In a recent cover story, Newsweek magazine called the Ogden area "the nation's most egalitarian zip code."
The article, written by Leah McGrath Goodman, suggests that Ogden's journey from "urban wasteland" in recent years to today's "prosperous present landscape" is a "valuable lesson for a country struggling to bridge the chasm between haves and have-nots." Goodman cites data from the U.S. Census Bureau which shows that the Ogden-Clearfield MSA has the lowest level of income inequality among the nation's large metro areas. The article attributes the region's narrow wealth gap in part to the revitalization of Ogden, including its economic growth and job creation.
The catalyst behind Ogden's resurgence and narrow wealth gap has been a focus on creating economic opportunity. Ogden City's Community and Economic Development Director, Tom Christopulos, notes, "From a philosophical standpoint, we would just as soon find a way to create more overall wealth and raise the level of all income,” he says. “That is more related to economic opportunity than a gap between the rich and the poor.”
The focus on expanding economic opportunity throughout the community has contributed to relatively high levels of socioeconomic mobility in Ogden. The Newsweek article cites recent work by Professor Raj Chetty of Stanford University which shows that where a child is born affects his or her chances for upward mobility in life enormously. Weber County, where Ogden is located, has greater income mobility than 76 percent of the counties in the U.S.
Ogden's narrow wealth gap is accompanied by higher wages and a lower cost of living than the national average, along with some of the lowest unemployment and highest job growth numbers in the country.
To read the full Newsweek article, please visit http://www.newsweek.com/2015/10/02/inequality-wealth-gap-ogden-utah-375820.html.