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December 22, 2010

Poverty up Sharply in Rust Belt


The December 21st article "Poverty up Sharply in Rust Belt" in the politics section of the U.S. News & World Report shows severe increases in poverty levels in Ohio and southern Michigan, deeper than the national average, as reported in the recently released 2009 poverty estimates by the U.S. Census Bureau.

The article quotes Professor Claudia Coulton, Director of the Center on Urban Poverty and Community Development in the Mandel School of Applied Social Sciences. Dr. Coulton says that increasing poverty is a sign of a country coming down from the "good times" of the late 1990s and early 2000s, when poverty rates were lower in many areas of the country. "I think what you have is people were just getting above the poverty line when times were good, and now they're falling back below it," says Coulton.

Read the full article.

Altogether, says Coulton, areas reliant on industries that employ low-wage workers, like the mining and manufacturing regions in Appalachia and the Rust Belt, tend to be hit harder in a recession and see greater poverty increases. "When we're talking about poverty, [we're talking about] the way the recession interacts with what we call the low-skill part of the economy, because that's where people bouncing above and below the poverty line tend to be," she says.