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Newton partners with Boston College to address income inequality

“The issue of our time, I believe, is the issue of income inequality,” says Newton Mayor Setti Warren. Craig F. Walker/Globe Staff

Newton Mayor Setti Warren has announced a new partnership with Boston College that is designed to promote long-term economic mobility in the city and focus specifically on low- income and vulnerable populations.

The partnership, called Economic Growth for All, is intended to emphasize collaboration between government and academia to ensure the blueprint for economic mobility outlasts any single government administration, Warren said at an event to announce the partnership.

“The issue of our time, I believe, is the issue of income inequality,” Warren said early this month. “The idea that people who work hard and take care of themselves can live in Newton might not be possible for future generations in this city. If we do nothing, we will leave a generation behind.”


It might seem that Newton, as one of the wealthiest communities in the state, is an improbable candidate for an economic mobility initiative. The city’s median household income is $118,639, according to 2014 census data, which is more than twice the national figure of $51,939.

But nearly one in eight households in Newton is operating with less than $25,000, according to a 2014 report from the Northeastern University Center for Urban and Regional Policy.

With the help of Boston College professor Geoffrey Sanzenbacher, the city produced a report called “Making Ends Meet in Newton: A Guide to Economic Security and Self-Sufficiency.” It shows that about 21 percent of families earn less than $75,000 annually, but families with two parents and two children need to make nearly $78,000 to make ends meet.

The report is meant to be a starting point for current residents, potential future residents, and policy makers.

The research will be ongoing and the policy framework will be implemented by a multidisciplinary coalition divided into four working groups, focusing on education, self-sufficiency income, health and well-being, and the innovation economy.


Boston College students and faculty were encouraged to submit proposals for research surrounding income inequality and the working groups’ themes by Dec. 2.

Allison Pohle can be reached at allisonpohle@gmail.com.