The Census Bureau defines a poverty area as any census tract with a poverty rate of 20 percent of more.
Sociologists and other analysts point to the Great Recession, in particular housing and job challenges, as well as slow and uneven growth since the recession.
“With the advent of the financial crisis and the bursting of the housing bubble, many people lost their homes and thus needed to rent or move in with relatives,” says Cheryl Carleton, an economics professor at Villanova University near Philadelphia. “[I]ndividuals need to move where they can afford to live … which is going to be in areas where public housing is available or housing prices and rental rates are low, which is more likely to be in a ‘poverty area.’ ” Professor Carleton made her comments via e-mail.
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