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Connecticut's Ribbon of Hardship

In the most unequal region in America, the Lazarus family is trying to get on the ladder of upward mobility. Even as many economists say it’s a steeper climb
Remnants of Bridgeport's prosperous past
Remnants of Bridgeport's prosperous pastPhotograph by Francesco Nazardo for Bloomberg Businessweek

Jodey Lazarus’s brown eyes follow the red grapes down checkout lane 11’s conveyor belt, then focus on the cash register to verify she’s getting the 99¢-a-pound price promised in the weekly ShopRite circular. The bill is just short of $70. Lazarus, 29, takes a breath, drops her gaze and extends her silver state benefits card. The card machine fails to read the damaged magnetic strip. The cashier squints at the numbers.

“It doesn’t swipe?”