According to the Urban Institute in Washington, D.C., the number of people living in high-poverty areas in the U.S. has risen since the year 2000 by almost 80 percent.
This trend has lead to an increase in impoverished clusters, neighborhoods where poverty is endemic and upward mobility and economic opportunity is increasingly out of reach for many community residents.
One such area is the Lakewood Heights community in Atlanta, Georgia, where crime rates are high and many homes sit dilapidated and abandoned. Here, the poverty rate hovers around 30 percent.
NewsHour Weekend toured the neighborhood with community organizers Tina Arnold, the executive director of Sustainable Lakewood, and Rev. Houston Wheeler, who has worked in urban development in Atlanta since the 1970s.
“You have some $300,000 homes, but you also have some homes for $10,000,” Arnold said. “If you’re making eight dollars an hour and only getting 24 hours a week, I mean, where can you live?”
Chasing the Dream: Poverty and Opportunity in America is a multi-platform public media initiative that provides a deeper understanding of the impact of poverty on American society. Major funding for this initiative is provided by The JPB Foundation. Additional funding is provided by Ford Foundation and the Annie E. Casey Foundation.