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Concentrated Poverty Is a Much Bigger Problem Than Gentrification, and It’s Spreading

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Report says the likelihood of a poor neighborhood coming out of poverty is just one in twenty.

As Americans endlessly discuss the perils and pitfalls of gentrification, the national conversation about poverty and affordability can overlook a more pernicious problem: the country's poorest neighborhoods are getting even poorer.

Analysis from City Observatory tracked rates of displacement and poverty for the nation's 50 largest metro areas from 1970 to 2010. The findings? Neighborhoods with a poverty rate double the national average in 1970 stayed poor 75 percent of the time. They also lost roughly 40 percent of their population.

Due to a lack of opportunity and high-quality public services, high-poverty neighborhoods have experienced a greater amount of community displacement than gentrifying ones. And those poverty-stricken areas are expanding. The study found that there were three times the number of high-poverty communities within 10 miles of a central business district in 2010 than there were in 1970.

A few more highlights from the report:

The likelihood of a poor neighborhood coming out of poverty is just one in twenty.

The number of people living in high-poverty neighborhoods doubled from 2 million in 1970 to 4 million in 2010.

Living in an income-integrated neighborhood in an urban setting significantly increased the likelihood that a family can move up the economic ladder.

A new look at neighborhood change [City Observatory]

As 'Gentrification' Turns 50, Tracing Its Nebulous History [Curbed]

Thanks to Expensive Housing, 27 Percent of LA Lives in Poverty [Curbed]