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Poverty and Place

Poverty and Place: Ghettos, Barrios, and the American City

Paul A. Jargowsky
With a Foreword by William Julius Wilson
Copyright Date: 1997
Published by: Russell Sage Foundation
Pages: 304
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  • Book Info
    Poverty and Place
    Book Description:

    "[An] alarming report, a rigorous study packed with charts, tables, 1990 census data and [Jargowsky's] own extensive field work.... His careful analysis of enterprise zones, job-creation strategies, local economic development schemes and housing and tax policies rounds out an essential handbook for policy makers, a major contribution to public debate over ways to reverse indigence." -Publishers Weekly

    "A data-rich description and a conceptually innovative explanation of the spread of neighborhood poverty in the United States between 1970 and 1990. Urban scholars and policymakers alike should find Jargowsky's compelling arguments thought-provoking. "-Library Journal"A powerful book that allows us to really understand how ghettos have been changing over time and the forces behind these changes. It should be required reading of anyone who cares about urban poverty." -David Ellwood, Malcolm Wiener Professor of Public Policy, John F. Kennedy School of Government, Harvard UniversityPoverty and Placedocuments the geographic spread of the nation's ghettos and shows how economic shifts have had a particularly devastating impact on certain regions, particularly in the rust-belt states of the Midwest. Author Paul Jargowsky's thoughtful analysis of the causes of ghetto formation clarifies the importance of widespread urban trends, particularly those changes in the labor and housing markets that have fostered income inequality and segregated the rich from the poor. Jargowsky also examines the sources of employment that do exist for ghetto dwellers, and describes how education and family structure further limit their prospects.Poverty and Placeshows how the spread of high poverty neighborhoods has particularly trapped members of poor minorities, who account for nearly four out of five ghetto residents.Poverty and Placesets forth the facts necessary to inform the public understanding of the growth of concentrated poverty, and confronts essential questions about how the spiral of urban decay in our nation's cities can be reversed.

    eISBN: 978-1-61044-308-1
    Subjects: Sociology

Table of Contents

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  1. Front Matter
    (pp. i-iv)
  2. Table of Contents
    (pp. v-vi)
  3. Foreword
    (pp. vii-xii)
    William Julius Wilson

    SinceThe Truly Disadvantagedwas published in 1987, studies of neighborhood poverty have mushroomed.Poverty and Place,however, is the first work to provide a comprehensive analysis of changes in neighborhood poverty nationwide. This outstanding book not only critically examines existing studies and conclusions about neighborhood poverty but also offers the most definitive explanation of neighborhood poverty change and challenges a number of claims made by social scientists about the causes of increasing neighborhood poverty. It also presents the clearest discussion to date of the policy direction our nation should take to address the problem of the spreading urban blight....

  4. Acknowledgments
    (pp. xiii-xiv)
  5. Chapter 1 Studying Neighborhood Poverty
    (pp. 1-28)

    Every large city in the United States, whether economically vibrant or withering, has areas of extreme poverty, physical decay, and increasing abandonment. Most city residents will go to great lengths to avoid living, working, or even driving through these areas. Usually, these neighborhoods are seen only on nightly news broadcasts after a gang-related shooting or drug raid, or they are depicted on television shows populated with every stereotype. But millions of Americans cannot keep a safe distance from them because they live in one. In these “deadly neighborhoods” (Jencks 1988), families have to cope not only with their own poverty,...

  6. Chapter 2 Neighborhood Poverty Between 1970 and 1990
    (pp. 29-58)

    Between 1970 and 1990, neighborhood poverty in U.S. metropolitan areas, considered collectively, grew along virtually every dimension. Ghettos, barrios, and other slum neighborhoods expanded in physical size, number of residents, number of poor residents, and the proportion of the metropolitan population living within them. The proportion of African Americans living in ghetto neighborhoods increased, despite a slight decrease in that group’s poverty rate. Poor persons, whether white, black, or Hispanic, became increasingly concentrated in high-poverty areas and more isolated from the rest of society. The fastest growing measure of neighborhood poverty, however, was the number of census tracts classified as...

  7. Chapter 3 Neighborhood Poverty in 1990
    (pp. 59-88)

    The rapid expansion of ghetto and barrio neighborhoods and the growth of populations living within them have not gone unnoticed. Newspapers run detailed portraits of “life on the edge of nowhere” (Eig 1992). Romanticized depictions of alienated young men who disdain authority, mistreat women, and battle each other for control of the streets are presented in popular music and films. For most Americans, however, the most powerful and memorable images of the inner city are probably those of the Los Angeles riots, particularly the beating of Reginald Denny and fires blazing out of control.

    Such jarring images often capture our...

  8. Chapter 4 Characteristics of High-Poverty Neighborhoods
    (pp. 89-115)

    The harsh realities of life in poor inner-city neighborhoods have been vividly described by journalists (Auletta 1982; Dash 1989; Kotlowitz 1991; Kozol 1996). Such accounts tend to evoke a combination of rage and sympathy in those who read them. On the one hand, most readers feel compassion for the plight of those depicted in these accounts, especially the children. On the other hand, many readers find the behavior and attitudes of at least some of the adults and teenagers to be self-defeating and, in some cases, utterly contrary to their own values. Newspaper articles and books about ghettos and barrios,...

  9. Chapter 5 Theory and Evidence on Inner-City Poverty
    (pp. 116-144)

    The widespread physical expansion of blighted urban neighborhoods is a troubling phenomenon for neighborhood residents and policymakers alike. We have seen, particularly in the analysis of Milwaukee’s ghetto expansion, that such neighborhoods are the result of complex interactions between the economy, racial segregation, and economic segregation. Despite widespread agreement that economic changes and settlement patterns both have important roles in ghetto and barrio formation, there is no consensus on the relative roles of economic change, racial and ethnic segregation, and economic segregation. Even less agreement exists about whether an entrenched neighborhood culture, having arisen as a reaction to economic impoverishment...

  10. Chapter 6 An Analysis of Neighborhood Poverty
    (pp. 145-184)

    Given the rapid expansion of ghetto and barrio neighborhoods, there is a great desire among policymakers, especially at the state and local level, to design policies to combat urban blight. Often, attention is focused on programs in the most distressed neighborhoods. Yet a primary finding of my research is that the extent of ghetto and barrio poverty within a metropolitan area and the changes in it over time are largely determined by dynamic metropolitan-wide processes. The most important of these is the functioning of the metropolitan economy, as reflected in the overall level of income and the inequality in its...

  11. Chapter 7 Chaos or Community? Directions for Public Policy
    (pp. 185-213)

    High-poverty neighborhoods, be they black ghettos, Hispanic barrios, or even poor white neighborhoods, have been growing at an alarming rate. Between 1970 and 1990, the number of persons living in ghettos, barrios, and slums in the U.S. grew by 92 percent, and the number of poor people living in them grew by 98 percent. The size of the blighted areas of most metropolitan areas increased even faster. For nearly four million poor people who now live in these neighborhoods, reduced economic opportunities and social isolation add insult to the injury of being poor. Within some of these communities, the deprivation...

  12. Appendix A: Data Comparability
    (pp. 214-220)
  13. Appendix B: Neighborhood Poverty Data
    (pp. 221-254)
  14. Notes
    (pp. 255-266)
  15. References
    (pp. 267-276)
  16. Index
    (pp. 277-288)