Monday, June 7, 2004
Monroe Poverty Rate
In our last mayoral election, one of the candidates gave an astounding figure. He said that Monroe had the highest poverty rate of any city of its size in the U.S. I need to contact him and ask for the source of this stat. I've gone through tons of Census 2000 data online but haven't found the right section. I found the Poverty page, which contains, for instance, "How the Census Bureau Measures Poverty," and other interesting information, but I can't find any charts of cities by size and poverty rate. Surely they exist, though.
In my searching, I did find some evidence that the candidate's stat was/is in the right ballpark, at the very least: Edward J. O'Boyle, "Poverty in Monroe, LA: Data From the 1990 Decennial Census" (Revised, 1997). Dr O'Boyle's paper uses older census data, but it nonetheless states that, "Among cities with populations of 50,000 or more, Monroe has the third highest rate of poverty in the entire United States. Only two cities in Texas -- Brownsville (43.9 percent) and College Station (38.0 percent) -- have higher rates of poverty than does Monroe."
Now when we look up Brownsville on epodunk.com, we see that it still has the highest poverty rate in its population bracket; however, its population has apparently risen such that it's in the "cities of 100,000 or more" bracket.
So it's highly likely that Monroe does in fact have the highest poverty rate among U.S. cities with populations of 50,000 or more. But I still wish I could nail down that stat.
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