Tuesday, November 12, 2013

"Super Zips"

On Saturday, the Washington Post released a long form story about "Super Zips:" zip codes in the top five percent in college education and household income.

Not surprisingly, the DMV has the largest collection of "Super Zips" in the country. Also not surprisingly, the map showed huge disparity between zip codes. Most of NW and Arlington are in the 99th percentile, while two zips in the SW rank in the 13th percentile. H Street's numbers show what has been known for a long time, which is that the neighborhood is transitioning. Right now, 43% of residents are college graduates, making an average of $55K a year. If this neighborhood follows the regional trends, those numbers will be rising.

Other than finding all of this interesting, I wonder what it means. On a personal level, I made an connection that I hadn't before. My hometown in rural PA ranked in the 12th percentile, roughly the same in income and education as Anacostia. (In case you're curious, it's 17801.) I was reminded that poverty is poverty, rural or urban. On a civic level, I believe we desperately need to ensure affordable housing for those who work low-paying jobs in high-cost living areas so that they may simply live. But on a Christian level, I was reminded that when God came and dwelled with humanity in the person of Christ, God chose to live in a neighborhood that was likely ranked in the bottom fifth percentile of the Roman Empire. I don't glorify poverty. It's ugly, and it traps people for generations. But out of everywhere, God chose the shitty neighborhood. Why?

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