Let's take a look at the poverty levels in Ward 6, the area within the blue line (Now, this map is based on the Ward 6 map from last year, so it isn't as up to date as it could be. Also, the blue line outlining Ward 6 isn't as perfect as it should be, but there you have it):
The white areas are federal land, such as the Capitol building. There are clearly red areas with over 40% of the households earning less than $30,000 per year. But there are households making less than $30,000 across Ward 6 (darker and lighter shades of pink).
We can ask how these households retained some form of housing in Ward 6 (a future posting), but it is more significant to ask why these residents are making less than $30,000 per year. As the glorious sociologist Saskia Sassen has shown, global cities like Washington, DC require both 1) highly educated and highly paid professionals working within the business, governmental, and financial services industries and 2) low-wage service workers, who serve these industries and these professionals. Washington, DC like other global cities has lost much of its traditional working class, but it still has a working class. These people are the working poor serving the professional workers. Many of those making less than $30,000 are either the retired poor or the working poor.
According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics data on DC-area wages, a household with one breadwinner can easily be in poverty working the following jobs, but, since many people working these jobs make an hourly wage and not the full-time salaries listed below, households with two breadwinners also could be making less than $30,000:
- Barber/Salon Shampooers $19,390
- Fast-Food Cook $19,660
- Dishwasher $20,600
- Cashiers $21,780
- Food Preparation Workers $22,510
- Child Care Workers $23,980
- Janitor $25,480
- Hotel Desk Clerk $26,190
- Tellers $28,410
P.S. I continue this discussion in the next post.