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Large cities have bigger share of low-income households

Brookings study finds rise in middle-class cities

About 25 percent of households in the nation's 100 largest cities are in the lowest income rung, according to a study by The Brookings Institution, while about 17 percent of big-city households are in the top income bracket. The study compares household income distribution in U.S. cities from 1979-99, and adjusts income for regional cost-of-living differences.   The 100 largest cities exhibit six basic household income distribution patterns. Only 13 balanced cities such as Indianapolis mirror the nation's income distribution. Similarly, in just a handful of divided cities, including Washington, D.C., does the number of households at the extremes of the distribution exceed that in the middle. Wealthy households predominate in a few large, suburban-like higher-end cities such as Scottsdale. A larger set of middle-class cities like Colorado Springs have most of their households in the central portions of the distribution. Finally, in low-moderate cities like Memphis, ...