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The Forsyth County Poverty Study examined many risk factors that could affect the likelihood of living in poverty. It found racial disparities in poverty rates and exposure to all risk factors for which data was available by race. Each risk factor was more prevalent among African American and Hispanic/Latino residents than White, non-Hispanic residents.
White, non-Hispanic, African American, and Hispanic/Latino residents make up about 90% of the total population of Forsyth County (1). Other races/ethnicities are present in Forsyth County, but these populations are too small to produce reliable data. This section examines racial disparities and identifies risk factors that were more prevalent in at least one race/ethnicity. No risk factor is most prevalent among White, non-Hispanic residents, so this population is not examined in detail in this section.
Each risk factor examined in this section could play an important role in racial disparities in poverty rates, but it is important to understand that each factor examined in this report cannot, on its own, completely explain racial disparities in poverty rates. Racial disparities in poverty rates persist even when considering many factors at once. Additionally, the Methodology section of this report lists several risk factors that were not examined in this report that may also be important to racial disparities in poverty rates.
This section examines risk factors that are not equally prevalent among residents of each race/ethnicity. These factors can provide useful insights into racial disparities in poverty rates, but cannot completely explain them.
- There are large racial disparities in poverty rates.
- The poverty rate for Hispanic/Latino residents is more than four times as high as that of White, non-Hispanic residents, and the poverty rate for African American residents is about three times as high as that of White, non-Hispanic residents.
- While the poverty rates of each race/ethnicity vary greatly, the population in poverty contains many residents of each race/ethnicity.
- Racial disparities in poverty rates are potentially associated with a wide variety of risk factors.
- There are racial disparities in exposure to every risk factor with data available by race.
- In every case, exposure to risk factors was greater for racial minorities than White, non-Hispanic residents.
- The risk factors explored in this report cannot entirely explain racial disparities in poverty rates.
Overview of Poverty and Race/ Ethnicity
Figure 1: Percent of Residents in Poverty by Race/Ethnicity in Forsyth County, 2010-2014
Figure 1 demonstrates that there are significant racial disparities in poverty rates.
- The Hispanic/Latino population has the highest poverty rates among the races/ethnicities examined in this study. The poverty rate for Hispanic/Latino residents is more than four times as high as that of White, non-Hispanic residents and higher than that of African American residents.
- The poverty rate for African American residents is about three times as high as that of White, non-Hispanic residents.
- A separate analysis demonstrated that racial minorities face greater financial hardship than White, non-Hispanic residents. These findings, along with a description of the expense estimates used to determine financial hardship, can be found here.
Figure 2: Number of Residents in Poverty by Race/Ethnicity in Forsyth County, 2010-2014
Figure 2 illustrates that the population in poverty contains a large number of residents of each race/ethnicity despite the significant racial disparities in poverty rates shown in Figure 1.
- The differences between Figures 1 and 2 are due to differences in the size of each race/ethnic group. White, non-Hispanic, African American, and Hispanic/Latino residents represent roughly 60%, 25%, and 15% of the population of Forsyth County, respectively.
- There are more African American residents in poverty than any other race/ethnicity.
- The numbers of White, non-Hispanic and Hispanic/Latino residents in poverty are relatively similar.
Figure 3: Percent of Residents in Poverty by Race/Ethnicity and Location, 2010-2014
Figure 3 indicates that Hispanic/Latino residents in Forsyth County are the only race/ethnic group to have higher poverty rates than their counterparts in peer communities. It is possible that some risk factors prevalent in the Hispanic/Latino community in Forsyth County may be less prevalent in peer communities.
Data for Hispanic/Latino residents in Roanoke and Lafayette County have a high level of variance and should be interpreted with caution.
Bars of a lighter color indicate no statistical difference compared to Forsyth County.
Figure 4: Risk Factors Associated with Poverty
Figure 4 outlines racial disparities in poverty rates and the risk factors examined in this section.
Residents living in locations of concentrated poverty, defined in this report as census tracts with poverty rates over 40%, are more likely to be in poverty in the future regardless of whether they are in poverty themselves (4).
Housing expenses that are at least 30% of household income are considered burdensome and can create financial strain, which makes poverty more likely in the future (2-3).
Click on the links below to explore the Race Lens subsections
- Forsyth Futures analysis. Contact Christopher Webb at firstname.lastname@example.org for more information.
- Desmond, M. (2015). Forced relocation and residential instability among urban renters. Social Science Review, June 2015, 227-262.
- Desmond, M. (2015). Unaffordable America: Poverty, housing, and eviction. Retrieved from: https://www.irp.wisc.edu/publications/fastfocus/pdfs/FF22-2015.pdf
- 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
Figures 1-3: U.S. Department of Commerce. (2015). Poverty status in the past 12 months: Table S1701 [ 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_S1701&prodType=table
Figure 4: Sources for individual statistics are associated with the corresponding figures in the African American or Hispanic/Latino lens linked on this page.