Concentrated Poverty

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When a large portion of a neighborhood lives in poverty, there can be negative consequences for the entire neighborhood (1,2). While the effects of concentrated poverty are numerous (1,2), this study focused on the impact of concentrated poverty on future poverty levels. Residents living in areas of concentrated poverty may or may not be in poverty themselves, but are more likely be in poverty in the future (2-4). This effect is particularly pronounced for children; one study found that children were 50% more likely to have significantly less income than their parents when growing up in a high poverty neighborhood (4).
This analysis measures concentrated poverty using census tracts, which are described in detail in the methodology section of this report.  Tracts with poverty rates of at least 40% are classified as containing concentrated poverty.  This is consistent with many other studies on concentrated poverty (1-2), though there is also evidence that even lower poverty rates can negatively impact neighborhoods (1-2).

Important Links

Data 101
Data Glossary
Methodology
About this Study
Executive Summary
Key Findings

Core Concepts

This analysis shows that the population living in concentrated poverty in Forsyth County has tripled, making concentrated poverty far more prevalent in Forsyth County than in any of its peer communities. The analysis also identifies tracts and groups in Forsyth County most exposed to the detrimental effects of concentrated poverty.
  • Between 2010 and 2014 Forsyth County residents are far more likely to live in areas of concentrated poverty than between 2006 and 2010. This is true whether or not they live in poverty themselves.
  • Between 2010 and 2014 residents in Forsyth County are far more likely to live in areas of concentrated poverty than in all of Forsyth County’s peer communities. This is true whether or not they live in poverty themselves.
  • Concentrated poverty in Forsyth County is clustered around US 52 and I-40 Business.
  • An estimated 17% of children in Forsyth County live in areas of concentrated poverty, placing them at a higher risk of poverty throughout their adult lives (3-4).
  • African American and Hispanic / Latino residents are both more than seven times as likely to live in concentrated poverty than White, non-Hispanic residents. This could contribute to racial disparities in future poverty rates, as concentrated poverty is closely linked to racial disparities in economic mobility (4).

Residents Living in Concentrated Poverty

Residents can be affected by concentrated poverty in their census tracts even if they are not living in poverty themselves, putting them at increased risk of poverty later in life regardless of their current poverty status (1-2). This section looks at the total population living in areas of concentrated poverty.
Figure 1: Percent of Residents Living in Areas of Concentrated Poverty by Geography, 2010-2014
Figure 1 shows that Forsyth County has a higher percentage of residents living in areas of concentrated poverty than any of its peer communities. Compared to peer communities, an additional 3-9% of the population of Forsyth County is living in areas of concentrated poverty; this population is placed at additional risk of future poverty (2-4). 
Figure 2: Percent of Residents Living in Areas of Concentrated Poverty by Geography, 2006-2010 and 2010-2014
As Figure 2 demonstrates, in addition to having the largest percentage of residents living in areas of concentrated poverty, Forsyth County also had the largest increase between 2006-2010 and 2010-2014.
  • The percentage of residents living in concentrated poverty between 2010 and 2014 is 3 times as high as it was between 2006 and 2010, and this increase is 3 times as large as the largest increase seen in peer communities.
  • The tripling of residents living in concentrated poverty over the course of five years is a dramatic shift, which could place these residents at increased risk of poverty in the future (2-4).
  • In Forsyth County, Forsyth Futures analysts identified 8 census tracts in concentrated poverty between 2006 and 2010. This roughly doubled to 17 between 2010 and 2014. The additional census tracts on average have populations that are twice as high as those already in concentrated poverty.
  • This implies that the increase in concentrated poverty is likely attributable to additional tracts being reclassified as concentrated poverty, rather than attributable to population growth in tracts already containing concentrated poverty.
  • Because the risk of future poverty increases the longer residents are exposed to concentrated poverty (5), the residents living in census tracts continuously in concentrated poverty may see these effects to a greater extent than residents living in census tracts that were only in concentrated poverty in some years.
Bars of a lighter color indicate no statistical difference compared to Forsyth County.
Figure 3: Percent of Residents in Poverty by Census Tract, 2010-2014
Map of poverty rates by census tract in Forsyth County.  This map shows that concentrated poverty tracts are mostly concentrated in Winston-Salem, especially around and east of US 52.
According to Figure 3, census tracts with concentrated poverty (depicted in the darkest color orange) are mostly located in Winston-Salem, especially around along and to the east of US 52 near its intersection with I-40 Business. 
Poverty rates in some census tracts have very high levels of variance and should be interpreted with caution. 
Figure 4: Percent of Residents Living in Areas of Concentrated Poverty by Race / Ethnicity, 2010-2014
As seen in Figure 4, African American and Hispanic/Latino residents are both more than seven times as likely to live in concentrated poverty than White, non-Hispanic residents. 
  • This could contribute to racial disparities in poverty rates in the future . Research has suggested that racial disparities in neighborhood poverty have a larger impact on racial disparities in economic mobility than many important family characteristics (2).
  • African American residents are more likely to live in concentrated poverty than Hispanic / Latino residents. However, the difference between African American and Hispanic/Latino residents is small compared to the difference between either group and White, non-Hispanic residents.
  • A separate analysis indicates that minority residents are more likely to live in concentrated poverty than White, non-Hispanic residents whether or not they are in poverty themselves. 

