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February 27, 2017

Report: Income disparities have worsened in Boston region

Inequities facing low-income households and people of color in metro Boston have remained the same or worsened, despite an improving economy, five years after the disparities were outlined in a 2011 report, according to the Metropolitan Area Planning Council.

The council is poised on Tuesday to release an update to its 2011 report. According to council executive director Marc Draisen, there has been progress in reducing the number of low birthweight babies and improving educational outcomes, but "racial and income segregation, income polarization, and health challenges are serious problems that demand serious solutions if we're going to see real change."

The updated report found increasing segregation between whites and Latinos, worsening youth asthma rates and growing disparities, increasing polarization between the lowest income households and the wealthiest households, declining labor force participation rates for workers without college degrees, and more adults over 65 working through their traditional retirement years.

The report also found that white households live in substantially more affluent neighborhoods than do Black, Latino, and Asian households with the same annual income. "This is true across all income levels, and the disparity has been increasing over time," the council reported on Monday.

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