Milwaukee Public Radio Series on Segregation

Project Milwaukee: Segregation Matters, series homepage, Milwaukee Public Radio: “For years, the Milwaukee metro area has had a reputation as one of the most segregated in the United States.  How did this complex problem come about, and why does it endure? How does it contribute to persistent poverty? Are there ways to break through the boundaries..?”

Affordable Housing – Minneapolis, MN

As Minneapolis gentrifies, some of the last neighborhoods for the poor are now getting squeezed, By Adam Belz, November 28, 2016, Star Tribune: “A light snow fell outside a brown apartment building on Pleasant Avenue, where tenants gathered to protest something that’s become inevitable in Minneapolis: rising rent.  The company that manages seven buildings just south of Lake Street told residents in a letter that their rent will rise by as much as $125 per month, to $775.  For many of the families there, that will be too much, and nearby options are limited. Only a handful of apartments in the area rent for less than $900 per month…”

American Community Survey

  • Wisconsin incomes up, poverty down, By Kevin Crowe and Bill Glauber, September 14, 2016, Milwaukee Journal Sentinel: “Mirroring national figures, median income in Wisconsin grew for the first time in eight years, while poverty declined slightly in 2015, according to data released Thursday from the U.S. Census Bureau. Still, poverty kept a tight grip on the city of Milwaukee, which had the third-highest poverty rate among the 50 largest cities in the United States…”
  • Syracuse’s poverty rate remains among worst in nation, Census finds, By Mark Weiner, September 15, 2016, Syracuse Post-Standard: “One in two children in Syracuse lives in poverty in a city that now ranks as the 29th poorest in America, according to new data published today by the U.S. Census Bureau…”
  • Chicago area’s poverty rate declined in 2015 as incomes rose, By Alexia Elejalde-Ruiz, September 15, 2016, Chicago Tribune: “The Chicago metro area had nearly 52,000 fewer people living in poverty in 2015 than it did the year before, following national trends as its poverty rate dropped and household incomes rose — though the economic improvements locally were not as vigorous as national averages…”
  • Ohio incomes increase, poverty decreases, Census Bureau reports, By Rich Exner, September 15, 2016, Cleveland Plain Dealer: “Income is up in Ohio and poverty is down, the U.S. Census Bureau reported Thursday, after reporting earlier this week the same trends nationally.  In Ohio, the median household income rose 3.5 percent to $51,075, a little below the national level for 2015. The change included an adjustment for inflation…”
  • Poverty falls as incomes rise in Colorado, but rent hikes outpace gains, By Aldo Svaldi, September 15, 2016, Denver Post: “Coloradans earned more money last year and continued to escape poverty in a significant way, but they also paid out much more in rent, according to an update Thursday from the U.S. Census Bureau. ‘For the most part, these statistics tell a positive story about the Colorado economy,’ Broomfield economist Gary Horvath said…”
  • New Orleans poverty rates fall in 2015, still higher than state average, By Kevin Litten, September 15, 2016, New Orleans Times-Picayune: “The number of people living in poverty in New Orleans fell over the past year, according to U.S. Census data, although nearly a quarter of city residents are still poor.  The median income of families across the city grew, with a slight uptick in wage earnings occurring among black families. In 2015, they earned a median income of $26,819, up just over $1,000 from 2014, when it was $25,806…”
  • Florida incomes up a bit, poverty down a bit, but state lags country by a lot, By Andres Viglucci and Mary Ellen Klas, September 15, 2016, Miami Herald: “Floridians got a modest raise and poverty dropped slightly across the state last year, but Florida still lags the rest of the country in those key economic measures, new figures from the U.S. Census Bureau show.  The figures paint a mixed picture for Florida and depict an uneven economic recovery across the nation…”

Cost of Living for the Urban Poor

To cut down poverty, cut down the cost of living, By Laura Bliss, August 4, 2016, City Lab: “Proportionally speaking, Americans living in poverty pay more for basic necessities. On energy bills, the poorest 20 percent of Americans spend more than seven times the share of their income than do the wealthiest. Dividing American incomes into three, households in the bottom third spend twice the portion of their incomes on transportation than the top third. High housing costs are hurting everyone—but they’re hurting poor Americans the most…”

