Investigating the Relationship between Neighborhood Socioeconomic Status and Proximity to Public Services
With growing levels of income inequality in the United States, it remains as important as ever to ensure indispensable public services are readily available to all members of society. This paper investigates four forms of public services (schools, libraries, fire stations, and police stations), first by researching the background of these services and their relation to poverty, and then by conducting geospatial and regression analysis. The author uses Esri's ArcGIS Pro software to quantify the proximity to public services from urban American neighborhoods (census tracts in the cities of Phoenix and Chicago). Afterwards, the measures indicating proximity are compared to the socioeconomic statuses of neighborhoods using regression analysis. The results indicate that pure proximity to these four services is not necessarily correlated to socioeconomic status. While the paper does uncover some correlations, such as a relationship between school quality and socioeconomic status, the majority of the findings negate the author's hypothesis and show that, in Phoenix and Chicago, there is not much discrepancy between neighborhoods and the extent to which they are able to access vital government-funded services.