Durham Neighborhood CompassDurham Neighborhood Compass

Why This is Important

Median household income provides a general indication of how much money households in a neighborhood are making in annual wages. Lower wage earners may have higher percentages of their income devoted to consumption and less for saving, making them less resilient in economic downturns. Higher wage earners may have more of their income available for consumption and more savings and therefore better able to withstand an unpredictable economy. Service providers and retailers look at neighborhood income levels to help them locate their services.

The median household income provides an approximation of how well people are doing financially in a neighborhood. However, when thinking about this statement from an anti-racist perspective, we question its validity. That is, how do these values represent financial wellbeing? Household income is the amount earned annually. It is one aspect of the neighborhood’s general financial characteristics, but the median household income does not reflect existing debt, wealth, or other salient aspects of financial wellbeing. Neither does the neighborhood median reflect disparities in income. To give a sense of these disparities, the Compass includes median household income estimates for some specific race groups (Black, LatinX, and white).

About the Data

The household income at the midpoint of all households. Half of the households in this Census tract earn a higher annual income and half earn a lower annual income.

Source: US 2010, Census 2010 tract-normalized sample data; American Community Survey (ACS) (after 2010).

Additional Resources

ResourceLearn More and Take Action
Final Recommendations of Durham’s Racial Equity Task ForceIn a city born during Reconstruction and reared under Jim Crow, shocking inequities between white people and people of color are still evident in 21st century Durham. If we reject the notion that these disparities are normal, due to differences in capability or culture, it is imperative that we take significant strides to undo the negative legacies that haunt our local and national history. We need to be not merely anti-racist in thought, but actively and continuously anti-racist in deed.
Stratification economics: the role of intergroup inequality, by William A. Darity Jr.The foundations of stratification economics, explaining how the intergenerational accumulation of wealth by race continues to drive the growing gaps between dominant groups (white people) and subordinate groups (all other groups).
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Data Distribution, 2022

Median Household Income

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