Memphis's weak economy, unmentioned in The Atlantic, almost certainly bears greater responsibility for the spreading violence in a city that has a long history of high crime rates. From 1997 to 2004, Memphis experienced a 14 percent increase in the share of school children living in poverty. Robert L. Wagmiller Jr. of the University at Buffalo found that the percentage of Memphis neighborhoods classified as having low male employment nearly doubled from 6.7 percent to 12.7 percent between 1990 and 2000 -- the highest level among America's 50-largest metropolitan areas. During this time of nationally declining poverty rates, conditions in Memphis markedly worsened.
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