Hurricane Katrina’s assault on New Orleans’ most vulnerable residents and neighborhoods reinvigorated a dialogue on race and class in America. This paper argues that the conversation should focus special attention on alleviating concentrated urban poverty—the segregation of poor families into extremely distressed neighborhoods—and cultivate policies that create neighborhoods of choice and connection.  

October 30, 2005

In This Report, You’ll Learn

  1. 1

    What constitutes a high-poverty neighborhood.

  2. 2

    How concentrated poverty permeates all aspects of a community, including government and commerce.

  3. 3

    How government policies contribute to concentrated poverty in inner cities.

  4. 4

    What public officials can do to create true opportunity for disadvantaged families.

  1. 5

    How housing policies creating neighborhoods of choice and connection can make a difference.

Key Takeaway

Location matters when trying to climb out of poverty

News coverage of Hurricane Katrina’s aftermath in New Orleans showed that individuals and families left behind were overwhelmingly poverty-stricken blacks in poor health. Residents in this isolated neighborhood had no friends or relatives to turn to for shelter or financial assistance. Katrina showed how poverty can isolate any urban neighborhood socially as well as geographically.

Findings & Stats

Statements & Quotations