Urban Hospitals and Poverty

Surrounded by poverty, urban hospitals reach out, By Michael Ollove, October 12, 2015, Stateline: “As a child, Bishop Douglas Miles heard the warnings about vans trolling East Baltimore streets, snatching up young African-Americans for medical experiments at nearby Johns Hopkins Hospital. Whether there was any truth behind those stories—Hopkins has always denied them—hardly mattered. The mythology lived on and, combined with the hospital’s very real development decisions, contributed to a persistent view of Hopkins as an imperious, menacing presence amid the largely poor and African-American neighborhoods surrounding it.  ‘Hopkins was viewed with a great deal of suspicion and anger,’ said Miles, who graduated from the school in 1970 and is the bishop of Koinonia Baptist Church in northeast Baltimore. But now, Miles says, that perception could be changing. Johns Hopkins University and the Hopkins hospital and health system have launched an ambitious initiative to fill many more jobs with residents from distressed Baltimore neighborhoods, boost the use of minority contractors and vendors from those areas, and require their partners to follow their lead…”

American Community Survey

  • 1 out of every 2 children in Syracuse lives in poverty, new Census data shows, By Marnie Eisenstadt, September 17, 2015, Syracuse Post-Standard: “Half of the children in Syracuse live in poverty and the city continues to be among the poorest in the nation, according to U.S. Census data released today. The poverty rate in Syracuse for 2014 was 34.4 percent, making it the 16th poorest city among 585 cities in the U.S. with populations greater than 65,000. That’s 49,626 people living in poverty…”
  • Census: Poverty level steady in Philadelphia, drops in Camden, By Alfred Lubrano, September 17, 2015, Philadelphia Inquirer: “Philadelphia remained the poorest of America’s 10 largest cities in 2014, with more than one quarter of its residents – 26 percent – living below the poverty line. At the same time, Camden recorded a seemingly significant drop in poverty in 2014 from 42.6 percent to 36.5 percent – a change experts had a hard time explaining…”
  • Poverty keeps tight grip on Milwaukee, new census figures show, By Bill Glauber and Kevin Crowe, September 16, 2015, Milwaukee Journal Sentinel: “Poverty held a persistent grip on Milwaukee in 2014, according to estimates released Thursday by the U.S. Census Bureau. The city’s poverty rate of 29% — unchanged from a year earlier — was nearly double the national rate of 14.8%, leaving Milwaukee as the nation’s fifth most impoverished big city…”
  • Census bureau: Detroit is poorest big city in U.S., By Karen Bouffard, September 17, 2015, Detroit News: “Michigan is among 12 states that saw a decline in the percentage of people living in poverty in 2014 though the state’s poverty rate remained higher than the national average, according to a U.S. Census Bureau report released Wednesday…”

Suburban Poverty

Cities are becoming more affluent while poverty is rising in inner suburbs — and that has implications for schools, By Emma Brown and T. Rees Shapiro, February 26, 2015, Washington Post: “City centers around the country are becoming younger, more affluent and more educated, while inner suburbs are seeing poverty rates rise, according to a new study from the University of Virginia’s Weldon Cooper Center for Public Service.  The new study is based on an analysis of demographic changes in 66 cities between 1990 and 2012. It comes just months after a surge of headlines about suburban poverty following a Brookings Institution study that found that more Americans are now living in poverty in the suburbs than in rural or urban areas…”

Recession and Poverty

  • After recession, economic gap widens, By Michael Pollick, September 29, 2013, Sarasota Herald-Tribune: “For Realtors selling million-dollar homes and wealth managers who control seven-figure nest eggs in Southwest Florida, the recession that began in 2007 was more of a bother than a crisis. Navigating the Great Recession, at least for the uber-rich and those who make handsome livings catering to them, provided as many opportunities as problems…”
  • Great Recession won’t recede for many, By Michael Pollick, September 29, 2013, Sarasota Herald-Tribune: “When Joel Sugar moved to Sarasota from Illinois in 2006, Southwest Florida’s economy was humming along at an unprecedented pace. Housing prices were skyrocketing, jobs were plentiful, opportunities seemed endless. For Sugar and countless others, those days seem like a lifetime ago. ‘I honestly cannot believe how much our standard of living has dropped, and how we have accepted it,’ said Sugar, who in better times owned a jewelry store in Joliet, Ill…”
  • In urban North Carolina, deep pockets of misery are masked, By Gene Nichol, September 29, 2013, News and Observer: “It’s common to think of North Carolina poverty on a rural-urban axis. We’ve become a state, the narrative goes, of booming, economically vibrant metropolitan centers accompanied by in many instances struggling, chronically poor rural communities. The traditional portrait is accurate, so far as it goes. Per capita income is markedly higher in urban counties. Poverty and unemployment rates, on average, are elevated in rural ones. Our policy framework, understandably, reflects the divide…”

