Policy & RESEARCH

Capitol Ideas

CSG Knowledge Center

Research Services

MLC Policy Resolutions

Stateline Midwest

States Perform

policy

 

New data show dramatic rise in the number of Midwest's residents living in concentrated areas of poverty

by Tim Anderson ~ July/August 2014 ~ Stateline Midwest »
Mirroring a national trend, many more people in the Midwest are living in concentrated areas of poverty — a demographic trend that carries with it implications related to everything from crime and health, to economic and educational opportunity.
The U.S. Census Bureau examined changes between 2000 and 2010. The federal agency designates a neighborhood as a “poverty area” if at least one in five local residents lives in poverty.
In 2000, the Midwest (Missouri included) had the lowest proportion of people living in poverty areas among the four U.S. regions. But that changed over the last decade, caused in large part by shifts in economically distressed parts of the Great Lakes region (see maps below).
Residents of high-concentration poverty areas face myriad challenges, according to researchers at the Brookings Institution. Young people are more likely to attend underperforming schools, job seekers have fewer opportunities, and all residents must deal with higher crime rates.
Concentrated poverty is also spreading to areas outside of central cities. The number of suburban neighborhoods with high rates of poverty more than doubled between 2000 and 2010.
The Midwest’s Plains states tend to have a smaller percentage of residents living in poor areas. However, pockets of North Dakota and South Dakota (those clustered in and around American Indian reservations) have among the most extreme poverty rates in the nation.