Income is a crucial element contributing to quality of life and is one of the strongest and most consistent predictors of health and disease.[i] The relationship between income and health is mediated though nutrition, employment conditions, parenting resources, leisure and recreation, housing adequacy, and neighborhood environmental quality, community violence, and stress. Area level income, independent of individual income, can also influence health outcomes. For example, full service grocery stores are less likely to open in neighborhoods with low income levels, limiting resident access to health and affordable foods[ii]. Income levels are in part influenced by the type and number of local job opportunities, educational attainment, health status, skill-match, and various forms of pay and job discrimination.
Rising neighborhood income levels can indicate that educational levels are rising among existing residents, that individuals with higher incomes are moving into the area, and/or that poorer residents are moving out of the neighborhood.
The American Community Survey (ACS) surveys residents on an annual basis; however, five years of aggregated data are necessary provide numbers at a census tract or neighborhood level. Here we are comparing data from the 2009-2013 and 2014-2018 ACS data sets. Between the two time periods, there were significant increases in the median household income citywide and CMTL area. In general, the median household income is more than three times higher citywide, than in the CMTL area. Household incomes are highest in the census tracts bordering Van Ness, but no tract in the CMTL boundary has a median household income over $67,000.
During the same period, the percent of households earning more than $200,000 annually increased significantly in the CMTL area (going from 2% to 6%) and citywide (going from 14% to 24%). Similarly there were significant decreases in the percent of households earning less than $15,000 annually in the CMTL area (going from 42% to 32%) and citywide (going from 13% to 10%).
American Community Survey, 2009-2013 & 2014-2018
[i] Paula Braveman, Egerter Susan, Barclay Colleen. “Income, Wealth and Health.” San Francisco, CA: Robert Wood Johnson Foundation Commission to Build a Healthier America, April 2011.
[ii] Pickett, K. E., and M. Pearl. “Multilevel Analyses of Neighbourhood Socioeconomic Context and Health Outcomes: A Critical Review.” Journal of Epidemiology and Community Health 55, no. 2 (February 1, 2001): 111–22.