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Center on Poverty, Work & Opportunity Homepage

In the Spotlight

New low-wage work website

We're thrilled to introduce an exciting new website exploring low wage work in North Carolina. The website was researched and designed by master's students in the UNC Department of City and Regional Planning for the Poverty Center under the supervision of Professor T. William Lester. This highly interactive website provides a rich trove of information, including demographic breakdowns of who low wage workers are, which industries and occupations they work in, where low wage jobs are located, and policies that address the challenges of low wage work.

The website's charts and maps can be filtered and shared, plus their data can be downloaded for further analysis. This site is a great tool for anyone interested in a closer look at one of the defining characteristics of our state (and national) economy.

NC urban poverty in the news

North Carolina has recently received national and regional attention for its surging poverty rates, especially in its cities.

  • According to the Brookings Institution, in the past decade, Greensboro, Charlotte and Winston-Salem had among the highest increases of population in high poverty neighborhoods in country (ranking third, sixth and seventh respectively). The same study found that Raleigh and Charlotte had the third and fourth highest increases in their poor populations (Winston-Salem was 11th, Greensboro 17th).
  • Raj Chetty at Harvard and colleagues at the National Bureau of Economic Research detailed how geographic place affects intergenerational economic mobility - the chances of children climbing or sliding down the economic ladder compared to their parents. Chetty's research revealed that mobility is severely hindered in southern states. Of the 50 largest commuting zones in the US, Charlotte and Raleigh came in last and third to last. (The NY Times created an interactive map illustrating Chetty's findings.)
  • Another report by the UNC Center for Regional and Urban Studies found a similar increase in poverty and other measures of distress, particularly in North Carolina's urban areas.
  • Since the recession, North Carolina's hunger rates have surged. The US Department of Agriculture reports that the state has the fifth highest rate of food insecurity in the country. And Greensboro and Asheville are among the top 10 cities for food hardship.

These and similar stories and studies have been covered by the press, including pieces in Business Insider, the News and Record, and the Charlotte Observer. As a result, Charlotte is forming a poverty task force and Raleigh's mayor called for a series of poverty summits to be attended by the mayors of the state's largest cities.

The Poverty Center is delving deeply into urban poverty and will continue to cover and examine this critical issue.

Poverty Center welcomes new research fellow, Allison De Marco

The Poverty Center is delighted that Allison De Marco is joining us as our second research fellow. Dr. De Marco is an Investigator at the Frank Porter Graham Child Development Institute and adjunct faculty at the UNC-CH School of Social Work. Her research examines poverty, neighborhood effects, work and family, child care and the well-being of residents of rural communities. She is also interested in asset development in low income communities of color. Read her full bio.

We're thrilled to partner with Dr. De Marco and look forward to supporting and sharing her research, featuring related research and building ties with the School of Social Work.

"Seeing the Invisible" series available for Kindle

The entirety of our "Seeing the Invisible" series, which spotlighted different poverty-related issues in our state last year in the News and Observer, is now available for Kindle. It is a great way to re-read the series on the go or to give the gift of poverty awareness to someone else for under four dollars.

UNC School of Law | Van Hecke-Wettach Hall | 160 Ridge Road, CB #3380 | Chapel Hill, NC 27599-3380 | 919.962.5106

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