Social Inequity a 'Time Bomb' for U.S. Cities

The annual UN State of the World's Cities report contains a dire warning for American cities: racial divisions and social inequities are at alarming levels.
October 24, 2008, 10am PDT | Michael Dudley
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"Growing inequality in US cities could lead to widespread social unrest and increased mortality, says a new United Nations report on the urban environment.

In a survey of 120 major cities, New York was found to be the ninth most unequal in the world and Atlanta, New Orleans, Washington, and Miami had similar inequality levels to those of Nairobi, Kenya Abidjan and Ivory Coast. Many were above an internationally recognised acceptable 'alert' line used to warn governments.

According to the annual State of the World's cities report from UN-Habitat, race is one of the most important factors determining levels of inequality in the US and Canada.

It documents the seemingly unstoppable move of people away from rural to urban areas. This year it is believed that the number of people living in urban areas exceeded those in the countryside for the first time ever, but the report says there is no sign of the trend slowing.

But the report also identified what it believes is the emergence of a new urban trend, with many cities now shrinking in size."

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Published on Thursday, October 23, 2008 in Guardian (UK)
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