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Poverty and Place

Poverty

POVERTY AND PLACE

Place reinforces poverty. High-poverty neighborhoods can weigh down families trying to earn a living and raise kids. High crime, low-performing schools, and scarce job opportunities often plague poor communities—undermining families’ struggles to improve their lives.

KEY PUBLICATIONS

Rising Poverty Threatens Neighborhood Vitality

MARGERY AUSTIN TURNER

High poverty rates, especially among African Americans and Latinos, threaten the well-being of neighborhoods as well as families. We can anticipate that the number of neighborhoods with dangerously high poverty rates is higher today than in 2000, representing a tragic reversal of the downward trend between 1990 and 2000. Historically, public policies played a central role in establishing and enforcing patterns of racial segregation, alongside discriminatory practices by the private sector and individuals. But no single causal process explains the persistence of residential segregation in America today. To ensure the well-being and sustainability of all neighborhoods, public policies must intervene to break the cycle.
Publication Date: September 10, 2009

Financial Help among Family and Friends in Vulnerable Neighborhoods
Part 1: Who Gives?

LYNETTE A. RAWLINGS, KERSTIN GENTSCH

Financial assistance from family and friends is an important resource for lower-income families dealing with difficult economic circumstances. This fact examines what percent of respondents in low-income neighborhoods gave financial help, either to family and friends or to other people they live with, in the last 12 months. The percentage of respondents who gave financial help is high—39 percent, with substantial variation within immigrant and U.S.-born respondent groups by race and ethnicity in the proportion that gave and where the assistance was sent
Publication Date: May 20, 2008

Financial Help among Family and Friends in Vulnerable Neighborhoods
Part 2: Who Receives?

LYNETTE A. RAWLINGS, KERSTIN GENTSCH

In the second fact we examine what percent of respondents in low-income neighborhoods received financial help in the last 12 months from families and friends or from other people they live with. Overall, 25 percent of respondents received financial help from families and friends. This figure differs substantially by nativity. Moreover, the patterns of receiving help from family and friends are fairly similar across race and ethnic groups for U.S.-born respondents, whereas the percent of immigrant respondents who received help from family and friends differed sizably among region of origin.
Publication Date: May 20, 2008

Can Escaping from Poor Neighborhoods Increase Employment and Earnings?

ELIZABETH COVE, XAVIER DE SOUZA BRIGGS, MARGERY AUSTIN TURNER, CYNTHIA DUARTE

Is there a correlation between exposure to racially integrated, low poverty areas and employment outcomes? Does moving from a poor, inner city neighborhood to a less poor area bring greater proximity to job opportunities, or contacts with new networks of neighbors who might steer movers to jobs? Does living in a community where more people work increase motivation to work or to increase income? In examining these questions for the MTO experimental movers, this brief finds that factors in addition to where people live affect their employment and earnings.
Publication Date: March 01, 2008

The New Rural Poverty: Agriculture and Immigration in California

MICHAEL E. FIX, J. EDWARD TAYLOR, PHILIP L. MARTIN

Immigration is changing the face of rural America, from Florida to Washington and from Maine to California. Migrants arrive, many from Mexico, to fill jobs on farms and in farm-related industries, usually at earnings below the poverty. Leaders of rural industries are adamant that a steady influx of foreign workers is necessary for economic survival. But the integration of these newcomers is uneven: many immigrants achieve some measure of the American dream, but others find persistent poverty, overcrowded housing, and crime. The New Rural Poverty examines the effect of rural immigration on inland agricultural areas in California, farm areas in coastal California, and meat and poultry processing centers in Delaware and Iowa. The authors examine the interdependencies between immigrants and agriculture in the United States, explore the policy challenges and options, and assess how current proposals for immigration reform will affect rural America.
Publication Date: February 2008

Concentrated Poverty: Dynamics of Change

G. THOMAS KINGSLEY, KATHRYN L.S. PETTIT

This brief compares metropolitan census tracts that improved with respect to poverty in the 1990s (poverty rate decreased by 5 percentage points or more) with those that worsened (poverty rate increased by 5 points or more); looking at the racial composition of both types and how the shares in both types varied in different locations within metropolitan areas and in different types of metropolitan areas nationally.  It finds that while trends by these measures were considerably more favorable than in the 1980s, the 1990s still saw a mix of improving and worsening neighborhoods almost everywhere, warranting local action to address the challenges that both imply.
Publication Date: August 01, 2007

Overcoming Concentrated Poverty and Isolation (Executive Summary)

MARGERY AUSTIN TURNER, LYNETTE A. RAWLINGS

Low-income families that live in distressed, high-poverty neighborhoods face especially daunting challenges as they attempt to leave welfare, find jobs, earn an adequate living, and raise their children. In these neighborhoods, crime and violence are common, jobs are scarce, schools are often ineffective, and young people see few opportunities for success. An extensive and growing body of social science research indicates that living in these high-poverty communities undermines the long-term life chances of families and children—cutting off access to mainstream social and economic opportunities. Neighborhood distress—and its consequences for families—constitutes a serious, long-term challenge to public policy.
Publication Date: July 29, 2005

Overcoming Concentrated Poverty and Isolation
Ten Lessons for Policy and Practice

MARGERY AUSTIN TURNER, LYNETTE A. RAWLINGS

Low-income families that live in distressed, high-poverty neighborhoods face especially daunting challenges as they attempt to leave welfare, find jobs, earn an adequate living, and raise their children. In these neighborhoods, crime and violence are common, jobs are scarce, schools are often ineffective, and young people see few opportunities for success. A growing body of social science research indicates that living in these high-poverty communities undermines the long-term life chances of families and children—cutting off access to mainstream social and economic opportunities. And historically, federally subsidized rental housing projects have intensified the concentration of poor people—especially minorities—in distressed inner-city neighborhoods.
Publication Date: July 29, 2005

Clearing the Way: Deconcentrating the Poor in Urban America

EDWARD GOETZ

Over the past three decades, the concentration of poverty in America’s inner cities has exacerbated a wide range of social problems. School delinquency, school dropout, teenage pregnancy, out-of-wedlock childbirth, violent crime, and drug abuse are magnified in neighborhoods where the majority of residents are poor. In response, policymakers have embarked on a large and coordinated effort to “deconcentrate” the urban poor by dispersing the residents of subsidized housing. Despite the clean logic of these policies, however, deconcentration is not a clean process. In Clearing the Way, Edward Goetz goes beyond the narrow analysis that has informed the debate so far, using the experience of Minneapolis-Saint Paul to explore the fierce political debate and complicated issues that arise when public housing residents are dispersed, sometimes against their will. Along the way, he explores the cases for and against deconcentrating the poor, the programs used to pursue this goal, and the research used to evaluate their success. Clearing the Way offers important lessons for policymakers, activists, and anyone interested in poverty in America.
Publication Date: June 2003

Concentrated Poverty: A Change in Course

KATHRYN L.S. PETTIT, G. THOMAS KINGSLEY

From the late 1960s through the 1980s, the trends seemed inexorable. Poverty became more and more concentrated in inner city neighborhoods and conditions in those neighborhoods got worse and worse. Data from the 2000 Census show that the 1990s broke those trends
Publication Date: May 19, 2003