In CT, a Vast Divide Between Rich and Poor

And the opportunity gap is widening, NPR reports.


An article published this week on NPR.org juxtaposes the economic and social disparity between Bridgeport and Greenwich, and uses the comparison to argue that the American dream is a pie in the sky for most Americans.

Whereas many household incomes in towns like affluent Greenwich have soared in the past four decades, the average paycheck in communities like Bridgeport has barely grown, widening an opportunity gap that makes the rags-to-riches story a fantasy for many, the article states.

"Put simply, in today's America, the children of the rich will very likely get richer, poor kids will probably remain so, and those in the vast middle class will be challenged, even in two-income households, to just tread water," the article argues.

The December 2012 unemployment rate in Bridgeport was 11.7 percent, more than double that of Greenwich (5.4 percent) for the same month, according to statistics from the Connecticut Department of Labor. The national unemployment rate in December came in at 7.8 percent.

Bridgeport, a city plagued by nightly gunfire, abandoned buildings and graffiti scarred public housing, "is a world away from the half-dozen other affluent communities that line the Connecticut shoreline," including Greenwich, the article states.

That variance has led to a "profound alienation between residents of [Bridgeport] and the towns around it," the article argues. "The idea that Greenwich residents should feel somehow responsible, or even concerned, about the plight of 145,000 people in Bridgeport strikes many as odd -- if not absurd."

"I don't think of it at all," Karen Schiff told NPR as she left the Greenwich train station after a workday in New York. "I don't think I've ever even met someone from there. Maybe I drove through, I don't know."

Tom Newell January 19, 2013 at 01:14 AM
I'm appalled by the mindset of not only the author of the NPR article to notate such an extreme example of people's differences. I'm also appalled by the extreme example of the interviewed individual's response. Neither is representative of most Connecticut residents experiences. We would all be better served by sharing stories/examples of what we have in common. Unfortunately it appears to be poor journalism citing what separates us. Poor and Rich alike knew and felt the same about what happened in Newtown , CT. !!!
Semmas January 19, 2013 at 03:02 PM
And what is the purpose of this story? We all know there are rich & poor communities all over the country, but I get the feeling this reporter thinks "it's not fair" that there are such rich people in Greenwich and such poor people in Bridgeport. It is true that more and more of the media like to point out all our "differences" seemingly trying to divide us rather than pointing out all we have in common thereby bringing people together. I think the media needs to start being much more responsible instead of causing trouble.
Rick Falls January 21, 2013 at 01:11 PM
Rich people get rich by doing certain things and poor people stay poor by doing certain things. To start out by pitting them against each other with the presumption that one is better or worse than another shows ignorance and bias. Maybe we should ALL look a little deeper into our individual responsibilities and opportunities to further ourselves, before we rush to condemn those who have accomplished the things we say that we would like to accomplish, and learn from those who have done it, so we might learn and change and improve our lives, instead of simply whining about life being better for someone else.


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