Study Shows Drastic Poverty Increases

Brookings report documents increases in deep poverty

Poverty SpikesPeter Goodman of the The Huffington Post reports in his article, “Increase in Extreme Poverty Leaves Millions Stranded” on the dramatic increase in the number of American communities of extreme poverty, those communities where at least 40% of the population is poor. In its study released yesterday, The Brookings Institution showed an increase in deep poverty from 2000 to the time period between 2005 and 2009. The economic downturn and loss of employment can be blamed for this increase in poverty. The suburbs, where the number of poor people increased by 41%, have been the hardest hit by this trend.

According to the Brookings Institution report The Re-Emergence of Concentrated Poverty: Metropolitan Trends in the 2000s:

An analysis of data on neighborhood poverty from the 2005–09 American Community Surveys and Census 2000 reveals that:

  • After declining in the 1990s, the population in extreme-poverty neighborhoods—where at least 40 percent of individuals live below the poverty line—rose by one-third from 2000 to 2005–09.
  • Concentrated poverty nearly doubled in Midwestern metro areas from 2000 to 2005–09, and rose by one-third in Southern metro areas.
  • The population in extreme-poverty neighborhoods rose more than twice as fast in suburbs as in cities from 2000 to 2005–09.
  • The shift of concentrated poverty to the Midwest and South in the 2000s altered the average demographic profile of extreme-poverty neighborhoods.
  • The recession-induced rise in poverty in the late 2000s likely further increased the concentration of poor individuals into neighborhoods of extreme poverty.

These trends suggest the strong economy of the late 1990s did not permanently resolve the challenge of concentrated poverty. The slower economic growth of the 2000s, followed by the worst downturn in decades, led to increases in neighborhoods of extreme poverty once again throughout the nation, particularly in suburban and small metropolitan communities and in the Midwest. Policies that foster balanced and sustainable economic growth at the regional level, and that forge connections between growing clusters of low-income neighborhoods and regional economic opportunity; will be key to longer-term progress against concentrated disadvantage.

Click here to read the entire Huffington Post story.

To read the full Brookings Institution report click here.