Where We Are

First in a series exploring where the Greater New Haven region is now, how it got to where it is and how it can imagine itself in the future.

Old Story: New Haven provides high-paying jobs for the suburbs while housing and servicing the majority of the region’s low-income population.

New Story: The city’s high income areas are outperforming the suburbs in quality of life and inclusion of different social groups, and may serve as a new model for shared prosperity.

Greater New Haven

DataHavenAccording to a Community Index Report (hereafter referred to as “the Report”) by the group Data Haven, Greater New Haven, on the whole, enjoys a high quality of life – helping to make the region a desirable place to live. In terms of well-being (determined by the aggregate of a series of indicators, including employment, poverty and commute times) Greater New Haven ranks within the top 15 percent of regions nationally. In areas like educational attainment, opportunities for youth, and access to health care, in particular, the region excels. While this is encouraging news, there are also several indicators, such as income inequality, school segregation and housing costs that prevent Greater New Haven from performing even better. Of additional concern, these characteristics are not evenly distributed throughout the region, but vary drastically depending on location. Within Greater New Haven, each town plays a certain role according to its own unique characteristics. For analysis purposes, the Report categorizes the region’s cities and towns into three basic groups based on their common roles within Greater New Haven: the Outer Ring Suburbs, the Inner Ring Suburbs, and the Low, Medium and High Income Areas in the City of New Haven. Determining the role that these groups play within the region will allow for a better understanding of what contributions are made to the overall success of Greater New Haven by each place.

Outer Ring Suburbs

The Outer Ring Suburbs include the predominately ex-urban towns of Bethany, Branford, Guilford, Madison, Milford, North Branford, North Haven, Orange, and Woodbridge. Collectively, these towns rank slightly higher than the overall region on the Index of Wellbeing. The factor that most contributes to the high ranking of these towns is the housing of large numbers of high-income people while providing very few affordable units. The Outer Ring Suburbs house 41 percent of Greater New Haven’s total population, but only 14 percent of its low-income population. As a result, these towns have a well-educated workforce and a solid tax base, yet have little demand to provide services, which allows residents to enjoy low unemployment rates, good student performance in schools, low poverty rates, good health, low crime and relatively low taxes. While the Outer Ring Suburbs have benefited from these characteristics for several decades now, recent trends show that these towns may be losing favor among key demographics.

Overall population growth has slowed significantly in the Outer Ring Suburbs over the last 10 years – netting just 4,000 residents since the year 2000. While gains in the population over the age of 45 have managed to outpace the sizable losses of young people under the age of 44, the absence of a growing youthful population does not bode well for the future of these towns. Furthermore, the Outer Ring Suburbs have experienced a net loss of over 4,000 jobs since 2002, and the few jobs these towns do have tend not to pay a living wage (defined as a job that pays at least $40,000 a year). The reconciliation of having more workers than jobs and more non-living wage jobs than living wage ones is achieved through commuting to other towns—predominately New Haven—for work. This, unfortunately, generates more traffic-inducing road usage, costly and voluminous parking infrastructure, and pollution. However positive the outcomes might be, continuing to house a disproportionate share of the region’s wealthiest households at the expense of losing young people and jobs puts not only the Outer Ring Suburbs on a downward trajectory, but also the Greater New Haven Region as a whole.

Inner Ring Suburbs

Comprised of the largely suburban towns of Hamden, East Haven and West Haven, the Inner Ring Suburbs house a diverse cross-section of the region’s population. Traditionally, these towns benefited from low unemployment rates, good student performance in schools, low poverty rates, good health outcomes for residents, and relatively low crime and taxes. However, the Inner Ring Suburbs have also recently experienced a loss of residents in the 25-44 age range despite overall strong population growth with other demographics. Additionally, in the last decade these towns have seen a substantial loss in the number of jobs, of which there weren’t many to begin with. Supplying just 19 percent of the region’s jobs while housing 31 percent of its population, residents of the Inner Ring Suburbs, like the Outer Ring, are able to rectify this through commuting.

