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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."

Alexa Ross January 21, 2013 at 08:02 AM
I grew up in Bridgeport. I now live in Monroe but lived in Greenwich for 8 years. My parents never made more than 30,000/year. I worked hard and studied in school and took every opportunity at jobs I held even if they were menial or manual
Keith Romano January 22, 2013 at 01:00 PM
I'm a contractor that works in many of these wealthy towns. Seeing what the wealthy have makes me want to work harder and make smarter decisions with my money. I also live in Monroe. Btw Greenwich has a few low income neighborhoods. When you have an abundance of super wealthy communities in a close proximity, they absolutely need a few extremely poor communities to balance things out. Although it's true that the super rich will always have the most money, almost anyone living in Fairfield county, greenwich to Bridgeport, even ones with just a high school degree can easily achieve status in the top 5% of this country. It's all about desire.

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