Milwaukee among Metro Areas with Highest Levels of Segregated Poverty

Tuesday, March 25, 2014 at 1:31 PM by

Poor residents of the Milwaukee area are more economically segregated than poor residents in any other large metropolitan area in the country, according to a new report from Atlantic Cities. The Milwaukee metropolitan area includes West Allis and Waukesha.

When medium and smaller-sized metropolitan areas are also included in the ranking, Milwaukee ranks second in the country in poverty segregation, behind only State College, Pennsylvania.  Madison also ranks high in poverty segregation.

Areas where the poor are most segregated are in the Midwest and the Northeast, and the lowest levels occur in the Sunbelt, especially Florida, and the West.

Cities, in Wisconsin and elsewhere, should strive to avoid high levels of poverty segregation. According to the article: “This increasing concentration of poverty poses a host of problems to communities. Less advantaged communities suffer not just from a lack of economic resources but from everything from higher crime and drop-out rates to higher rates of infant mortality and chronic disease.” People living in segregated poverty also have a harder time getting access to jobs and quality schools.

Living in poverty segregation is particularly hard on children. In Wisconsin, 116,000 children, or nearly one out of 10 children live in high poverty neighborhoods. These neighborhoods often lack resources that are critical to healthy growth and development, including quality education, medical care and safe outdoor spaces. The number of Wisconsin children living in high-poverty neighborhoods has grown by 65% over the last decade, a trend that could have long term damaging effects on Wisconsin’s ability to wield a highly educated, globally competitive workforce.

Tamarine Cornelius


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