The stark connection between geography and poverty

Poverty isn’t just an economic phenomenon: It’s a geographic one, too.

The map above, from a report by the Urban Institute, shows the top 10 percent of census tracts of urban areas around the Midwest in blue, and the poorest 10 percent of neighborhoods in black.

As Wonkblog’s Emily Badger writes, the geographic concentration of poverty in certain neighborhoods takes the problems of inequality and makes them worse. People who can’t afford expensive homes also don’t get access to safe streets, cleaner air and better education.

In Washington, the wealthier neighborhoods are almost all clustered together in the northwest suburbs, while the poorest 10 percent of neighborhoods band together east of the Anacostia River. To see a close-up map, click “Know More.”

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