Income Inequality and Regional Tax Bases

Here’s a fun tool called Rich Blocks, Poor Blocks that overlays data on household income over city maps, showing you the differences in income within regions, cities and neighborhoods.

Here’s the scale:


And here are the maps for the 3 Lehigh Valley cities:

Everybody knows this already, but the trend you see is that median income in the cities is lower and median income outside the cities is higher.

If there was a regional tax base, the size of Northampton County or Lehigh County, to pay for local public services, then people could actually have a debate about progressive taxation. Should the people who earn more money pay more of the taxes, and the people who earn less money pay less? I think so. But with all these different political boundaries, you can’t even debate that. The richer people are separated from the poorer people by an arbitrary political boundary that has no real justification.


  1. Jon,
    Not sure those maps are accurate. In Bethlehem, it has one of the more affluent areas, the Bethlehem Hysterical District (Market, Wall, Church) shaded in red. That surely can’t be correct.

  2. That is pretty weird. Might be that the median is pulled down by lower income people nearby?

  3. Wonder how this map would look when you overlay cities like Allentown that are Banana Republics with poverty levels?

    • Jon Geeting says:

      What’s your point?

      • Allentown is yet another in the long list of examples that single party rule is a pathway to destruction.

        And before you start pointing out when it happened with Republicans, please know I agree with you. This is a bipartisan phenomena.

        • Jon Geeting says:

          I agree about one-party rule, and that’s why I support a regional tax base. If you regionalize the tax base you have to regionalize politics. The Lehigh County electorate would choose the politicians who make the governing decisions about Allentown.

          • Yet you want to change the Constitution to make one party rule easier?

            Your regional grab has nothing to do with politics and everything to do with money.

          • Jon Geeting says:

            Where did I say I wanted to change the Constitution? I support reforming the filibuster if that’s what you mean. That’s not in the Constitution though.


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