Report Finds Doubled Concentrations of Poverty Since 1970

A new report from City Observatory analyzes urban poverty and gentrification using census data from 1970 to 2010.

1 minute read

December 7, 2014, 5:00 AM PST

By Maayan Dembo @DJ_Mayjahn

As Joe Cortright writes in Next City, City Observatory has created a new report analyzing the relationship between urban poverty and gentrification in American cities from 1970 to 2010. Specifically, the organization asked the question, “how many neighborhoods that used to have high rates of poverty have actually gentrified and how many people have actually been displaced by this new development?”

The results are found in the report titled, "Lost in Place: Why the persistence and spread of concentrated poverty–not gentrification–is our biggest urban challenge." Cortright summarizes some of the surprising findings, like how the hyper-gentrification of Williamsburg, for example, is rare throughout the country, as “[l]ess than 5 percent of 1970 high poverty neighborhoods have seen their poverty rates fall to below the national average over the past four decades. Far more common, and largely unnoticed, is a counter trend: the number of high-poverty neighborhoods in the U.S. has tripled, and the number of poor persons living in them has doubled since 1970. This growing concentration of poverty is the biggest problem confronting American cities.”

Cortright presents other findings from the report in his piece, like the deepening concentrations of poverty in neighborhoods and their population instability.

Friday, December 5, 2014 in Next City

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