Variations on the theme of Occupy

We here in the newsroom have been wondering why the OccupyMN presence hasn’t been as intense and confrontational as those in areas like New York City and Oakland, in particular.

Certainly differences in police actions may be part of the explanation. The scene in Minneapolis has not included the confrontations with police and mass arrests that have happened elsewhere.

But the regional economies may offer some additional context, if not explanation.

The Twin Cities has had much lower unemployment than Oakland and New York. That may mean a smaller portion of the population has the time and built-up frustration about the economy that can fuel protests.

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And according to this analysis by a Brookings Institution scholar, the Twin Cities has a meaningful share of top household incomes, but we have a smaller portion than either the San Francisco or New York areas. Top earners are likely more visible in those areas. The study has this to say about the birthplace of the Occupy movement:

“Unsurprisingly, the New York metropolitan area has the largest number of very high-income households. Nearly 12 percent of top-income households live in the New York region, [which has] about 7 percent of all households.”

Click on the map below for a larger version.

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