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Deconcentrating Poverty in Connecticut

The Brookings Institute

According to Elizabeth Kneebone and Natalie Holmes of The Brookings Institution, nearly fourteen million Americans live in extreme concentrated poverty (40% or more of the population lives below the federal poverty line). This is over 100% larger than the number of people that were living in extremely poor neighborhoods in 2000.

Three Connecticut metro areas were included in the study: Bridgeport-Stamford-Norwalk, Hartford-West Hartford-East Hartford, and New Haven-Milford. From 2000 to the 2010-14 American Community Survey (ACS) period, the share of residents living in extremely poor neighborhoods in these metro areas increased by 1%, 6%, and 11%, respectively. However, comparing the 2005-09 and 2010-14 ACS periods shows that the share of residents living in extremely poor neighborhoods actually decreased by 3% in Bridgeport-Stamford-Norwalk and Hartford-West Hartford-East Hartford, while it remained the same in New Haven-Milford.

Concentrated poverty creates barriers to opportunities for residents of these neighborhoods that make it difficult to escape these circumstances. Kneebone and Holmes argue that the concentration of poverty also reduces economic mobility for the regions surrounding these metro areas.

To deconcentrate poverty and address this lack of mobility, the authors suggest regional planning efforts that reduce the impact of economic segregation by increasing housing choices, expanding public transportation, improving workforce development, etc.

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