Medicaid Enrollment – Buffalo, NY

Erie County’s Medicaid data shows poverty existing ‘everywhere’, By Harold McNeil, September 13, 2013, Buffalo News: “Medicaid, the largest single cost in Erie County’s operating budget, is no longer just an urban expense, according to a report released Thursday by the Medicaid inspector general for the county. The report shows that a majority of the county’s Medicaid recipients reside in the city but that increasing numbers of people who rely on the program can be found in virtually all of Buffalo’s first-ring suburbs, including Cheektowaga, Amherst, Hamburg and West Seneca…”

Suburban Poverty

  • Poverty hits home in local suburbs like S. King County, By Lornet Turnbull, May 19, 2013, Seattle Times: “The idea of suburban America conjures up images of Ward and June Cleaver, of safe streets and good schools, prosperity and homogeny. But new findings released Monday by the Brookings Institution are flipping such conventional thinking about American suburbs on its head: In the past decade and for the first time, the majority of poor people were living not in big cities but in suburbs. Nowhere is suburbanization of poverty more evident than in South King County, where affordable housing has drawn immigrants and refugees coming here from across the globe as well as low-income families forced from Seattle by skyrocketing housing costs…”
  • Suburbs’ share of poor has grown since 2000, by Sam Roberts, May 20, 2013, New York Times: “The suburbs, which in 2000 accounted for 29 percent of the region’s poor people, a decade later were home to 33 percent of metropolitan New Yorkers living below the federal poverty level, according to an analysis of the latest census results…”
  • Advocates struggle to reach growing ranks of suburban poor, By Pam Fessler, May 20, 2013, National Public Radio: “Poverty has grown everywhere in the U.S. in recent years, but mostly in the suburbs. During the 2000s, it grew twice as fast in suburban areas as in cities, with more than 16 million poor people now living in the nation’s suburbs — more than in urban or rural areas. Elizabeth Kneebone, a fellow with the Metropolitan Policy Program at the Brookings Institution, says this shift in poverty can be seen in Montgomery County, Md., right outside the nation’s capital…”
  • Study confirms poverty hits the suburbs, too, By Alfred Lubrano, May 20, 2013, Philadelphia Inquirer: “Say poverty in the Philadelphia area, and it conjures images of North Philadelphia or Kensington, not the suburbs. But the suburbs on both sides of the Delaware River are becoming steadily poorer, part of a national trend that confounds long-held beliefs that life is always better in greener pastures beyond urban limits…”
  • U.S. suburban poverty growing, but trend mixed in Miami-Dade, Broward, By Andres Viglucci, May 20 2013, Miami Herald: “Across the country, the poverty rate is surging in the suburbs, where the number of poor people is growing much faster than in central cities — a largely unrecognized reversal that calls for a retooling of federal anti-poverty, economic development and transit funding, the Brookings Institution has found…”
  • More poor live in suburbs than in urban areas, research shows, By Emily Alpert, May 19, 2013, Los Angeles Times: “Bucking longstanding patterns in the United States, more poor people now live in the nation’s suburbs than in urban areas, according to a new analysis. As poverty mounted throughout the nation over the past decade, the number of poor people living in suburbs surged 67% between 2000 and 2011 — a much bigger jump than in cities, researchers for the Brookings Institution said in a book published today. Suburbs still have a smaller percentage of their population living in poverty than cities do, but the sheer number of poor people scattered in the suburbs has jumped beyond that of cities…”

Deep Poverty in US Cities – Philadelphia, PA

Of big cities, Phila. worst for people in deep poverty, By Alfred Lubrano, March 19, 2013, Philadelphia Inquirer: “Philadelphia has the highest rate of deep poverty – people with incomes below half of the poverty line – of any of the nation’s 10 most populous cities. The annual salary for a single person at half the poverty line is around $5,700; for a family of four, it’s around $11,700. Philadelphia’s deep-poverty rate is 12.9 percent, or around 200,000 people. Phoenix, Chicago, and Dallas are the nearest to Philadelphia, with deep-poverty rates of more than 10 percent. The numbers come from an examination of the 2009 through 2011 three-year estimate of the U.S. Census American Community Survey by The Inquirer and Temple University sociologist David Elesh…”

A Plan for Urban Poverty?

