Poverty in Cities More Persistent, New Study Shows

from Associated Press

Poverty in America’s cities has grown more persistent, with its victims having less chance of escape, according to a report by the National League of Cities.

The study describes a changing face of poverty since 1970, with the nation’s poor more likely now to live in metropolitan areas.

The league released its report, “Poverty in Cities,” as nearly 3,000 municipal leaders gathered in Washington for the organization’s annual winter meeting, which runs through Tuesday.

“Both the figures and the trends are alarming,” Alan Beals, executive director of the National League of Cities, said in releasing the report. “Such conditions are devastating for those caught up in it, especially children.”


Notes Poverty Resurgence

The report, an analysis and compilation of previous research, said poverty in America declined through much of the 1970s, to a rate of less than 12% at the end of the decade. But a resurgence brought the rate to more than 15% by 1985, and the average rate for the years 1980 through 1987 was more than 14%, the league said.

The portion of the nation’s poor living in metropolitan areas grew from 62% in 1979 to 70% in 1985--an increase of 7.6 million people, it said.

The report said the persistence of poverty--that is, the length of time a person remains poor--has grown.


Called the “escape probability,” the figure in the mid-1970s rose to 37 out of 100 who escaped poverty within a year, meaning that poverty became less persistent. But the figure began declining and was 23 out of 100 by the early 1980s.