America today is beset by a New Urban Crisis. If the old urban crisis was defined by the flight of business, jobs, and the middle class to the suburbs, the New Urban Crisis is defined by the back-to-the-city movement of the affluent and the educated—accompanied by rising inequality, deepening economic segregation, and increasingly unaffordable housing.
This crisis looks different across the country. The map below charts how America’s 350-plus metros stack up on my New Urban Crisis index—a composite metric my team and I developed. It accounts for measures of wage inequality and income inequality; overall economic segregation along income, educational, and occupational lines; and the unaffordability of housing. The index combines these factors on a scale of zero to one, where a higher coefficient indicates more inequality, segregation, and lack of affordability. Dark purple indicates metros where the New Urban Crisis is most severe, while light blue indicates where its impact is less harsh.