Despite good outcomes overall for residents and the fact that the Outer Ring also benefits from commuting, the Inner Ring Suburbs actually rank below the overall region on the Index of Well-being. This is largely due to ongoing demographic changes in recent years and the inability of these towns to adequately respond to these changes. The Inner Ring Suburbs have seen dramatic increases in poverty and crime, while providing the level of service associated with low taxes. New residents of these towns are often in search of better schools, greater opportunity and a higher living standard. Unfortunately, they are being faced with the realities of suburban living, including the burdens of homeownership and multiple car-ownership, and these new groups tend not to have the means to support this lifestyle as do the more established residents of the Outer Ring Suburbs. At the moment, the Inner Ring Suburbs are a microcosm of the entire Greater New Haven Region, but they are in the midst of dramatic change and without charting a different course, these towns will have a difficult future ahead of them.

City of New Haven

After decades of population loss and economic stagnation, the City of New Haven has seen impressive job and population growth in the last 10 years. For the time being, it appears that the city has begun to dig itself out of the hole it’s been in since the onset of deindustrialization in the northeastern United States. However, the city is still plagued by problems familiar to most American cities. New Haven houses just 28 percent of the region’s total population, but is home to 59 percent of its low-income residents, despite the fact that the city supplies over 79,000 jobs – nearly double the number of workers who live in the city. As is the case in the Greater New Haven Region, these issues are not distributed evenly throughout each neighborhood. Therefore, rather than looking at the city as a monolith, it is better understood by looking at its parts.

Low Income Areas

The Low Income Areas of the city include Dixwell, Dwight, Fair Haven, the Hill, Newhallville, West River and West Rock. During the industrial era, these neighborhoods were the working class areas of the city. Today, they are where a disproportionate share of the region’s low-income residents live, and it is on these streets where one finds the majority of the city’s crime, unemployed population, abandoned buildings, vacant lots, residents in poor health and underperforming students. This is the results of decades of divestment, marginalization and misguided planning efforts. The decline of manufacturing jobs decimated working class neighborhoods in the city, producing a chronically unemployed underclass. Contributing to this is the fact that only 4% of the living wage jobs located in New Haven are held by workers living in the city’s Low Income Areas. Although 24 percent of workers living in these neighborhoods are able to find a living wage job outside the city, this leaves many workers to depend on a shrinking number of suburban jobs that do not pay a living wage. Not surprisingly, these Low Income Areas rank lowest on the Index of Wellbeing as compared to the other places in the region. For the most part, these neighborhoods have not seen the fruits of the City’s recent rejuvenation. That’s not to say that New Haven’s Low Income Areas are hopeless, to the contrary, they are home primarily to hardworking families and small businesses trying to succeed. Not only that, but these neighborhoods also have the infrastructure for success – from building lots already served by utilities and historic properties to transportation options and proximity to regional assets . The problems facing these Low Income Areas might be severe, but they are not insurmountable.

Medium Income Areas

The city’s Medium Income Areas contain the neighborhoods of Amity, the Annex, Beaver Hills, Downtown, Edgewood, Fair Haven Heights, Quinnipiac Meadows and Wooster Square. These neighborhoods traditionally served as either stepping stones for working class families or middle class enclaves that have become more affordable over time. Home to diverse populations, these Medium Income Areas of the city have adjusted to changes with mixed results. Compared to the rest of the region, these neighborhoods rank just below the Inner Ring Suburbs on the Index of Wellbeing. This speaks to the struggle that these areas have faced trying to accommodate a disproportionate share of the region’s low-income residents, while maintaining homeownership rates and a solid middle class presence. Factors like crime, student performance, health and unemployment reflect that struggle, resulting in overall performance that falls short of the region as a whole. However, with good infrastructure, a largely intact building fabric and a stable middle class residency, the Middle Income Areas have solid foundations upon which to build a stronger future.

High Income Areas

The High Income Areas were the traditionally middle and upper class neighborhoods of East Rock, East Shore, Prospect Hill and Westville that managed to continue attracting investment over the decades despite the changes of the past century. Not only have these neighborhoods maintained their desirability, but they have also accommodated a diverse cross section of the region’s population. Like the Inner Ring Suburbs, the High Income Areas of the city appear to be a microcosm of Greater New Haven. Amazingly, these neighborhoods also rank highest overall on the Index of Wellbeing, while not having the social homogeneity that characterized the Outer Ring Suburbs. The presence of transportation options, access to regional resources, and a high quality housing stock has compensated for merely having high income households as the sole generator for good wellbeing. However, being located within the municipality that services the entire region has put a large tax burden on the city and the High Income Areas of the city, especially. The primary challenge facing these neighborhoods, therefore, is not what they can do internally, but what role they can play in ensuring that other places in the region become equally successful.

