Friday, April 26, 2013

Trees Show Income Inequality In Washington Area

Trees turn out to be a telling barometer of income inequality in the Washington area, data shows.

New data on the region’s tree canopy show a stark divide between the region’s lower- and higher-income neighborhoods. 

More than a quarter of residents in areas with typical household incomes below $60,000 live with fewer trees and more open space to grow them. In places where typical household incomes are above $120,000, some 60 percent of residents live in leafy neighborhoods that are well-planted, the analysis shows.

A clear fault line has emerged, beginning at upper 16th Street in Northwest and following the Potomac River south of the city. In the Northwest quadrant of the city and into the Virginia and Montgomery County suburbs, trees are abundant and the land well-planted. To the east, in the lower-income areas of the District and into Prince George’s County, the tree canopy is much sparser and there is far more open land.

In the lower-income areas of the District — which has one of the highest levels of income inequality among the nation’s cities — nearly 40 percent of residents who make $60,000 or below live in places with fewer trees and more empty spaces.

Meanwhile, 80 percent of residents in upper-income areas live in well-planted neighborhoods, data show.  (Wash Post, 4/25/2013)

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