Spatial Decomposition of Persistent Poverty in the United States

Marlene A. Lee, University of Wisconsin at Madison
Joachim Singelmann, Louisiana State University

Persistent poverty in particular geographic regions of the U.S. is a well documented phenomenon. Regional pockets of poverty are often related to racial concentration, particularly among minority groups. Do persistently poor regions account for an ever increasing share of total U.S. poverty, or are they becoming an ever smaller component of overall poverty? The continuation of persistent poverty in regions and counties can be decomposed into exits (outmigration) of the non-poor, entries (inmigration) of the poor, and increased impoverishment of the population. Identifying the process by which regions have remained poor over a long period of time has many implications for policy intervention. Using the U.S. Decennial Censuses from 1970-2000, we employ geographic analysis, population decomposition methods, and shift share analysis to assess changes in the geographic concentration of poverty in the U.S. The analyzes are based on aggregate files, the PUMS microdata and, as available, special migration tabulations.

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Presented in Session 153: Family, Race/Ethnicity, and Poverty in Rural America