Conclusions

The Greater New Haven Region as a whole enjoys a high quality of life characterized by high incomes, educational attainment, opportunities for youth, and access to health care. However, these attributes, which have traditionally made the region attractive, are beginning to waiver. The population of 25-44 year-olds, for instance, dropped by 10 percent between 2000 and 2010. The region has also seen a net decrease in jobs over the past decade. Underlying these issues is the distribution of roles between places in Greater New Haven, which thus far has resulted in creating a socially stratified region that is highly segregated based on one’s ability to access the various resources within the region.

The Outer Ring Suburbs have been able to rely on a stable upper class population of successful households that require few services and achieve high outcomes for residents. However, these towns cannot serve as a model for the region because of high transportation costs, lack of housing diversity and low-wage jobs, which prevent people who are not already successful from accessing them, thereby encouraging an exodus of the youth population and jobs. The Outer Ring Suburbs do not provide their share of jobs and housing for the region.

The Inner Ring Suburbs are more inclusive of the region’s entire population and have performed well in producing good outcomes for residents, but they are also losing young working-age people and jobs. These towns have been unable to accommodate the rapid demographic changes taking place within their boundaries, leading to rising rates of poverty and crime – a recipe for becoming overwhelmed by service demand in the future. The Inner Ring Suburbs house a diverse population, but are not doing their part to provide economic opportunity for the region’s residents and are not prepared for ongoing demographic changes.

The City of New Haven has been one of the only places in the state to show strong job growth over the last 10 years, which has gone along with its impressive population growth, specifically in the important 25-44 year old demographic. In fact, it’s been the city’s archaic zoning process that has been a principle obstacle in promoting faster growth to correlate with New Haven’s consistently low office and rental housing vacancy rates. While well-educated residents of the region have seen the benefits of the New Haven’s recent growth, many long-time city residents have been left out of this rejuvenation as the city continues to be the primary place in the region where business start-ups can find success, and new arrivals can get their footing. New Haven is burdened by having to house a majority of the region’s low-income population, supply regional services, and provide high-paying jobs for surrounding towns’ residents.

New Haven’s Low Income Areas, in particular, have continued to struggle in the regional economy and attract investment to their neighborhoods. Fewer than 10 percent of workers from Low Income Areas walk or bicycle to their jobs, which speaks to the need for many residents to travel to suburbs for work where low-paying, entry level jobs can be found. Unfortunately, these jobs tend not to pay a living wage, thus burdening the city with demand for service provision in order to help compensate for the low wages. The role of these neighborhoods has been designated as the place for the region’s poorest residents, where success is achieved through adversity, not encouraged by design. Investment here is rare and any wealth created tends to leave for other places shortly thereafter.

The Medium Income Areas fare a little better, with nearly 20 percent of workers walking or biking to jobs and 40 percent of residents earning a living wage, but without lessening the burdens of servicing and housing a disproportionate share of the region’s poor, these neighborhoods will be unable to thrive.

Based on analysis of the Report, it is New Haven’s High Income Areas, however, that have set a new standard for performance in the region. These neighborhoods, like the Inner Ring Suburbs, house a diverse cross-section of residents in proportion to Greater New Haven’s overall population. Yet, the residents in the High Income Areas of the city outperform any other place in the region, whether it’s academics, health, employment, or most other indicators. These neighborhoods have managed to promote both accessibility and achievement, largely as a result of transportation options, sustained investment and good infrastructure like high quality housing, walkable streets and active public spaces.

While Greater New Haven exhibits a clear socio-economic spatial hierarchy between places within the region, the city’s High Income Areas show that demographic homogeneity and exclusion are not required to achieve positive outcomes for residents and may actually lead to long-term decline. Apparently, the combination of access to resources, high quality infrastructure and housing diversity, not only enables social inclusion, but also produces the best indicators for wellbeing in the region. However, as housing costs, taxes and desirability in these neighborhoods rises, they may become less affordable and more exclusive. The High Income Areas, therefore, cannot serve as the lone bastion for inclusion and success in a segregated region. In order to remain successful in the future, Greater New Haven needs more places that don’t sacrifice accessibility for wellbeing and more competition between these places.

Resources

Center for Neighborhood Technology. “Housing + Transportation Affordability Index” (2012)
DataHaven. “Understanding the Greater New Haven Region through Data” (2009)
DataHaven. “Greater New Haven Community Index 2013” (2013)
New Haven Health Department. “Creating a Healthy and Safe City: The Impact of Violence in New Haven” (2011)

Jonathan Hopkins (pictured) lives in New Haven, where he was also born and raised. He graduated from Roger Williams University with a Master’s Degree in Architecture and currently works for a private architecture firm in the city.


