The Brookings Metropolitan Policy Program’s research reveals that at least 2.2 million more Americans now live in neighborhoods with poverty rates of 40% or higher. Elizabeth Kneebone, a senior research associate at Brookings, is the report’s lead author.
“If you can imagine already facing the challenges of individual poverty, residents in these areas face a whole range of additional challenges, from attending usually poorer performing schools [to] having lower access to job opportunities and networks. Health outcomes are often poorer in these neighborhoods, in terms of higher rates of asthma and heart disease, and there are higher crime rates.”
Brookings says the number of Houston area residents living in areas of extreme poverty more than doubled between the years 2000 and 2009 to more than 200,000 — nearly 11% of the Greater Houston population.
Kneebone says the greater concentration of poverty puts extra burdens on local government — raising the cost of providing services to the poor while lowering the tax base.