12/18/2013 02:16 pm ET Updated Dec 06, 2017

This 1 Street Perfectly Depicts America's 'Defining Challenge'

street income inequality

If you ever find yourself in Manhattan on East 98th Street, between 5th Ave. and 3rd, take a look around: You're standing in the middle of what Barack Obama recently called "the defining challenge of our time."

Looking south, you'll see the Upper East Side -- one of the richest neighborhoods in the United States -- where median household incomes on certain blocks can top $150,000 per year. To the north you'll find East Harlem, where many households subsist on less than $25,000 per year.

The map pictured here comes courtesy of the U.S. Census Bureau, which just released its 2012 American Community Survey of the U.S. population looking at income, education level and a host of other data points.

The dark red covering nearly all of the Upper East Side designates Census tracts where median household incomes top $75,000 per year, the highest income designation (though notably lower than the typical Upper East Side household). The pale yellow above E. 98th Street represents the Bureau’s lowest income designation: $35,000 per year or less.

So there we have it: A street that represents both the growing income inequality of the last four decades and a country increasingly made up of rich neighborhoods and poor neighborhoods, with little in between. So much for the middle-class.



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