More than half of the nation’s poor population now lives in high-poverty or extremely poor neighborhoods, finds a new report from the Brookings Metropolitan Policy Program. The analysis of changes in concentrated poverty reveals worrying trends across large cities, suburbs, small metro areas, and rural communities in the U.S. The report, “U.S. concentrated poverty in the wake of the Great Recession,” by Brookings Fellow Elizabeth Kneebone and Brookings Research Analyst Natalie Holmes measures changes in the concentrated poverty rate—the share of poor residents living in extremely poor neighborhoods (i.e., census tracts where 40 percent or more of the population lives below the federal poverty line)—since 2000. It also tracks the growth of high-poverty neighborhoods (i.e., census tracts with poverty rates between 20 and 40 percent). The report reveals a post-recession period that provided little relief to those at the bottom of the economic ladder. By 2014, 14.0 million Americans lived in extremely poor neighborhoods, twice as many as in 2000. Of that number, 6.3 million were poor, bearing the double burden of being poor in a very poor place. Residents of poor neighborhoods face higher crime rates, exhibit worse health outcomes, and attend schools with high dropout rates, among many other challenges that make it harder to escape poverty. (author abstract)
U.S. concentrated poverty in the wake of the Great Recession
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