Neighborhood poverty: All neighborhoods should be communities of opportunity.

Insights & Analyses

  • In 2020, 14.3 percent of people of color lived in high-poverty neighborhoods compared to 3.9 percent of the white population. 
  • Detroit, MI has the highest percentage of residents living in high-poverty neighborhoods at 60 percentage points. 
  • About 1 in 3 Black people in Michigan live in high-poverty neighborhoods while 1 in 20 white residents in Michigan live in high-poverty neighborhoods. 
  • Oklahoma has the highest percentage of Pacific Islander residents living in high-poverty neighborhoods. About 1 in 2 Pacific Islanders in Oklahoma live in high-poverty neighborhoods.
  • While Black people were most likely to live in high-poverty neighborhoods in 1990, Native Americans are now most likely to live in high-poverty neighborhoods. 
  • The gap between the percentage of white people living in high-poverty neighborhoods and the percentage of people of color living in high-poverty neighborhoods shrunk from 22 percentage points in 1990 to 10 percentage points in 2020.

Drivers of Inequity

People of color are more likely to live in neighborhoods with concentrated poverty due to the long history of racial segregation in the United States. This segregation was forged through historical practices such as the expropriation of land from Indigenous people, racially exclusive housing covenants, and redlining. While many of these practices were explicitly aimed at Black Americans, they laid the foundation for patterns of segregation among other marginalized racial groups. Today, segregation is maintained through practices like discrimination in mortgage lending and exclusionary zoning policies. Segregation has led to the dispossession of communities of color and their exclusion from economic prosperity while enabling White communities to accumulate wealth and resources.


Grow an equitable economy: Policies to build communities of opportunity

Strategy in Action

Evergreen Cooperatives build wealth in Cleveland neighborhoods. Consisting of foundations, hospitals, universities, and the city, the Evergreen Cooperatives are creating jobs and wealth-building opportunities in some of the highest poverty neighborhoods in Cleveland by leveraging a portion of their multibillion dollar annual business expenditures to start worker-owned cooperatives. The Evergreen Cooperatives include an industrial laundry, a solar installation firm, and an urban farm that have collectively created jobs for over 200 employees, 137 of whom are also employee-owners. In 2018, Evergreen launched the Fund for Employee Ownership, which aims to convert family businesses whose owners are approaching retirement into co-ops. Their long-term goal is to create a network of worker-owned firms with 5,000 employees. Learn more.

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