The share of residents in the City of St. Louis who live in census tracts where more than 40% of its residents live in poverty
Black residents are more than three times more likely than white residents to live in areas of concentrated poverty.
A score of 100 represents racial equity, meaning there are no racial disparities in outcomes. The lower the Equity Score, the greater the disparity.
For Concentrated Poverty, a score of 100 — a score reflecting racial equity — would mean white and black residents are equally likely to live in high-poverty areas. It is important to note that for this indicator, equity is not our only goal; we also want to improve outcomes for all.
What does this indicator measure?
Concentrated Poverty measures the share of residents in the City of St. Louis who live in census tracts where more than 40% of its residents live in poverty. In 2016, more than 20% of city residents (65,351 people) lived in areas of concentrated poverty.
Concentrated Poverty analysis
Residents who live in census tracts with poverty rate greater than 40% in St. Louis City.
|All||Black||White||Disparity Ratio||Equity Score|
|Residents living in concentrated poverty||65,351||47,821||11,979||-||-|
|Percent of residents living in concentrated poverty||20.7%||31.7%||8.9%||3.572 to 1||30|
Data Source: American Community Survey 5-year estimates, 2012-2016.
What does this analysis mean?
Black residents are more than three times as likely as white residents to live in areas of concentrated poverty. Black residents are the most likely to live in areas of concentrated poverty (31.7%), followed by Hispanic residents (23.6%). White residents are the least likely to live in areas of concentrated poverty (8.9%), followed by Asian residents (12.4%). If concentrated poverty rates were equitable, 34,387 fewer black residents would live in areas of concentrated poverty.
Why does Concentrated Poverty matter?
Living in areas of concentrated poverty makes the effects of individual poverty more pronounced. Economists from the Federal Reserve Bank of Cleveland have identified concentrated poverty as a key variable that influences economic growth for regions. According to Brookings, concentrated poverty limits educational opportunity, leads to increased crime and poor health outcomes, hinders wealth building, reduces private-sector investment, and increases prices for goods and services.
Which Calls to Action from the Ferguson Commission report are linked with this indicator?
Ending poverty is one of the Ferguson Commission’s signature priorities. The Commission’s calls to action related to concentrated poverty include:
Questions for further investigation
- Why is there racial disparity in Concentrated Poverty?
- What can St. Louis do to reduce racial disparities in Concentrated Poverty?
- What initiatives are currently underway to reduce racial disparities in Concentrated Poverty?
How can I learn more about this issue?
East-West Gateway’s OneSTL has reported on the continued growth of Concentrated Poverty in the St. Louis region. They also publish the "Where We Stand" report series, which compares St. Louis statistics to 50 peer metropolitan regions.