Atlanta is already ranked as the worst metropolitan area in the country for economic mobility. According to a recent national study, a child born into the bottom 20 percent of metro Atlanta households ranked by income has only a 4 percent chance of rising into the top 20 percent, which is half the mobility rate of cities such as Houston or Denver. Much of that difficulty is attributed to the lack of transportation options such as transit, which provide lifelines out of poor neighborhoods into areas where jobs can be found.
And as the city gentrifies, as lower-income households are pushed into the suburbs in search of affordable housing, that problem is likely to become worse. Cobb and Gwinnett counties are becoming increasingly urban, with increasingly urban needs and challenges. The same is true to a lesser degree of traffic-clogged north Fulton. But leadership in those areas still perceive themselves as suburban, and transit as a threat not an opportunity.
In describing those areas 10 years from now, national media may be telling a very different kind of story.