- Associated Press - Saturday, March 14, 2015

COLUMBUS, Ohio (AP) - A study of where groups of people live concludes that Ohio’s capital city is one of the nation’s most economically segregated major metro areas.

The Columbus Dispatch reports (https://bit.ly/1E5RbrM ) that “Segregated City” by University of Toronto professor Richard Florida used census data to demonstrate how people choose to live among those who have similar incomes, education and occupations. The study ranked Columbus second behind Austin, Texas, among the most segregated economically.

Some Columbus planners and economists say the study doesn’t provide much explanation, but does offer food for thought.

“You might say it’s an academic exercise,” said Vince Papsidero, deputy director of policy and planning for the city of Columbus. “Reality is much more complex.”

A Toronto researcher says it’s meant to provide information on where people choose to live, not to be something negative.

“Columbus could be doing amazingly,” said Karen King, a senior research scientist at the university. “All it’s saying is where people choose to live are very different places.”

The study found that clusters of poor are growing in some cities, with the wealthy gathering in suburban enclaves.

Economist Bill LaFayette of Columbus-based Regionomics said the findings are thought-provoking. He said one issue with economic segregation is that lower-income households are surrounded increasingly by other lower-income, lower-skilled households, limiting exposure to other ways of life.

“There’s a value to shopping in the same stores, going to the same schools, riding a COTA bus,” he said.

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