This is the first installment of a series exploring where the Greater New Haven region is now, how it got to where it is and how it can imagine itself in the future; covering the economic, social and demographic character of the region as it exists today. Much of the supporting data for this first part of the series comes from the Greater New Haven Community Index 2013, a report published in September of 2013 by DataHaven, a not-for-profit organization dedicated to improving the region by compiling, interpreting, and sharing high-quality public information for effective decision-making. The report consists of various indicators, which provide a glimpse into the well-being of the region’s residents.

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Comments

posted by: Elizabethaiken on September 8, 2014  2:52pm

This report is fascinating. Thank you.

posted by: webblog on September 8, 2014  3:41pm

“New Story: The city’s high income areas are outperforming the suburbs in quality of life and inclusion of different social groups, and may serve as a new model for shared prosperity”.

I’m sorry Jonathan, but beyond statistical social and economic analysis of New Haven as compared to the suburbs, I failed to see the usefulness of this report in order to make any reasonable model for shared prosperity to the inner city or for that matter its outer rings.

The most important demographic, that of race and ethnicity within each ring, has been left out of this report. Income, job growth, crime, unemployment, higher degrees and general well being must be tied together into with race and ethnicity to really receive a quantifiable finding leading to shared prosperity and “where we are”.

posted by: Mike Slattery on September 8, 2014  3:43pm

Welcome back NHI!  I’m in need of descriptive captions on the charts.    I’m not able to relate those that aren’t self-explanatory to the copy that surrounds them.  Maybe they are meant to appear in another installment?  Thanks.

posted by: Jonathan Hopkins on September 8, 2014  4:15pm

Captions for images:

Figure 1. Composite Index of Wellbeing (Greater New Haven Community Index 2013, p.6)

Figure 2. Geography of Greater New Haven (Greater New Haven Community Index, p.4)

Figure 3.Outer Ring Suburbs Population Change (Greater New Haven Community Index 2013, p.13)

Figure 4.Greenhouse Gas Emission per Household (Housing + Transportation Affordability Index)

Figure 5.Inner Ring Suburbs Population Change (Greater New Haven Community Index 2013, p.13)

Figure 6.City of New Haven Population Change (Greater New Haven Community Index 2013, p.13)

Figure 7.Job Access by Core City Residents (Greater New Haven Community Index 2013, p.34)

Figure 8.Housing Affordability (Greater New Haven Community Index 2013, p.43)

Figure 9.Total Region Population Change (Greater New Haven Community Index 2013, p.13)

*Figure 9 accidentally repeated*

Figure 10.Annual Transportation Costs (Housing + Transportation Affordability Index)

Figure 11.Population in Poverty Change (Greater New Haven Community Index 2013, p.38)

Figure 12.Percent Job Growth 2005-2010 (Understanding the Greater New Haven Region through Data, p.30)

Figure 13.Percent of Population by Ratio to Federal Poverty Level (FPL) (Greater New Haven Community Index 2013, p.39)

Figure 14.Annual Violent Crime Rate by Census Tract (Creating a Healthy and Safe City: The Impact of Violence in New Haven, p.8)

Figure 15.Self-Rated Health Status, Fall 2012 (Greater New Haven Community Index 2013, p.50)

Figure 16.Educational Attainment of Young Adults (Greater New Haven Community Index 2013, p.29)

posted by: K Harrison on September 8, 2014  4:19pm

This was great. I will definitely download the full report from Data Haven, but the summaries and included sections are fascinating. Like Mike, I was really hankering for some captions on the (beautifully designed) graphs and charts. Presumably they are in the original.

But nevertheless, fascinating. These kind of regional views always tend to highlight urban/suburban inequality, which is useful, since a lot of the usual discussion stops at city borders since that’s the easiest data to get, political lines do matter to where conversations happen, etc.

