Alana Semuels

Alana Semuels

Alana Semuels is a staff writer at The Atlantic. She was previously a national correspondent for the Los Angeles Times.

A Small Town Kept Walmart Out. Now It Faces Amazon.

How can local businesses compete with a company so local it lets people shop from their couches?

Packages on a conveyer belt in a large warehouse owned by Amazon

What Amazon Does to Poor Cities

The debate over Amazon’s HQ2 obscures the company’s rapid expansion of warehouses in low-income areas.

The Places That May Never Recover From the Recession

The Rust Belt isn’t the only region left behind by the economic recovery. The suburbs of the American west are struggling, too.

America’s Lost Einsteins

Millions of children from poor families who excel in math and science rarely live up to their potential—and that hurts everyone.

Could a Tax Fix the Gig Economy?

A group in New York is calling for a fee on all gig-economy transactions in order to provide workers with benefits like paid sick leave.

The Barriers Stopping Poor People From Moving to Better Jobs

Highly educated people still relocate for work, but exorbitant housing costs in the best-paying cities make it difficult for anyone else to do so.

Why Does Sweden Have So Many Startups?

How a tiny country with high government spending bred a large number of vibrant young businesses

Can Anything Stop Rural Decline?

Small towns across Japan are on the verge of collapse. Whether they can do so gracefully has consequences for societies around the globe.

Lyndon B. Johnson visits Tom Fletcher in Kentucky, as captured by a photographer from Time Magazine

Which States Are Stingiest With Government Benefits?

Research suggests that states with homogenous populations are more willing to spend on the safety net than those with higher shares of minorities.

The Vicious Cycle of the Retail Meltdown

As brick-and-mortar stores close, local governments in struggling regions lose much-needed tax revenues.

A woman pushes a baby carriage in the Rust Belt town of Wheeling, West Virginia.

The Lonely Women of the Rust Belt

The disappearance of manufacturing and the rise of opioid abuse has hit men in the Rust Belt hard. That’s meant women are left to pick up the pieces.

A line of homeless people wait for food in Charlotte

Why It's So Hard to Get Ahead in the South

Compared to kids elsewhere in the country, poor children in Charlotte and other Southern cities have the lowest odds of making it to the top income bracket. Why?

Is Economic Despair What's Killing Middle-Aged White Americans?

Two Princeton economists elaborate on their work exploring rising mortality rates among certain demographics.

When Factory Jobs Vanish, Men Become Less Desirable Partners

Declines in manufacturing employment are shaping the structure of the American family.

How Charlotte's Nasty Early 1900s Politics Paved the Way for a Century of Segregation

During the late 19th century, blacks and whites in the South lived closer together than they do today.

How Norwegians and Americans See Inequality Differently

According to a recent study, the former are much less comfortable with luck determining well-being.

What RVs Say About the American Economy

Sales of mobile homes are a good data point for inferring the mood of consumers.

The End of Public Transit?

Start-ups are proving more efficient than government in areas like transportation. Should some services be privatized?

An Unsteady Future for New England's Suburbs

As people move to warmer climates and cities, small towns throughout the region are weathering decline.

The Racist History of Portland, the Whitest City in America

It’s known as a modern-day hub of progressivism, but its past is one of exclusion.