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KERA's One Crisis Away project focuses on North Texans living on the financial edge.

The Dallas Divide: Why Neighborhoods Near Each Other Are Worlds Apart Financially


When it comes to wealth, there’s a big gap between the “haves” and “have nots” in Dallas. And it turns out, those with means and those without don’t live very far apart.

The Urban Institute, a Washington D.C.-based research group, analyzed neighborhood equality across the U.S. and found the Dallas area’s highest and lowest ranked neighborhoods are only separated by a few miles.

As part of KERA’s One Crisis Away initiative, the Urban Institute’s Rolf Pendall explains the Dallas divide.

Rolf Pendall on….

…what makes a neighborhood privileged or disadvantaged: “When most people look at that they think about income and poverty and that’s an important part of it, but there are other aspects of your capacity to get things done. College education, whether you own a house or not and the value of your house, all add up to a level of privilege or disadvantage for your family and then that concentrates in space in certain neighborhoods so that some neighborhoods have a lot, and some have very little.”

…Dallas’ most disparate neighborhood: “Whereas almost all the house are owner occupied in Preston Hollow, most of the houses in the other neighborhood [near Love Field Airport] are renter occupied. The number of people who have college degrees in the most affluent neighborhoods, that’s 89 percent of adults, and the least privileged, that’s only 2 percent of the adults. The median housing value is different by a factor of about eight; over half a million dollars in Preston Hollow, only $62,000 or so in the area near Love Field. But that practically doesn’t matter because only 6 percent of the houses in the least privileged neighborhood are owner occupied compared with almost all of the houses in Preston Hollow.”

…why Dallas has reason to be optimistic about bridging the gap: “Dallas is still growing and a lot of that growth is going to be really people from every country and from all socio-economic classes, so the fuel for inclusion is really being born there right now."

Courtney Collins has been working as a broadcast journalist since graduating from the Medill School of Journalism at Northwestern University in 2004. Before coming to KERA in 2011, Courtney worked as a reporter for NPR member station WAMU in Washington D.C. While there she covered daily news and reported for the station’s weekly news magazine, Metro Connection.