A report this month from the Bureau of the Census showed that 10.9% of the 3,142 counties in the United States are experiencing "high poverty rates for an extended period."
Of the 341 impoverished counties, more than 80% were found in the South — specifically in Appalachia, areas with high American Indian populations, and along the Southwest border and Mississippi Delta.
"Research suggests people living in high poverty areas experience significant barriers to well-being whether or not they're poor themselves," bureau statisticians Craig Benson and Alemayehu Bishaw, as well as economist Brian Glassman wrote in an article assessing the report.
"The longer poverty exists in an area, the more likely the community lacks adequate infrastructure and support services," they added.
The report considered an area in persistent poverty if it had a poverty rate of 20.0% or higher from 1989 to 2015-2019, and counties identified as such were typically less crowded — only 6.1% of the population.
Although the South makes up 38% of those living in the country, southerners in the report comprised 54.9% of people who lived in persistent poverty. In addition, nearly 20% of all counties in the South were found to be in persistent poverty.
Six states had 15% or more of the population living in persistent poverty counties: Louisiana, Mississippi, Kentucky, West Virginia, New Mexico, and New York.
Meanwhile, 15 states and Washington, D.C. recorded no counties in persistent poverty.
The bureau researchers said utilizing census tracts allowed them to "identify populations in persistent poverty that were not in counties identified as persistent poverty areas."
"In counties that were in persistent poverty, identifying high poverty census tracts allows for targeted support to areas most in need of extra resources," the article read.
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