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."

Southbury Mom January 21, 2013 at 12:05 PM
I only see one one point in writing an article like this and that is for it to create a greater divide between the haves and have nots. And that is for it to create greater animosity, especially using that quote at the end. How about writing something that helps provide suggestions on how to improve the situation? Disappointed.
Webster January 21, 2013 at 02:27 PM
Is this really News ?? You could make the same comparison using Southbury v. Waterbury, West Hartford v. Hartford etc. You write about scenarios that are as obvious as to why Bridgeport has an 11.7% unemployment rate. I am quite sure that there are far fewer chronically unemployed folks residing in Greenwich than in Bridgeport. Perhaps people in Bridgeport need to take more responsibility for the themselves and not look to "affluent" communities to bail them out or be envious of...
Amy Parrott January 21, 2013 at 05:01 PM
How can this be? Obama promised to close this gap you speak of...
Kevin January 21, 2013 at 05:35 PM
Is the idiot writer of this article expecting people who work hard to earn a decent living to turn their incomes over to people who choose not to work? Wait!! We're doing that now. And the Chief Socialist in Charge is being sworn in right now to insure at least four more years of it.
Sby. Resident January 21, 2013 at 06:29 PM
I say Amen to the above comments. Just to note that NPR is a very liberal leftest media source. The wealthy give a lot of money and volunteer time to the under privileged, but you do not hear about it because they do not go around patting themselves on the back. If The Patch continues to post these type of articles to stir up more division in this world then I will unsubscribe.
Mary January 21, 2013 at 07:15 PM
What this very slanted ,I agree socially divisive, article is lacking is reasons. Why is the divide so great? Without that information there is no point to it and it wasted my time to read it. Until this country is willing to take an honest look at what causes poverty the divide will continue.
James Patchen January 21, 2013 at 09:03 PM
Duuuuuuuuhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhh. Let's just level all the homes across the state and place everyone in recycled shipping containers. We can then move them around the state every 6 months. Now, that's a plan...a solution. Everyone has the same home; everyone eventually lives in Greenwich and Bridgeport. There you go...a solution. Dumb, but a solution.
MK Cuthbert January 22, 2013 at 02:06 AM
This is just not true. Your comment is rhetorical and subjective. The wealthy make no meaningful contribution to the fact that over 50 % of Ct families earn less than $500 a week, cannot afford housing in the state and do not earn a living wage. Anyone in any proximity to either the economic numbers, labor stats and social service stats in Ct would find your comment absurd. No disrespect intended. Just a fact.
Kris January 22, 2013 at 07:14 PM
Agreed that the article makes no good suggestions as to how to address said economic differences and the reader can't help but read as it liberal flag-waving (especially those with a conservative axe to grind). I think the point is simply that these cities are neighbors, and that the economic divide continues to grow, even in our home state. To say that struggling communities just need to pull themselves up by the bootstraps is probably even more naive though. Since when has economics ever worked that way?


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