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Report Warns Of Threat Income Inequality May Pose For Massachusetts Economy27:29
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Economic inequality remains the greatest threat to the region's long-term prosperity, according to the Boston Foundation. Above, commuters walk past demonstrators with Occupy Boston in October. (AP)
Economic inequality remains the greatest threat to the region's long-term prosperity, according to the Boston Foundation. Above, commuters walk past demonstrators with Occupy Boston in October. (AP)

A new report from the Boston Foundation warns that growing economic inequality remains the greatest threat to the region's long-term prosperity.

According to the report, released Wednesday, Boston's richest 20 percent earned more than half of the region's income in 2010. The poorest 20 percent made just over 2 percent of the income.

That income disparity means the vast majority of workers remain vulnerable to economic downturns. It also means that the economic recovery is leaving many people behind.

But the reports also includes some good news. It says greater Boston has ridden out the recession much better than most of the nation: Unemployment has dropped a full point over the last year — thanks to a thriving innovation economy with well paying jobs in finance, high tech and bio-tech.

But what has to happen in order to spread that good fortune — and wealth — more evenly across the entire socioeconomic landscape? That's the question at the heart of the report, called "City of Ideas, Reinventing Boston's Innovation Economy."

Guests:

  • Charlotte Kahn, director, The Boston Indicators Project at the Boston Foundation and author "City of Ideas: Reinventing Boston’s Innovation Economy."
  • Joan Fitzgerald, director, Northeastern University Law and Public Policy Program; author, "Emerald Cities: Urban Sustainability and Economic Development."
  • Noah Berger, president, Mass. Budget and Policy Center.

More From WBUR:

This segment aired on March 14, 2012.

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