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System Publications

In 2006, the Community Affairs Offices of the Federal Reserve System partnered with the Brookings Institution to examine the issue of concentrated poverty. The resulting report, The Enduring Challenge of Concentrated Poverty in America: Case Studies from Communities Across the U.S., profiles 16 high-poverty communities from across the country, including immigrant gateway, Native American, urban, and rural communities. Through these case studies, the report contributes to our understanding of the dynamics of poor people living in poor communities, and the policies that will be needed to bring both into the economic mainstream.

In the Richmond Fed District, this special report looks at the factors that give rise to high-poverty neighborhoods in West Greenville, NC and McDowell County, WV and the challenges they face.

Poverty data highlights include:

West Greenville, N.C.:

  • The neighborhood poverty rate was more than 40 percent, twice as high as the poverty rate for the Greenville MSA.
  • One in five households was headed by a single parent.
  • Nearly 60 percent of children lived in poor households.

McDowell County, W.Va.:

  • The poverty rate was 38 percent.
  • One in every three residents aged 18 to 64 does not have health insurance – the lowest rate of coverage in West Virginia.
  • Of the county’s working-age population, 40 percent claimed a disability of some kind.

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