What Does Obama Really Believe In?, By Paul Tough, August 15, 2012, New York Times Magazine: “From the back seat of Steve Gates’s white Pontiac, Monique Robbins spotted Jasmine Coleman walking home from school alone. It was an icy December afternoon on Chicago’s South Side, and Jasmine’s only protection against the wind was a thin purple jacket. She looked cold. Gates pulled the car over to the curb, and Robbins hollered at Jasmine to get in. Jasmine was 16, and Robbins and Gates, who were both in their 30s, were her neighbors. All three of them lived in or around Roseland, a patch of distinctly subprime Chicago real estate that stretches from 89th Street to 115th Street, way down past the last stop on the El. Fifty years ago, Roseland was a prosperous part of Chicago, home to thousands of blue-collar workers, most of them white, employed by the South Side’s many steel and manufacturing plants. But the plants closed long ago. . .”

Poverty Rate – London, UK

Poverty is shifting from inner to outer London, report finds, By Simon Rogers and Hélène Mulholland, April 11, 2012, The Guardian: “Outer London has seen rising levels of poverty while the number of poorer areas in central London is reducing, according to a new analysis of official deprivation data. Although the poorest places in the capital are still in the eastern centre of the city, there are fears that poverty is being pushed out into the suburbs amid evidence of a significant increase in deprived areas in the outer boroughs between 2004 and 2010…”

UNICEF Report: State of the World’s Children 2012

  • Make children the cornerstone of urban decision-making, urges Unicef, By Mark Tran, February 28, 2012, The Guardian: “Unicef has urged governments to put children at the heart of urban planning – and to improve services for all – since the majority of the world’s children will grow up in towns or cities rather than in rural areas. In its report, The State of the World’s Children 2012: Children in an Urban World, the UN agency said hundreds of millions of children who live in urban slums are being excluded from vital services, from clean water to education…”
  • Split between rich and poor greater in cities, UNICEF reports, By Leslie Scrivener, February 28, 2012, Toronto Star: “Five-year-old Kiara appears well cared for – nicely dressed, well-fed and loved. Her hair shines. But she has worked with her family since she was three, selling trinkets in the subway trains of Buenos Aires. There have been mishaps: she has fallen onto the train tracks while playing, and last year she broke her arm in a train door. Almost half the world’s children live in cities. Their families are lured from their rural homes, hoping to find jobs for themselves and education for their children. It doesn’t always work out that way. ‘It’s heartbreaking for parents,’ says David Morley, president and CEO of UNICEF Canada. ‘They don’t want their children working on the street. They wish they had enough.’ In its annual report, released on Tuesday, UNICEF explores the struggles faced by families raising their offspring in the world’s slums, where one in three city-dwellers now live…”
  • World’s slum children in desperate need, UNICEF says, By Robyn Dixon, February 28, 2012, Los Angeles Times: “You see them, night and day, in nearly every African city. They are ragged children dodging between the cars: beggars, shoeshine boys, teenage prostitutes, petty traders and porters carrying loads on their heads with thin, pinched faces and anxious eyes. They tap on car windows, begging, and wait by the highway desperate to sell their goods. Around half the people in the world live in cities and towns, a billion of them children, as the urban population spirals. Millions of children live in slums and shantytowns and they’re dying of the same illnesses that kill the rural poor, according to UNICEF: hunger, diarrhea and disease caused by poor sanitation and overcrowding…”

Promise Neighborhood Programs

Grass-roots efforts aim to pull people out of poverty, By Dave Aeikens, December 21, 2011, USA Today: “In one of this city’s poorest neighborhoods, Jerry Sparby is among those trying to help people pull themselves out of poverty and help their children do better in school. Sparby and a group of volunteers have launched a local version of Promise Neighborhood, a growing national program aimed at connecting struggling families with the services they need, from job training to car repairs. If people start to understand the importance of relationships, I honestly think we can turn this community around,’ says Sparby, a professor at St. Cloud State University and retired school administrator in nearby Cold Spring, Minn. Promise Neighborhood programs are popping up across the country in mostly urban areas that have high poverty and low student success…”

