Article: Where Poverty Stubbornly Persists

Posted by Spotlight on Poverty and Opportunity on June 6, 2023

A recent report from the U.S. Census Bureau notes more than one in ten U.S. counties have experienced persistent poverty over the last 30 years. A county was considered to be in persistent poverty if it maintained a poverty rate of 20% or higher at each of four touchstone periods reflected in the bureau’s data collection: 1989, 1999, 2005-2009 and 2015-2019. The report noted that the U.S. is home to 341 counties, spanning the Southeast, Central Appalachia, the Southwest and along the nation’s border with Mexico, that met the criteria.

The report also highlighted that all three of the persistent poverty counties in the Northeast – Bronx and Kings counties in New York and Philadelphia County in Pennsylvania – are among the country’s top 1% of counties in terms of population size. Overall, among the more than 73,000 census tracts across the country, about 11% experienced persistent poverty.

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