Robert H. Frank, professor of economics and management at the Cornell SC Johnson College of Business and author of Falling Behind: How Rising Inequality Harms the Middle Class, says that as real estate prices in large metropolitan areas continue to soar, the middle class people who provide essential services – teachers, police and firefighters – cannot afford to live in the areas that they serve.
“In many big metropolitan areas, centrally located real estate is so expensive that no middle-class families can afford to live anywhere close by. And yet the wealthy residents of such communities require middle-class people to provide a variety of valued services. The result is that the teachers, restaurant workers, firefighters, police and other workers who serve these communities must now commute for extremely long distances.
“This trend contributes to congested highways, rush-hour traffic delays and even sleep deprivation among those whose commuting times continue to grow.”