[Editor: Thanks for the feedback. Got ‘em in.]

posted by: Jonathan Hopkins on September 8, 2014  4:21pm

weblog,

In my opinion, socio-economic status as defined by household income is far more important to consider than race and ethnicity, especially in New Haven, Connecticut in 2014. Having said that, I hope you will get satisfactory answers to those points, which are important, in subsequent articles. (This is the first in a series)

posted by: Carl Goldfield on September 8, 2014  5:02pm

I live in Beaver Hills one of the “medium income areas” and I bike to work nearly every day down Goffe. And nearly every day I nearly break my neck in a pot hole. So I’m not sure where you are getting “However, with good infrastructure…..... the Middle Income Areas have solid foundations upon which to build a stronger future.”  I know this may sound horrible but I’ve been finding myself thinking lately “to hell with social justice… let’s just do some street paving”.

On the other hand I wish the newcomers to New Haven were a bit more open minded about where to live.  It seems it’s all about East Rock and Downtown.  There is some really great housing stock in Beaver Hills to be had at a great price and within a bicycle ride (watch out for those potholes) of Downtown.

posted by: BenBerkowitz on September 8, 2014  7:21pm

Carl Goldfield,

While its a digression I’d be remised not to share some pothole data with you. Hopefully it will provoke you to pull over and pull out your smartphone or call City Hall on your next ride in to document a few.

I grabbed two insights on NHV pothole reports and response and posted them here for you:

https://docs.google.com/document/d/1F0oljIfiiFTNjU3JD4f41mYC5Qkz1F6lHKbAU9Kl5fc/edit

Summary: New Haven has seen a doubling in one year in the reporting of potholes while reducing the time to respond to under 12 days.  While the available data in the in the inner ring and outer ring is substantially less because they have yet to embrace transparency, the response time for the available data is significantly worse.

While New Haven is falling behind in education we are far beyond the rest in transparency and accountability of municipal operations.

posted by: Esbey on September 8, 2014  10:40pm

This is great, can’t wait for the later installments.  J. Hopkins is one of this city’s great resources (and I say that as someone who agrees with him only 85% of the time).

posted by: Teacher in New Haven on September 9, 2014  5:33am

Ben,

I beg to differ.  By most of the measures that I am aware of New Haven is not “Falling Behind”  in education, but “Catching up.”  There is no question that we underperform compared to outer ring suburbs, but the story seems to be one of improvement.

Johnathan,

Excellent analysis.  I would however add that there is a level of complexity you have left out.  West Haven and East Haven may be more heterogenous in their economic makeup, but Hamden is nearly as diverse as New Haven and nearly as complex.

posted by: TheMadcap on September 9, 2014  8:34am

I wouldn’t say Hamden is AS diverse. It’s diverse, but both ethnically and economically it’s quite off from New Haven. From wikipedia:

(Hamden)
The racial makeup of the town was 77.30% White, 15.53% African American, 0.13% Native American, 3.53% Asian, 0.03% Pacific Islander, 1.61% from other races, and 1.87% from two or more races. Hispanic or Latino of any race were 4.26% of the population.

(New Haven)
The racial makeup of the city is 42.6% White, 35.4% African American, 0.5% Native American, 4.6% Asian, 0.1% Pacific Islander, 12.9% from other races, and 3.9% from two or more races. Hispanic or Latino residents of any race were 27.4% of the population.

(Hamden)
The median income for a household in the town was $52,351, and the median income for a family was $65,301. Males had a median income of $45,909 versus $35,941 for females. The per capita income for the town was $26,039. About 4.5% of families and 7.8% of the population were below the poverty line, including 8.4% of those under age 18 and 7.8% of those age 65 or over.

(New Haven)
The median income for a household in the city is $29,604, and the median income for a family is $35,950. Median income for males is $33,605, compared with $28,424 for females. The per capita income for the city is $16,393. About 20.5% of families and 24.4% of the population live below the poverty line, including 32.2% of those under age 18 and 17.9% of those age 65 or over.

posted by: BenBerkowitz on September 9, 2014  8:45am

Teacher in New Haven,
That’s great to hear. Where is the data to show that New Haven schools are catching up?

posted by: Carl Goldfield on September 9, 2014  10:23am

Ben,

Thanks for the chart but patching pot holes just isn’t going to do it - it’s a temporary measure and the pot holes just reappear.  Our street infrastructure is in terrible shape.  We need repaving. It’s great that we more quickly and transparently patch an increasing number of reported potholes but it doesn’t solve the underlying problem. To name one especially egregious example, I can’t imagine what the intersection of ET Grasso Boulevard and Goffe is going to be like after this Winter when the plows have repeatedly run over multiple patch jobs which are already falling apart. When that chart shows a decreasing number of pot hole reports, I’ll say we’ve made progress.

posted by: yim-a on September 9, 2014  6:53pm

question:  are undocumented residents included in the data?  In New Haven especially, this “invisible” cohort is significant across a variety of demographic indicators.

posted by: yim-a on September 9, 2014  7:05pm

I’m skeptical when broad conclusions are based on thin data. 

