The Social Inequality in Atlanta’s North and South Regions 

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The city of Atlanta is the ninth-largest city in the United States and one of the fastest-growing metro areas in the nation. Home to almost 6 million people the city alone has experienced the 4th largest population increase in the United States from 2010 until 2018 according to all the Metropolitan Statistical Area (MSA).

The cities itself has also a vast diversity with the population consisting of 51% Caucasian, 34% that consist of African Americans, with from foreign countries making up almost 14%, ending with Spanish at 11%, and Asians at 6.1. You would think that a city that encompasses a lot of diversity and many different races that the city itself would present some type of equality amongst all races listed above. However, the difference in income and growth between the North and South had created a situation that can either be good for some or bad for others. The separation of not only development and attract ability, but income is a scary situation for citizens requiring good-paying jobs and nice areas to live in depending on what part of town you are on.

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In our slides, three key things that create this type of situation can reside from the development of the metropolitan area by way of highway construction in conjunction with federal and state planning. This resulted in divided communities, outward expansion, and the fall-off minority populated communities. Communities on the northside in counties such as Cobb, Gwinnett, Cherokee, and Fulton (mostly north) received development projects which generate revenue and jobs in those counties. Let’s take SunTrust Park for instance. The Braves turner field before it became turner field was the Centennial Olympic Stadium before becoming Turner Field in 1997. This provided jobs to people who resided in South Atlanta and promoted a challenge for fans who mostly lived in the north. The Atlanta Braves finally were able to move to Cobb County after successful creation of SunTrust Park in April of 2017. Taking this stadium north allowed for jobs for people on the north side. However, those who may not have the means of travel from the south lost an opportunity and employment to one of baseball’s greatest franchises. This is can be an example of sprawled development seeing as if the Cumberland area happens to be an unincorporated area that is not governed by a local municipal corporation. This place allowed for Cobb County to provide the necessary space for the park and the battery totaling 1.2 billion dollars.

In Alpharetta, which is North Fulton County, the development of the Avalon brought thousands there to either shop or live. The price of stay there is astronomical for some but not for those who have the means to live there. This 1.1 million square foot area sold for 500 million dollars in 2016 which can only give you a sense of just how much money it took to build it. These types of infrastructures and luxuries are not necessarily offered south of I-20 which goes through Atlanta. The only major infrastructure south of the city would be Atlanta Hartsfield Jackson Airport and the newly built Porsche Corporate Office.

Another issue that took place back in the 1970s is that most of the jobs that were created were created outside of the means of communication for those of color. And because many of the suburban areas rejected the transit system, it put constraints on those who relied on Marta to get to work leaving them to have to rely on jobs that were accessible for Marta access. “Looking at land use, looking at the political dynamics, all these played a major role in not only racial segregation but also income segregation,”

Atlanta is also one of the cities who is quickly gentrifying certain communities according to In an article, it states that “It’s a longstanding concern in the city, particularly in historically black communities where longtime residents have been displaced from their homes. Mayor Keisha Lance Bottoms’ affordable housing plan, released last month, notes that “low-income residents of color and others” are at risk of “involuntary displacement from neighborhoods facing gentrification pressures.” (‘Atlanta is rapidly gentrifying. Here’s where,’ 2019)

This came as no surprise since the building of the Mercedes-Benz stadium in which the Atlanta Falcons, play and cost millions of dollars to build. This created a buzz for younger adults to want to live closer to all the excitement. The city limits theory explained in class states that cities pay more attention to business leaders and development policies more than redistributive policy. Therefore, you see a lot of corporate headquarters residing in the north compared to the south, leaving the city itself to create stadiums that do not necessarily generate the consistent income of the job when no game is present. Building the new stadium was just a means to let the country know that Atlanta was legit with the new Mercedes -Benz Stadium.

As far as income goes, a study shows that those with the highest income make nine times more than the population who earn the lowest income. The city also does not have a section of people who encompass a middle-class type of income. In an article titled “How Atlanta Became the Capital Of Income Inequality,” it speaks specifically on how Atlanta has become this way by being a “concentrated center of inequality in a more moderate-income region has its roots in racism.” (‘How Atlanta Became the Capital Of Income Inequality,’ 2018). That’s not all the article talks about. It also gives way to the divide of the north and south because of the Fair House Act banning discrimination. This created a movement for whites to “Rather than face the possibility of black families entering their schools and neighborhoods, many white families simply decided to leave.” (‘How Atlanta Became the Capital Of Income Inequality,’ 2018).

The Suburbs contribute to the overwhelming disparity seeing as if most of the population of minorities reside in Suburbs. In 2010 87% of minorities resided in Suburbia Atlanta. This affects the amount of how much the disparity shows itself not only with regards to income but also housing as well in the suburbia of Atlanta as well. In an article by the Washington Post titled “This can’t happen by accident.’ It talks about the disparity of value in black neighborhoods compared to their counterparts who received more recovery from the housing market than that of neighborhoods with predominantly black residents. The value of housing is 40% less in the south than that in the north where the demographics of the population are different compared to that of the south. The article also illustrates that “A Washington Post analysis found that the higher a Zip code’s share of black residents in the Atlanta region, the worse its housing values have fared over the past turbulent housing cycle.” (Badger, 2016).

These disparities have created a very noticeable divide amongst the North and Southside of Atlanta. With the north having the majority of the jobs not allowing those who in the south access to these jobs who rely on local transportation as a means to travel, it allows the north to always have the advantage to attract jobs, corporations, and developers to invest in areas where they can make money from those who make the money.

A solution to this problem I feel would be for companies to invest in the Southside like very few do and take advantage of the land that is down there for corporate offices. Another business I failed to mention also was the recent new build Tyler Perry Studios and Pinewood Atlanta Studios. More companies like this should open and provide better-paying jobs for the south just like other major companies do for the north.

Another solution to this would also be developers investing more in real estate south versus the north. The southside has a lot to offer as far as room for development goes which would allow for those who can afford it to live like those in the north. By bringing development to south Atlanta it would raise the property value and allow for those communities to thrive off the extra incentives received from the development of shopping malls, luxury communities, and corporations who set up shop near or around their neighborhoods which will bring in jobs and revenue.

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