This brief reviews recent social and economic trends in the ten metropolitan areas that form the context for the neighborhood programs being operated as a part of the Annie E. Casey Foundation's Making Connections initiative. It finds that these areas are strikingly different along a number dimensions and in are many ways representative of the diversity in conditions and trends across America's metropolitan areas. Since 2002, for example, two of these areas attained among the nation's highest rates of employment growth (Denver and Seattle) while two others experienced serious declines (Oakland and Milwaukee). Although there were important differences in magnitudes, all sites did share in a number of trends: minority groups growing as a share of total population, improvements in several social indicators (e.g., in crime and teen pregnancy) but, disturbingly, notable increases in child poverty.
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