Amazon Offers Same-Day Delivery Everywhere in Boston—Except Roxbury

And Bloomberg took notice.

A number of food delivery apps say they service Boston, but exclude Dorchester, the city’s largest and most diverse neighborhood, and Mattapan. But these are relatively smaller companies, for whom “We’re just starting out, maybe once we expand” is an easy dodge.

But what about Amazon?

As Bloomberg notes in a recent story, the online retail behemoth served as an equalizer. It can be harder to find products of better quality and greater variety in ZIP codes with a predominately black population, and the cost and hassle of traveling to a white ZIP code only compounds this problem. Amazon Prime allowed those living in black ZIP codes to bypass the small selection in their own neighborhoods, as well as the exorbitant prices at boutiques across town.

Nearly a year ago, Amazon began rolling out its Prime Free Same-Day Delivery service in 27 metropolitan areas, including Boston. Customers can get same-day delivery on orders of more than $35, with more than a million products to choose from. It’s the last frontier in Amazon’s war with the brick-and-mortar shopping experience: the narrowing gap between wanting a product and holding it in your hands.

Bloomberg compared Amazon same-day delivery areas with U.S. Census Bureau data, and found that in six major metropolitan areas, predominantly black ZIP codes are largely excluded. Boston—one of the most racially segregated cities in America and, by no coincidence, the hardest hit by income inequality—was one of the six.

Amazon does not offer same-day delivery service to the three predominantly black ZIP codes that comprise Roxbury, despite it being available in the ZIP codes that surround it on all sides. Roxbury’s population is roughly 59-percent black and 15-percent white.

“Being singled out like that and not getting those same services as they do in a 15-minute walk from here is very frustrating,” Roxbury resident JD Nelson, an Amazon Prime member of three years, told Bloomberg. “It’s not a good thing, and it definitely doesn’t make me happy.”

“Demographics play no role in it. Zero,” said Craig Berman, Amazon’s vice president for global communications. When asked about Roxbury, Berman told Bloomberg it was “an anomaly.”

You can read Bloomberg’s complete analysis here.