The 138,700 individuals who worked in finance, insurance, and high-skilled services in Suffolk County in 2011 earned an average of $138,000. Yet in the same year, almost 80,000 households in Boston — three out of every 10 — made less than $25,000. This region’s enormous inequality cries out for spreading new business opportunities more widely. One place to start would be a second innovation district, located not on the expensive waterfront, but in Dudley Square.
Boston should not be ashamed of its inequality. When cities offer good social services, welcoming ethnic enclaves, and public transportation, they attract people of limited means. Boston also appeals to the rich, some of whom gain from the city’s free flow of knowledge, and some of whom just like shopping on Newbury Street. It’s the suburbs, which are superficially more equal because land-use controls zone out poverty, that should be embarrassed. But Boston’s inequality still demands some policy response.