Rich and poor

An article in New Geography is interesting.

Madison, Wisconsin 53706 is one of the poorest zip codes in the USA. This shows one of the problem with statistics. I lived in that zip code and indeed I had so little money that I slept on a couch (i.e. didn’t have my own room) and ate little but potatoes and beans for a year. But I was not really poor; I just didn’t have money. The two overlap, but they are not the same.

Among the poorest counties in the USA is where my tree farm are. I guess that explains why I can afford the land. The dominant thing about the place is that it is covered with forests, which I think explains some. You make good money and employ people when you cut trees, but in between you get fifteen, twenty or even thirty years of nothing at all.

Places with unequal income are maybe most interesting. Washington is among them. They are places with really rich people living not far from really poor ones. A surprise for me was Berkeley 94720 where the median income is $16,192 and the average is $79,238. I don’t know Berkeley that well, but it always seemed to me to be a lot like Madison. I am not surprised at the poor students pulling down the median, but I am a little surprised to have people rich enough to so pull up the average.

The richest places are still in the old places, mostly New York, NJ, Connecticut and California. If you look at economic power by counties, it still really resides in New York metro, followed by Washington metro.