Thursday, September 22, 2022

Neighborhoods of Concentrated Poverty

Below is a map showing cities in the USA with neighborhoods of concentrated poverty. It's from this Brookings Metro PDF report.  Read the introduction in this article

This map was part of background information showing places where communities need extra help. Solutions were offered and are described in the report, and in this webinar that introduced the report. 

The PDF report included the set of maps below, showing concentrated poverty in Chicago and other cities.  Look at maps I share below, and on this and the Tutor/Mentor blog.  I've been pointing to Chicago's West and South side neighborhoods as places needing help for more than 2 decades! 

While this is a new report and map, the problem is not new.  The map below was from a 2014 report which I wrote about in this 2015 article.

Maps that show high poverty areas in Chicago and other places have driven the work of the Tutor/Mentor Connection (1993-present) and Tutor/Mentor Institute, LLC (2011-present) for more than 2 decades.  

In the 1994 Chicago SunTimes article, I'm shown with one of the students from a tutor/mentor program I was leading in Chicago. The map in the background was one produced by my organization. The shaded areas are places with concentrated poverty, where I've been trying to help volunteer-based tutor/mentor programs grow since starting the T/MC in 1993. 

So this is not a new problem. 

The student shown with me in the SunTimes article now has a graduate degree and a son in college. That's the potential impact of organized tutor/mentor programs. We need more of them. They need to reach K-12 kids in every high poverty neighborhood.  Each city shown in these maps needs a Tutor/Mentor Connection-type strategy to make this happen. 

The solution.  

The PDF that I shared above included this graphic. Communities that were able to implement all of these steps showed positive gains in reducing poverty and increasing community wealth. 

Getting more people involved in helping the neighborhood, in building and sustaining non-school learning and mentoring organizations, and drawing resources to help improve school performance, high school graduation, college attendance and graduation, are additional needed strategies.

The problems are old. The report offers new solutions.  Implementing these requires the same strategies that have been needed for decades.

Mobilizing public attention and support that would make long-term solutions available in every one of these high poverty areas is what would be new. This 1995 Chicago Tribune article shows that I had a "master plan".

What I did not have was the ability to communicate this effectively to the millions of people who need to be involved in solutions, for the many years it takes to build involvement, build commitment to solutions, then provide funding and talent to those solutions on a consistent basis for many years.

What's needed is for many to take the YOU role shown in the graphic below.

Share my articles and the reports I point to, such as those from and those listed in various sections of the Tutor/Mentor Library. 

Educate yourself. Then engage your network. Offer help. Don't wait to be asked. Build a shared understanding and "Give" until it feels good. Build habits of learning by reading these articles weekly, and pass that on to your kids.

This is a long-term problem, requiring long-term solutions. 

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