Census Poverty Data

  • Poverty rate growing in N.J.’s working-class towns, census data shows, By Stephen Stirling and Eric Sagara, November 3, 2011, Star-Ledger: “Danny Bryant has lived in solidly blue-collar Carteret for 46 of his 47 years. During that time, just about everybody worked. Jobs weren’t glamorous, but they put food on the table. The houses were modest, tidy and well-kept. Now Bryant, a former pool supply worker, survives on the $600 his girlfriend brings home every other week from her fast-food job and $200 a month in food stamps after being laid off last year. And his section of Carteret is not the town it used to be. There are a lot of Danny Bryants there now. ‘If you live here and are poverty stricken, it’s hard to get help,’ Bryant said. ‘There’s a big line between being middle class and being poor. Everybody is struggling.’ More than one in four of the residents in Bryant’s neighborhood in the Middlesex County borough now live below the poverty line. A study released today by the Brookings Institution shows the poverty rate in New Jersey’s working-class communities like Carteret, Union Township and Garfield has grown substantially in the last decade…”
  • Pockets of severe poverty intensify and spread around Tampa Bay area, By Jeff Harrington and Darla Cameron, November 6, 2011, St. Petersburg Times: “Derrick Lewis lives in the hardest-hit slice of the Tampa Bay area. The poverty rate here jumped nearly threefold from 15 percent to 40 percent over the past decade, the cusp of what’s considered extreme poverty. Lewis, 50, considers himself lucky. He juggles a nighttime security guard job and a morning job making biscuits at Hardee’s, enough income to pay his landlady $250 to $275 every couple of weeks. Around the corner from his one-bedroom apartment lies a couple of boarded-up apartments, vacated after their latest residents were caught selling drugs. ‘I feel bad for them,’ he says. ‘You see it in tough times. A lot of people that never would have thought of doing something illegal before. Instead of being homeless, they do what it takes.’ This isn’t the inner city. It’s the suburbs. In a far-reaching analysis released Thursday, the Brookings Institution compared poverty rates in U.S. Census tracts in 2000 to their average poverty rates between 2005 and 2009. Among the report’s chief conclusions: Poverty is growing twice as fast in suburbs than in cities…”

Poverty Rate – Boston, MA

Poverty worsening in Hub, study says, By Meghan E. Irons, November 9, 2011, Boston Globe: “Poverty has deepened in Boston’s poorest neighborhoods, widening the gap between the city’s wealthiest and neediest residents, a report being released today finds. The study points to concentrated need in Dorchester, Mattapan, and Roxbury, where 42 percent of children live in poverty, the densest cluster of childhood poverty in the state, according to the study sponsored by the Boston Foundation. In those communities, 85 percent of families are headed by a single parent, mainly mothers, and at least 20 percent of the adults have no high school diploma. Poverty there is fueled by unemployment and low educational attainment, the study found…”

Concentrated Poverty in the US

  • Bay Area’s five poorest neighborhoods show up in study, By Matt O’Brien, November 3, 2011, San Jose Mercury News: “The Bay Area has fewer concentrations of extreme poverty than a decade ago, according to a report released Thursday. That may not console the people living in the Bay Area’s five poorest neighborhoods. In five census tracts, four of them in the East Bay, more than 40 percent of residents live below the poverty line, according to the Brookings Institution report. The neighborhoods are in downtown Berkeley, uptown Oakland, Alameda Point and parts of West Oakland and San Francisco’s Hunters Point. Two are business districts where many homeless congregate; one, the area around Oakland’s Frank H. Ogawa Plaza, has been central in the Occupy protests. Others are residential areas with well-kept public housing. The Uptown Oakland area, which includes some of downtown and the plaza, is a study in contrasts: Despite a glut of new condos meant to attract young professionals, more than 40 percent of residents live below the poverty line — which for a single person means making less than $11,000 a year…”
  • Poor Chattanooga neighborhoods have more than doubled in 9 years, By Judy Walton, November 4, 2011, Chattanooga Times Free Press: “The number of extremely poor neighborhoods in Chattanooga and the region — those with poverty rates above 40 percent — more than doubled from 2000 to 2009, a new report shows. The number of people living in the poorest census tracts in the Chattanooga region grew by more than 4,200, to 10,535, in the period, according to ‘The Re-Emergence of Concentrated Poverty,’ from the Brookings Metropolitan Policy Program. The Washington, D.C.-based Brookings Institute is a liberal-leaning nonprofit that researches social issues. ‘We lost ground against concentrated poverty in the 2000s,’ Elizabeth Kneebone, a senior research associate at Brookings and lead author of the report, said in a news release. ‘More people are living in areas that are extremely poor, and concentrated poverty now affects a greater swath of communities than in the past.’ In the release, Kneebone noted that the federal poverty level in 2010 was $22,314 annually for a family of four…”

