One in four Americans now live in poverty areas, according to the U.S. Census Bureau. The number of people who have been forced to move to poverty areas has greatly increased in the past 14 years. Why?
What’s behind the increase in poverty?
The housing crash, loss of jobs and the country’s financial crises has left many with no alternative but to move into poverty areas. Many people have lost their homes and now find themselves in a situation where they need to live where they can afford. This often means either moving where housing prices are low, or turning to subsidized housing and low-rent apartments, which often places them in poverty areas.
Who is being affected?
White Americans make up the largest increase of people moving to poverty areas. The number of Whites moving into poverty areas increased from 11.3 percent in 2000 to 20.3 percent in 2012, almost doubling in 12 years. Overall, the number of people moving to poverty areas increased from 49.5 million in 2000 to 77.4 million in 2008-2012. Some areas of the country are worse than others. The percentage of people living in poverty in the state of Mississippi is 48.5 percent, while in New Hampshire it is 6.8 percent.
The downward spiral
The real concern is that many people who have moved into poverty areas will find it tough to get out. Poverty areas offer fewer job opportunities, higher crime, fewer decent schools and fewer health care programs. These will be challenges to those who want to turn things around to get out of poverty.
Although poverty has actually decreased in some areas such as Louisiana, West Virginia, Alaska and Hawaii, it has increased overall and particularly in states such as Arkansas, North Carolina, Oregon, and Tennessee.