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As we move into a spiky world dominated by cities, the winners and losers are becoming ever clearer. Cities show dramatic geographic divides by class, and some American metros have levels of inequality comparable to those in the poorest nations in the world. And the economic crisis and Great Recession has only compounded this situation, according to a new report from Pew's Economic Mobility Project.
The study examines the effects of the crisis on people living in high- versus low-poverty neighborhoods, based on the U.S. Census official poverty line definition of $21,203 for a family of four in 2007. High-poverty neighborhoods are those where 30 percent or more of residents live in poverty, while low-poverty neighborhoods have less than 10 percent of the population living in poverty.
The chart below (from the study) shows the key demographic differences between high- and low-poverty neighborhoods. The study finds that while "the Great Recession had devastating impacts for families at every rung of the economic ladder," it hit especially hard at families in high-poverty neighborhoods already "experiencing hard times before the recession hit, making any additional losses that much more harmful to their economic prospects."