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Wealth And The City: Seeing Where The Rich And Not-So-Rich Live In NYC
August 19, 2013
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A visualization of the wealth gap in Manhattan (Image: Nickolay Lamm)

What if you could measure someone's wealth just by looking at the height of the building in which they live?

That's the idea behind researcher and artist Nickolay Lamm's latest project.

Lamm took the distribution of wealth in Manhattan, based on the average net worth of individuals on each block, and used it to create a virtual cityscape.

Each centimetre in his virtual map corresponds with a net worth of $100,000 - so a block where the average net worth is $120,000 would be 1.2 centimetres tall in the visualization.

As you can see from the imagery, wealth is distributed pretty unevenly across Manhattan.

In parts of the city, areas of lower net worth are located right next door to those where some of the richest people live. Sydney Brownstone writes in Fast Company that "some of the city's wealthiest areas are oases surrounded by net values of $15,000 or less."

Here are a couple more of Lamm's visualizations, showing how the data looks from Harlem and Central Park:

A photograph of Harlem on the left, and Lamm's overlaid wealth inequality data on the right (Images: Nickolay Lamm)

A view of Central Park, where the average net worth is highest (Images: Nickolay Lamm)

And this is the data set Lamm used to develop his visualization, from ArcGIS:

A 2D overview of the net worth of parts of Manhattan (Image: ArcGIS)

There are a lot of interactive infographics online that offer insights into where the money is in Canada and around the world. Here are a couple worth checking out.

Maclean's Map of Canada's Richest Cities

Last December, Maclean's created this interactive graphic showing the distribution of wealth across Canada's cities.

According to the data, which came from Statistics Canada, the richest metro in Canada is Wood Buffalo (Fort McMurray), in Alberta. It's not technically a city, but it does have a population of 61,000 people. And the average house costs more than $750,000.

You can check out the data in more detail, and investigate individual cities, at the Maclean's site.

MapsData's Millionaires Map

If you're wondering where the world's millionaires (and billionaires) are living these days, this interactive map will show you.

It's based on data gathered by The Guardian and WealthInsight.

Tokyo has the largest number of millionaires in the world (about 461,000), while NYC is home to 70 billionaires, more than any other city.

Toronto is the only Canadian city that makes it onto the map, with 118,000 millionaires.

The Economist's Breakdown of the Most Millionaires by City

If you're hoping to actually run into a millionaire or two, The Economist used the same WealthInsight data as The Guardian to examine which city has the highest density of millionaires as a percentage of the population.

It turns out the place where you're most likely to hang with someone in the million-plus club is... Frankfurt, Germany. Who knew?

Via The Atlantic Cities


INFOGRAPHIC: Who Are The 100 Richest People In The World?

The World's Richest Fictional Characters

Income Inequality is Growing in Canada


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