Wednesday, January 4, 2017

75 percent of high-poverty neighborhoods in 1970 still classified that way four decades later

That's a stark claim. From Progressives Have Let Inner Cities Fail for Decades by Joel Kotkin. You always have to be careful that numbers fit into a context but numbers also force a confrontation with reality as it is rather than reality as we might wish it to be.
But as we saw in November, something isn’t so just because the coastal cocooners say it’s so. In reality, if we go beyond the big-city boosterism that dominates media coverage, poverty, crime, and economic stagnation still characterize many urban core neighborhoods even as many downtown districts have recovered. For all the talk about gentrification, concentrated urban poverty has been a persistent and growing problem, with 75 percent of high-poverty neighborhoods in 1970 still classified that way four decades later.


In New York, the poster child for urban revitalization, poverty and homelessness have worsened, in large part due to soaring housing costs. Since 2007, median rents in the city have gone up 8.5 percent while median renters’ incomes have gone down by 6.8 percent.


During the past decade, urban boosters have hailed “the rise of creative class,” reflected by the migration of educated millennials to “hip and cool” cities including New York, San Francisco, Seattle, and Portland. Yet as Richard Florida, who coined the term “creative class” has since observed, gentrification has not made life better for most urbanities, as the rise in housing costs has outpaced that in wages, making those cities even less affordable. The creative class certainly improved selected parts of urban America, but for the most part urban poverty, including homelessness and hunger, has barely been dented by gentrification and in some cases may have been made worse.


Despite talk about “suburban ghettos,” the poverty rate in the suburbs remains roughly half that of urban centers (20.9 percent in core compared to 11.4 percent in the suburbs as of 2010). Crime rates in core cities, meanwhile, remain over three times higher than in the suburbs.
I knew the problem was fairly intractable but 75% still in poverty after forty years? Woof.

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