“Connecticut’s Ribbon of Hardship”

In this Businessweek story from July, reporter Esme E. Deprez takes a close look at disparity in Connecticut, in part through the story of Jodey Lazarus of Stamford. The headline of the story (and of this post) is explained in this passage.

“The Connecticut portion of Interstate 95 was dubbed the “ribbon of hope” by state planners for its promise of prosperity when it was built in the 1950s. It’s still an apt nickname for those living in the hedge fund hubs along it: Greenwich and Westport. In Bridgeport, 35 minutes northeast of Greenwich, and where Lazarus attends community college, I-95 is more like a ribbon of hardship.”

We see the economic differences through the eyes of Lazarus’ 8 year old Ahhsha.

“It’s school vacation week and Lazarus’s daughter Ahhsha gazes out the window as they pass exits for Old Greenwich and Cos Cob. ‘Greenwich looks very different,’ says Ahhsha, a rail-thin girl with five perfect fresh braids tracing her scalp. ‘They have more sun than us, more windows on the houses, more beautiful houses.'”

The story describes the so-called “Great Gatsby Curve,” which economists say illustrates the increasing difficulty in moving up in the world. “What the Great Gatsby Curve illustrates is that where Lazarus and her kids ultimately end up on the income spectrum will be more a reflection of their family background and not of their talents,” the author writes.

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