Urban Wire Poverty in the District of Columbia
Zachary J. McDade
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Census released annual poverty numbers last week and the news was grim. As MetroTrends reported, poverty levels rose or stayed the same in three of the country’s four major regions. The South saw the only regional decline, but started from a much higher level. Child poverty rates increased in many states: 27 have rates above 20 percent, compared with just 14 states pre-recession. While the Hispanic poverty rate fell from 26.5 percent in 2010 to 25.3 percent in 2011, it is still much higher than the national average of 15 percent (a figure that translates to 46 million Americans in poverty).

As the Washington Post reports, the District of Columbia’s trends largely mirrored those of the nation. From 2010 to 2011, poverty rates stayed flat even while median household incomes increased by $9,000 over five years. The Post also reported that District poverty rates (18 percent) and child poverty rates (30 percent) are high both by historic standards and compared with the national rates.

With District poverty largely unchanged, MetroTrends’ Poverty by Race interactive map still tells an important story about the geographic concentration of poverty in the nation’s capital. Each dot in the map represents 80 people living below poverty. The dots are colored according to race, and the slider compares figures from 1990, 2000, and 2005-2009. Change the zoom level to see the District, the Beltway area, or the whole Metro region. Where is poverty concentrated? Which people are most affected? How has the picture changed in 20 years? What is your neighborhood’s story?

Research Areas Race and equity
Tags Poverty Racial and ethnic disparities Racial segregation
Policy Centers Metropolitan Housing and Communities Policy Center