Atlanta Suffers From Highest Income Inequality In America

Atlanta has often held the title as the Black Mecca, a city where Blacks could thrive in business, political leadership, and culture. However, the city that is often referred to as the real-life Wakanda continues to have issues that could impact its future. According to the U.S. Census, Atlanta is the number one city for income inequality. 

While the path to success is often viewed as attainable in Atlanta, those born into poverty in the city will likely live in poverty for the entire lives. There is only a 4% chance of a person born in poverty in Atlanta to escape that poverty in their lifetime. 

Most of the contributing factors revolve around race. In Atlanta, the average household annual income for a white family is $83,722 compared to $28,105 for a Black family. Moreover, 69% of Black families are liquid asset poor compared to 22% of white families.

And although there are national success stories of Black-owned businesses that have thrived in the city, the average Black-owned business is valued at $58,085 while the average value of a white business is $658,264.

Systemic issues that have plagued Black families for decades have helped to create such a large gap. Problems such as redlining that decreased the value of Black home ownership, gentrification, mass incarceration, and a lack of proper healthcare access within Atlanta are some contributing factors. 

“It’s not enough when Atlanta also ranks near the top in income inequality,” Atlanta Mayor Andre Dickens said in October 2022 during a speech addressing the city’s housing issues. “It’s not enough when some of the poorest neighborhoods in Georgia are right here in Atlanta, just miles away from some of the richest. And so we have some work to do. And that work, in so many ways, starts with housing. Because housing is fundamentally tied to everything else we care about. It’s intrinsic to a family’s success, tied directly to education, health, wealth and safety.”




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