BSPR: Idahoans Living in Poverty Increasingly Concentrating into 'High-Poverty Areas'

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Percentage point change in proportion of people living in poverty areas by state: 2000 to 2010 - U.S. CENSUS BUREAU
  • U.S. Census Bureau
  • Percentage point change in proportion of people living in poverty areas by state: 2000 to 2010

A recently released report from the U.S. Census Bureau shows Idaho's poor people are becoming increasingly concentrated. Fifteen percent of Idahoans live in poverty, but if you look at where they live, it's in clusters. The number of poor Idahoans living in high-poverty areas grew to 36.4 percent in 2010, compared to 15.6 percent in 2000.

According to Boise State Public Radio, people who study poverty say living in high-poverty areas makes life harder; it's harder to find a job, crime rates are higher and housing conditions are lower.

Boise State University sociologist Sergio Romero told BSPR that the increased concentration has a lot to do with the state's shifting population. When Idaho was mostly rural, poverty was more spread out, but as Idaho's poor looks for work, they're largely moving to urban areas. Poor people often come together to pool their resources as well. 

The census also showed some of Idaho's neighbors saw bigger poverty-concentration increases as well, such as Nevada and Oregon.

CORRECTION: Headline has been amended to correct misinterpretation of percentage data.