One thing you'll notice, if you stare hard enough at demographic data (or if you just travel around the country with eyes open), is the circular relationship between place, income, education, and housing costs. Whether that's a vicious circle, or a virtuous one, depends largely on whether you've been able to get inside the circle or not.
In other words, a place with well-paying jobs is likely to have higher housing costs, because more people wanting to live there to access well-paying jobs creates more demand, and landlords or sellers are better able to demand a bigger premium from those people. To have enough money to be able to find a place to live in a city with well-paying jobs, though, you already have to have a well-paying job (or a willing benefactor).
Likewise, well-paying jobs usually require more education. Obtaining more education requires tuition and fees, and the ability to defer wages temporarily while getting educated ... again, requiring a well-paying job (or that same benefactor). And getting a good education requires living in a place where a good education can be obtained, which tends to overlap with places with well-paying jobs and high living costs, again requiring you to already have money to get your foot in the door. It's a difficult carousel to get on, and a hard one to get back on if you get thrown off.
The increasing speed of this carousel—the greater disparity in pay between jobs that do and don't require a lot of education, the greater disparity in costs of living between places that do and don't have well-paying jobs—helps drive the growing inequality in this country, both economic and spatial inequality. Two different recent studies... shed some new light on the growing segregation.
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