The age of extremes: concentrated affluence and poverty in the twenty-first century

Demography. 1996 Nov;33(4):395-412; discussion 413-6.


Urbanization, rising income inequality, and increasing class segregation have produced a geographic concentration of affluence and poverty throughout the world, creating a radical change in the geographic basis of human society. As the density of poverty rises in the environment of the world's poor, so will their exposure to crime, disease, violence, and family disruption. Meanwhile the spatial concentration of affluence will enhance the benefits and privileges of the rich. In the twenty-first century the advantages and disadvantages of one's class position will be compounded and re-inforced through ecological mechanisms made possible by the geographic concentration of affluence and poverty, creating a deeply divided and increasingly violent social world.

Publication types

  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Crime
  • Culture
  • Developed Countries
  • Developing Countries
  • Family Health
  • Global Health*
  • Humans
  • Income
  • Politics
  • Poverty*
  • Social Class*
  • Urbanization