Nothing one can say about Connecticut is 100 percent true. And, yes, that statement itself is a paradox. But then, so is Connecticut. For a major policy change to be effected here, it must engage vastly different groups who often have diametrically opposed interests.
Step one in organizing is assessing the landscape. Connecticut is one of the wealthiest states in the nation and contains some of its poorest communities. Steel magnate Andrew Carnegie summered in Darien, Connecticut. Even without Carnegie in the mix anymore, Darien, like many Connecticut suburbs, is doing well for itself. It boasts five private clubs, resident-only beaches and a median family income of $101,583.
Cross the border into neighboring Norwalk, and family income dips to $55,269. Yet Norwalk is far more fortunate than many Connecticut cities. In Hartford, median family income is just $24,774. The number of Connecticut workers earning a wage that puts their families beneath the Federal Poverty Level is rising. It was 16.8 percent in 2006.
Economic disparity in Connecticut is largely an urban/suburban divide, with the cities bearing the lion’s share of economic hardship with all its associated ills. The urban/suburban divide is often a minority/white divide as well, as people of color are concentrated in Connecticut cities and as a group do not begin to share in the state’s prosperity.