Concentrated Poverty in the US

  • Extreme poverty spikes in U.S., study finds, By Sabrina Tavernise, November 3, 2011, New York Times: “The number of people living in neighborhoods of extreme poverty grew substantially, by one third, over the past decade, according to a new report, erasing most of the gains from the 1990’s when concentrated poverty declined. More than 10 percent of America’s poor now live in such neighborhoods, up from 9.1 percent in the beginning of the decade, an addition of more than 2 million people, according to the report by the Brookings Institution, an independent research group. Extreme poverty – defined as areas where at least 40 percent of the population lives below the federal poverty line, which in 2010, was $22,300 for a family of four – is still below its 1990 level, when 14 percent of poor people lived in such areas. The report analyzed Census Bureau income data from 2000 to 2009, the most recent year for which there is comprehensive data…”
  • Poorest poor in US hits new record: 1 in 15 people, By Laura Wides-Munoz (AP), November 3, 2011, Deseret News: “The ranks of America’s poorest poor have climbed to a record high – 1 in 15 people – spread widely across metropolitan areas as the housing bust pushed many inner-city poor into suburbs and other outlying places and shriveled jobs and income. New census data paint a stark portrait of the nation’s haves and have-nots at a time when unemployment remains persistently high. It comes a week before the government releases first-ever economic data that will show more Hispanics, elderly and working-age poor have fallen into poverty. In all, the numbers underscore the breadth and scope by which the downturn has reached further into mainstream America…”
  • Poverty’s grip grows in central Ohio, By Mark Ferenchik and Rita Price, November 3, 2011, Columbus Dispatch: “The number of Columbus-area neighborhoods gripped by poverty continues to rise, and not only in the central city but in outlying areas as well. A report released today by the Brookings Metropolitan Policy Program says the number of census tracts showing extreme poverty in the city of Columbus increased from eight to 24 over 10 years. ‘That’s a very significant uptick,’ said Alan Berube, one of the report’s authors. The report says the number of extremely poor neighborhoods – those with poverty rates of 40 percent or higher – has jumped since 2000, with the population in those neighborhoods rising by one-third…”
  • Brookings report finds poverty-stricken neighborhoods jump dramatically in Cleveland area, By Dave Davis, November 3, 2011, Cleveland Plain Dealer: “The number of people living in extremely poor neighborhoods has grown faster in Northeast Ohio suburbs than elsewhere in the nation, poverty figures released Thursday by the Brookings Institution show. By the end of 2009, 13 Northeast Ohio suburban neighborhoods had poverty rates of at least 40 percent, Brookings researchers found. (See the full document below). Ten years earlier there was none. With an 8 percentage point increase, Cleveland’s suburbs claimed the nation’s fourth highest rate of growth of the poor in poverty-stricken neighborhoods…”
  • Toledo area poverty rise worst in U.S., By Mark Reiter, November 3, 2011, Toledo Blade: “The concentration of poor people living in Toledo’s poorest neighborhoods grew by more than 15 percent in the past decade, giving the metropolitan area the unenviable distinction of No. 1 among American’s largest metro areas. More than 46,000 people reside in neighborhoods with poverty rates of 40 percent or higher in the metro area — which includes Lucas, Fulton, Ottawa, and Wood counties — with all but one of the 22 poor neighborhoods located within the borders of Toledo, according to a Brookings Institution study of the 100 largest metropolitan areas in the country…”

Urban Poverty – Canada

Big cities attracting poverty, Statscan data show, By Heather Scoffield, June 21, 2011, Globe and Mail: “Canada’s biggest urban areas are stuck in a rut of persistent poverty, while mid-sized cities are gaining ground despite the recent recession, new data from Statistics Canada show. The metropolitan areas of Vancouver, Toronto and Montreal have poverty rates far above the national average, details of a report on income in Canada in 2009 show. But Quebec City and Victoria, on the other hand, have seen steady and significant declines in the number of people living with low incomes over the last decade, despite the recent recession.  The trends are no surprise to Mike Creek, who works with homeless and impoverished people in Toronto, after spending years in poverty himself.  ‘If you stick around in a smaller community and you have that shame (of living in poverty), you become stigmatized. So I think it’s easier for someone to pack up their bags and try some place else,’ Mr. Creek says.  Urban centres, he says, ‘provide more opportunities around housing, and job opportunities and services that they may not find in smaller communities.’  Released last week, the Statistics Canada report is the first detailed, national look at what happened to income during the recession…”