twitter primarily for  communication while higher-income people use Twitter for disseminating news, and professional aspects.

Some of these findings are particularly interesting. For instance, why do people with more money express more anger/fear, while people with less money express more optimism?

The study does show, however, the value society has given social media. In a short time, social media has gone from an unknown to a mainstream component that is scientifically studied by top researchers.


 

By: Jackson Rioux