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."

CuriousOrange January 20, 2013 at 01:35 PM
Having a "Bridgeport" address may hinder getting a job.
Concerned Parent January 20, 2013 at 01:43 PM
I completely disagree. If you are on a job search, where you live never comes into the mix until you accept a position with a company and they do a background check.
Josef Stalin January 20, 2013 at 08:14 PM
We need to face facts. Most cities in Connecticut had their hay day between the end of the 18th century and about 1965. After business decided that the biggest revenue drain was employees who manufactured things, most towns and cities outlived their economic usefulness. The people of Greenwich,aside from "old money," (think the Bush family) are desendents[sic] of the of people who discovered you could "make money, with money" and things can be manufactured else where much cheaper and for greater profit. The good of the United States be damned. Cities like Bridgeport, New Haven, Hartford, Meridan have no use in a global, electronic, cyber economy. Our cities aer now just storage places for the poor and state supported, it being easier to administrate welfare if the majority of recipients are in one place. This also keeps the crime, especially murder, limited to specific areas.
CuriousOrange January 21, 2013 at 03:38 PM
Believe what you want, Ed. But I once had a Bridgeport address. I have seen and heard too many rejections of "Bridgeport" to believe that the address at the top of your resume has no reflection on one's desirability.
CuriousOrange January 21, 2013 at 03:42 PM
American Can Company made tin cans, once upon a time. Having so much money its managers decided it was time to move on. It merged and purged, becoming Citigroup.
CuriousOrange January 21, 2013 at 03:42 PM
I recall someone describing Bridgeport as "the armpit of Fairfield County."
M Myers January 21, 2013 at 05:58 PM
I agree with Ed. I came from a family with very little money, Swedes and Germans who made their way to Bridgeport just before and after 1900 to work in factories and as servants, and yet I worked my way through college and took every opportunity that could improve my life. This country offers 12 years of free education and opportunity abounds if you will only work and accept some sacrifices. The idea that only rich people can be successful is a dangerous and very limiting notion. Absolutely anyone can get rich in this country with a great idea and hard work.
CuriousOrange January 21, 2013 at 09:12 PM
Factory work, M Myers, is the point. It is gone. When the captains of manufacturing industries exported jobs, beginning in the 1960s, the economic divide widened. Drive down I95 and look left and right. Blighted industrial buildings. Empty lots. Demolition projects. Superfund sites. Bridgeport once had a foundry, machine tool makers, munitions plants, piano parts, sewing machines, and much more.


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