Figure 5: Percent of Residents Living in Areas of Concentrated Poverty by Age, 2010-2014
As Figure 5 depicts, younger residents are the most likely to live in concentrated poverty.
  • Children are 4% more likely than adults 18-64 years old and 7% more likely than adults 65 and older to live in concentrated poverty. 
  • The percentage of children living in concentrated poverty (17%) is of particular interest because children growing up in areas of concentrated poverty are much more likely to live in poverty as adults (3-4).

Residents Living in Poverty who Are Living in Concentrated Poverty

As described earlier in this section, it is more difficult for residents to escape poverty if they are living in concentrated poverty (1-2) . This section looks at the population of residents in poverty affected by concentrated poverty.
Figure 6: Percent of Residents in Poverty Living in Areas of Concentrated Poverty, 2006-2010 and 2010-2014
Figure 6 demonstrates that between 2010 and 2014, residents in poverty are more likely to live in concentrated poverty in Forsyth County than any of its peer communities .
  • Because concentrated poverty creates obstacles to escaping poverty (1-2), it could be harder for residents in Forsyth County living in poverty to escape poverty than residents in poverty in peer communities.
  • However, the majority of residents in poverty (66%) in Forsyth County do not live in areas of concentrated poverty.
Bars of a lighter color indicate no statistical difference compared to Forsyth County.
Christopher Webb, MPP
Christopher is a Data and Research Analyst with Forsyth Futures.  He performs statistical analysis and programming to support work on community issues in Forsyth County.
He holds Master's in Public Policy from American University, and a Bachelor's degree in Psychology and Business.
If you have questions or comments about the data presented in this section, please contact Christopher at Christopher@ForsythFutures.org or by phone at 336.701.1700 ext. 108.

References

Literature References

1. Kneebone, E., & Holmes, N. (2016). U.S. concentrated poverty in the wake of the great recession. Retrieved from https://www.brookings.edu/research/u-s-concentrated-poverty-in-the-wake-of-the-great-recession
2. Rothwell, J. (2014). The Neighborhood effect: Localities and upward mobility.  Retrieved from https://www.brookings.edu/blog/social-mobility-memos/2014/11/12/the-neighborhood-effect-localities-and-upward-mobility
3. Kneebone, E., Nadeau, C., & Berube, A. (2011). The re-emergence of concentrated poverty. Retrieved from https://www.brookings.edu/research/the-re-emergence-of-concentrated-poverty-metropolitan-trends-in-the-2000s
4. Sharkey, P. (2009). Neighborhoods and the black-white mobility gap. Retrieved from http://www.pewtrusts.org/~/media/legacy/uploadedfiles/wwwpewtrustsorg/reports/economic_mobility/pewsharkeyv12pdf.pdf
5. Chetty, R, & Hendren, N. (2015).  The impact of neighborhoods on intergenerational mobility: County-level estimates .  Retrieved from: https://scholar.harvard.edu/files/hendren/files/nbhds_paper.pdf

Tabular References

Figures 1-3, 6: U.S. Department of Commerce. (2015). Poverty status in the past 12 months: Table S1701 [ Data files from ACS 1-year estimates for the years 2006 - 2014]. Retrieved from https://factfinder.census.gov/faces/tableservices/jsf/pages/productview.xhtml?pid=ACS_14_5YR_S1701&prodType=table
Figure 4(a): U.S. Department of Commerce. (2015). Poverty status in the past 12 months by age (black or african american alone): Table B17020B [ Data files from ACS 5-year estimates for the years 2010 - 2014]. Retrieved from https://factfinder.census.gov/faces/tableservices/jsf/pages/productview.xhtml?pid=ACS_14_51YR_B17020B&prodType=table
Figure 4(b): U.S. Department of Commerce. (2015). Poverty status in the past 12 months by age (white alone, not Hispanic or Latino): Table B17020H [ Data files from ACS 5-year estimates for the years 2010 - 2014]. Retrieved from https://factfinder.census.gov/faces/tableservices/jsf/pages/productview.xhtml?pid=ACS_14_51YR_B17020H&prodType=table
Figure 4(c): U.S. Department of Commerce. (2015). Poverty status in the past 12 months by age (Hispanic or Latino): Table B17020I [ Data files from ACS 5-year estimates for the years 2010 - 2014]. Retrieved from https://factfinder.census.gov/faces/tableservices/jsf/pages/productview.xhtml?pid=ACS_14_5YR_B17020I&prodType=table
Figure 5, 7: U.S. Department of Commerce. (2015). Poverty status in the past 12 months by age: Table B17020 [ Data files from ACS 5-year estimates for the years 2010 - 2014]. Retrieved from https://factfinder.census.gov/faces/tableservices/jsf/pages/productview.xhtml?pid=ACS_14_5YR_B17020&prodType=table