NYC income inequality mapped out by subway lines

By using subway stations as an input to the data-set, we are given an alarming image of how often and steeply the average household incomes fluctuate as you travel throughout NYC.

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Income inequality along the 2 line; taken from The New Yorker.

If you were to ride a New York City subway that elevated and dropped based on the average household incomes of each stop, you would most likely become very sick–both physically, due to the steep and vast drops that are sure to make you nauseous, and emotionally, after understanding the outrageous shifts in income as you moved from borough to borough. But no need to lose your lunch by taking a ride on this hypothetical roller-coaster, because The New Yorker did all the work for us earlier this month, creating an interactive infographic that maps out the median household incomes at each subway stop.

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Woodblock print by Jason Diaz depicting income inequalities on a NYC subway platform

New York City has had a problem of income inequality for many years, and it is only getting worse. According to a report by the Fiscal Policy Institute, the top 1 percent of earners in New York State make about 35 percent of the state’s total income (up from 17 percent back in 1990), while the bottom 50 percent of earners make only 9.1 percent of the state’s total income (down from 13.9 percent in 1990), noting that these income ranges stretch even further within New York City.

Photo: Getty Images

Some areas of focus along the interactive infographic include:

  • Highest median household income of any census tract the subway has a station in: $205,192 – for Chambers Street, Park Place, and World Trade Center.
  • Lowest median household income: $12,288 – Sutter Avenue stop, on the L in Brooklyn.
  • Largest range in median household income on a single subway line: $191,442–for the 2 line, which includes Chambers Street/Park Place on the high end, and East 180th Street in the Bronx, on the low end.
  • Smallest range in median household income on a single subway line: $84,837–for the G line, the only non-shuttle subway line that doesn’t pass through Manhattan.