A new way to measure income inequality

A comparison of two different neighborhoods in Chicago. On the left, Hyde Park. On the right, Woodlawn. Drag the slider to see the difference in tree cover.

This morning the Census Bureau put out a raft of new data for 2011. It includes the income and poverty rates from state to state, and across major metro areas. Nationally the poverty rate was largely unchanged, but it rose across California, for example, and in New York City.  The study also shows that income ineqaulity is rising in more states.

Numbers are one way to look at poverty from place to place. Blogger Tim De Chant tried another way: satellite images of tree-cover in urban areas. He compared the tree cover between affluent and poorer cities. He found that cities with less money had less trees, which could have a significant impact on these areas.

"There are some direct economic impacts of trees. They increase property value and reduce cooling costs. All of these things can add together to a large economic impact," De Chant says.

Tim's analysis started quite a conversation at his blog, called PerSquareMile. He's also senior digital editor for the PBS series NOVA Online.

About the author

Jeff Horwich is the interim host of Marketplace Morning Report and a sometime-Marketplace reporter.

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