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The Geography of American Poverty

Is There a Need for Place-Based Policies?

Mark D. Partridge and Dan S. Rickman

Publication Year: 2006

Partridge and Rickman explore the wide geographic disparities in poverty across the United States. Their focus on the spatial dimensions of U.S. poverty reveals distinct differences across states, metropolitan areas, and counties and leads them to consider why antipoverty policies have succeeded in some places and failed in others.

Published by: W.E. Upjohn Institute


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Title Page, Copyright

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Table of Contents

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pp. v-vii

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p. xi

We wish to thank many people for this project, including Josefin Kihlberg, Rose Olfert, Jamie Partridge, Steven Miller, and Stephen Schultz. We appreciate the help of two anonymous reviewers, and we are grateful to Tim Bartik and Kevin Hollenbeck...

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1 Spatial Concentration of American Poverty

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pp. 1-20

Concern about the well-being of the least fortunate Americans has ebbed and flowed over the last century. The New Deal initiatives of the 1930s stimulated interest in helping those hit hardest by the Great Depression. During...

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2 Recent Spatial Poverty Trends in America

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pp. 21-50

The national poverty trends depicted in Chapter 1 obscure remarkable geographical diversity in the poverty rate outcomes across the United States. This diversity extends beyond the familiar broad regional patterns of high poverty rates in the South and comparatively low rates in the upper Midwest. For one thing, poverty varies greatly within broad regions. Even...

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3 Regional Economic Performance and Poverty

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pp. 51-68

Chapter 2 illustrated the spatial concentration and persistence of poverty in the United States. In many areas, labor market rewards plus transfer payments left significant portions of the population below the federal poverty line. Labor market rewards reflect both the degree of participation in paid work...

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4 An Empirical Analysis of State Poverty Trends

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pp. 69-108

Federal welfare reform and the acceleration of economic growth happened in close proximity. The timing led to competing claims that each was responsible for declining poverty in the late 1990s. Some held that the economy was primarily responsible for the reduction in welfare caseloads, while others...

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5 State Economic Performance, Welfare Reform, and Poverty

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pp. 109-126

To provide more context and an in-depth understanding of the nexus between poverty, the economy, and welfare reform, we examine four states as case studies. The four states are Alabama, Minnesota, New Jersey, and Washington—one from each of the four major census regions. We chose these states...

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6 County Employment Growth and Poverty

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pp. 127-164

In previous chapters we found that economic growth reduces poverty at the state and national levels, especially when U.S. unemployment rates are low. This supports the belief that a “rising tide lifts all boats,” particularly approaching high tide, when the tide reaches the boats stranded on the beach. We found less evidence that the 1996 federal welfare reform affected...

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7 Poverty in Metropolitan America

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pp. 165-218

Chapter 2 illustrated the wide variation in poverty rates across U.S. counties—both across metropolitan and nonmetropolitan counties and across central-city and suburban counties. Chapter 6 assessed the causes of poverty rates using regression analysis for all U.S. counties. While this analysis discovered a multitude of findings for the “typical” U.S. county, it may have...

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8 Poverty in Rural America

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pp. 219-268

Chapter 7 showed that larger population and other characteristics help produce different poverty rate patterns and dynamics for metropolitan areas than for the nation as a whole. Low population densities and differing demographic characteristics also suggest that nonmetropolitan patterns may vary from national patterns...

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9 How to Win the Local Poverty War

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pp. 269-286

After weakening in the 1980s, the link between economic growth and poverty reduction tightened again during the record expansion of the 1990s, particularly near the end of the decade. Yet strong economic performance also coincided with several public policy initiatives, including efforts to reform...

Appendix A:Derivation of the County Poverty Rate Empirical Model

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pp. 287-310


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pp. 311-342

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The Authors

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pp. 343-344

Mark D. Partridge is the C. William Swank Chair of Rural-Urban Policy at Ohio State University and a professor in the Department of Agricultural, Environmental, and Development Economics. Prior to that, he was the Canada Research Chair in the New Rural Economy at the University of Saskatchewan. His scholarly publications...


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pp. 345-356

About the Institute

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p. 357

E-ISBN-13: 9780880994484
E-ISBN-10: 0880994487
Print-ISBN-13: 9780880992862
Print-ISBN-10: 0880992867

Page Count: 376
Publication Year: 2006

Edition: First

OCLC Number: 228143733
MUSE Marc Record: Download for The Geography of American Poverty

Research Areas


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Subject Headings

  • Poverty -- United States.
  • Poverty -- United States -- Prevention.
  • Urban poor -- United States.
  • Rural poor -- United States.
  • United States -- Social conditions.
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