Changes in Poverty Rates and Poverty Areas Over Time: 2005 to 2019

Authors: Craig Charles Benson*, U.S. Bureau Of the Census
Topics: Economic Geography, United States, Regional Geography
Keywords: Poverty, American Community Survey (ACS), State, County, Poverty area
Session Type: Virtual Poster
Day: 4/10/2021
Start / End Time: 11:10 AM / 12:25 PM
Room: Virtual 51
Presentation File: Download



The American Community Survey (ACS) is the nation’s most current, reliable, and accessible data source for local statistics. Since 2010, the ACS has published estimates using 5 years of data for all geographic areas down to the census tract and block-group levels. For the first time ever, these 5-year estimates are available for three consecutive non-overlapping periods (2005–2009, 2010–2014, and 2015–2019), thus providing trend data for small population groups and geographies covering a combined 15-year period. This conference poster uses the 2005–2009, the 2010–2014, and the 2015–2019 ACS 5-year estimates to study changes in county poverty rates and to examine the prevalence of poverty areas (defined as census tracts with poverty rates of 20 percent or higher) and the changes in their spatial distribution across this time period. Census tracts are aggregated at the state level to provide a view of the change in the amount of people residing in poverty areas throughout each of the 5-year periods within the 15 year period (2005 to 2019). This poster also spatially displays the percent of those living in a poverty area by state allowing for comparison over time and highlighting regional differences.
Poverty rates for U.S. counties over the same 2005 to 2019 time period showed various changes through the three distinct time periods mirroring larger national economic trends. Those that experienced significant change from one time period to another are spatially displayed in this poster.

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