“The reconciliation of having more workers than jobs and more non-living wage jobs than living wage ones is achieved through commuting to other towns—predominately New Haven—for work. This, unfortunately, generates more traffic-inducing road usage, costly and voluminous parking infrastructure, and pollution.”

I don’t see enough data in the charts to justify the above conclusion.  One might assume that those from the outer suburbs are commuting into New Haven, but is there truly data on this?  Do we know, for example, where people from Milford spend their working days? What is the specific breakdown - are more working from home, or at newly created industrial parks, or making the long commute to Stamford, New York City, or Hartford?  Does employment patterns differ from town to town in greater New Haven, are people in Woodbridge more likely to commute to New Haven than those in Guilford?  That’s the kind of data which would give perhaps useful insight into the true patterns of traffic movement in and out of the city.

posted by: Jonathan Hopkins on September 10, 2014  12:18pm

yim-a,

If you haven’t already, I would check out Chapter 3: Economic Opportunity of the Greater New Haven Community Index 2013 (including the footnotes). I would give particular consideration to the Job Access section, especially page 35.

The Inner and Outer Ring Suburbs house 83,000 workers who have a living wage job, yet these towns supply only 55,350 living wage jobs. That’s a “deficiency” of 30,000 living wage jobs.

New Haven has 47,000 living wage jobs, yet only houses 17,000 workers who earn a living wage. That’s a “surplus” of 30,000 living wage jobs.

Furthermore, the Inner and Outer Ring Suburbs house 77,000 workers that do not earn a living wage, while supply 80,000 jobs that do not pay a living wage.

In essence, the Inner and Outer Ring Suburbs depend on New Haven’s “surplus” of living wage jobs to support their tax base and high quality of life, while providing non-living wage jobs to workers from other towns that often leaves them needing additional locally-provided services to compensate for their low wages.

Unfortunately, the only data I have for commuting into New Haven is 20 years old - before New Haven’s jobs explosion of recent years. But this graphic gives a sense of the dependence upon New Haven from surrounding towns:
http://static.panoramio.com/photos/large/51009265.jpg

posted by: yim-a on September 10, 2014  6:57pm

Jonathan Hopkins:  the data you describe only shows how many jobs are available and how many people are working.  Without any other data,  there is simply no way to accurately, and meaningfully, depict just where people are (and aren’t) working.  Yes,  New Haven is a city and generally people commute to cities from the suburbs.  But working patterns are changing rapidly.  How many people are telecommuting half of the work week? How many in the healthcare sector work 3 shift weeks (3 x 12 hour shifts) ? How many are commuting from outer suburb to outer suburb?  My suspicion is that the actual dynamics of the workforce are much more complicated then the binary figures you present.

posted by: Jonathan Hopkins on September 11, 2014  9:04am

Yim-a,

Hopefully you will get satisfactory answers in the next installment, which deals with Greater New Haven’s shift from a mono centric, city-dominated region in 1920 to the poly centric, dispersed region we have today.

posted by: Stylo on September 14, 2014  8:40pm

There are quite a bit more Milford residents commuting into FFC than New Haven, so to say that they’re commuting predominately to New Haven is not true.

http://www.cerc.com/TownProfiles/Customer-Images/milford.pdf

That does not take into account NYC commuters either, which are a minority but still factor in.

posted by: Jonathan Hopkins on September 16, 2014  3:24pm

Stylo,
The Greater New Haven Community Index 2013 lumps Milford in with the “Outer Ring Suburbs”. As a whole, the Outer Ring Suburbs depend on New Haven for jobs as it is the most common destination for commuters in the region. There are issues with looking at the Outer Ring Suburbs as a monolith and I will address these issues in upcoming articles. This first installment was meant as a summary and analysis of the Greater New Haven Community Index 2013, which is an excellent resource for getting a basic understanding of the region. While it might be flawed in some of the details, the general points made in the report are valid - New Haven is burdened with service provision for the region’s poor while it also supplies high paying jobs for suburbs, which provide low paying jobs, and New Haven’s high income areas are performing very well while providing their share of affordable housing.