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Race, household, and poverty: a comparative study of underdevelopment in the United States

Joachim Singelmann, Louisiana State University
Tim Slack, Louisiana State University
Kayla Fontenot, Louisiana State University
Rogelio Saenz, Texas A&M University
Carlos Siordia, Texas A&M University

This paper examines the consequences of uneven development in the United States for the persistence of large impoverished regions. Historically, those three regions were Appalachia, the lower Mississippi Delta, and the Texas Borderland. While public policies greatly reduced poverty in Appalachia, the Delta and the Borderland remain the regions with above-average and persistent poverty. A large proportion of the population in the Delta is black, and in the Borderland, an even larger share is Latino. With the use of a model informed by development theory, the paper examines the determinants of poverty in those regions. The analyses are disaggregated by race/ethnicity and family type. The results show substantial variation in the factors contributing to poverty for the two regions, race/ethnicity, and family type. Those findings suggest that successful anti-poverty programs need to be place specific and target specific demographic groups in order to be successful.

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Presented in Session 155: Measuring poverty