, Volume 33, Issue 4, pp 395-412

The age of extremes: Concentrated affluence and poverty in the twenty-first century

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Abstract

Urbanization, rising income inequality, and increasing class segregation have produced a geographic concentration of affluence and poverty throughout the world, creating a radical change in the geographic basis of human society. As the density of poverty rises in the environment of the world’s poor, so will their exposure to crime, disease, violence. and family disruption. Meanwhile the spatial concentration of affluence will enhance the benefits and privileges of the rich. In the twenty-first century the advantages and disadvantages of one’s class position will be compounded and reinforced through ecological mechanisms made possible by the geographic concentration of affluence and poverty, creating a deeply divided and increasingly violent social world.

Presidential address presented at the annual meetings of the Population Association of America, New Orleans. I would like to thank Kristin Espinosa for preparing the graphics used in this presentation, and Nancy Denton for special calculations that she carried out on my behalf. I also thank Paul Jargowsky and Lauren Krivo for making available unpublished statistics on poverty concentration and class segregation.