Fewer D.C. kids are living in pockets of poverty, a reversal of a national trend, but the District still holds a higher concentrated poverty rate than any state and ranks 10th-highest among the nation's largest cities.
Roughly 33,000 children in the District live in concentrated poverty, neighborhoods where at least 30 percent of their neighbors live below the poverty line, according to a new Kids Count report by the Annie E. Casey Foundation. The number is an 11 percent drop from the 37,000 children counted in 2000, while the national percentage of children living in concentrated poverty has climbed by one-quarter. A family of four living in poverty earns less than $22,314 per year, according to federal guidelines.
"For D.C., the impact of the recession has been buffered to some degree -- and also [in] some parts of Maryland and Virginia -- due to the continuing jobs from the government sector," said Laura Speer, the Casey foundation's associate director of policy, reform and data.
|The 10 worst|
|Kids living in neighborhoods with poverty rate of at least 30%|
|City||Concentrated poverty rate|
|5. Fresno, Calif.||43%|
|8. Memphis, Tenn.||41%|
|10. District of Columbia||32%|
|Source: Annie E. Casey Foundation|
It's also a product of the city's growing population of well-heeled residents.
"One of the main reasons is that higher income households are moving back into the city and many of them are moving back into neighborhoods that used to have higher rates of poverty," said Jenny Reed, policy analyst with the D.C. Fiscal Policy Institute.
However, nearly one-third of D.C. kids still live in concentrated poverty, according to the report. And among the 50 largest cities, the District's concentrated poverty rate of 32 percent ranks 10th-highest.
In addition, according to the DCFPI, the overall poverty rate of kids in the District has jumped by more than one-third since the beginning of the recession in late 2007. That means that the city's pockets of poverty have simply gotten smaller and spread out.
"Often when you have high concentrated levels of poverty, it's often thought of as a double hit -- it hurts neighborhoods and families living in neighborhoods," Reed said. "So it's good that it's going down. But it doesn't mean the negative effects of poverty aren't hurting or impacting kids."