N.C. Poverty Research Fund

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Scotland Neck, Halifax County


Poverty is North Carolina’s greatest challenge. In one of the most economically vibrant states of the richest nation on earth, poverty is as common as it is ignored. And you're more likely to be poor if you're a woman, a child, a person of color, a high-school drop-out, unemployed, disabled. Too many are being left out, to the detriment of all.

The purpose of the N.C. Poverty Research Fund is to explore, document and research the immense challenges of economic hardship in North Carolina. Through generous foundation and private support, the Fund hires undergraduate, graduate and postdoctoral students and faculty to probe the causes of and solutions to economic injustice in the Tar Heel state.


Judicial Independence and Criminalization of Poverty

Our latest report takes a look at how the legislature has made it more difficult for judges to do their jobs, infringing on judicial independence. Recent changes to the law curtail the ability of judges to waive the court fees and fines that weigh heavy on poor criminal defendants and their families. Although waiver occurs rarely, legislators have moved repeatedly to close the door further. The result is a set of intrusions upon the judicial process which not only jeopardizes the rights of impoverished defendants but directly and intentionally interferes with the constitutionally-mandated independence of North Carolina courts.

Our report traces these changes, describing their impact through the eyes of judges and detailing the legal argument against them.

Forcing Judges to Criminalize Poverty: Eroding Judicial Independence in North Carolina

Durham Report

Durham, NC is generating lots of buzz. Its downtown is trendy, its economy is cutting edge, and its residents on average earn more and are better educated than in the state. But as more people move in and a hot housing market gets hotter, long-time residents, often working class African American renters, are getting pushed out.

In this report, we focus on the main neighborhoods in Durham that were redlined in the 1930s, examining the connection between past policies, ongoing poverty and contemporary displacement.

Racial Inequality, Poverty and Gentrification in Durham North Carolina

Goldsboro Report

Our most recent report on economic distress in North Carolina focuses on Goldsboro, a small city in the eastern part of the state. There, profound issues of isolation along racial and economic lines affect Goldsboro's future prospects. Numerous committed civic leaders have started to come together to try to address these deep and persistent divisions.

Other reports in our Economic Distress in North Carolina series

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