Public Utilities

  • Same lake, unequal rates, By Ted Gregory, Cecilia Reyes, Patrick M. O’Connell and Angela Caputo, October 25, 2017, Chicago Tribune: “Lake Michigan water rates have been surging throughout the Chicago region in recent years, squeezing low-income residents and leaving them with little, if any, recourse, a Tribune analysis shows. In this tangled network that delivers water to the vast majority of the region’s residents, the Tribune found an upside-down world, one where people in the poorest communities pay more for a basic life necessity than those in the wealthiest. And the financial pain falls disproportionately on majority-African-American communities, where residents’ median water bill is 20 percent higher for the same amount of water than residents pay in predominantly white communities, the Tribune’s examination revealed…”
  • No Social Security Number? No lights, By Teresa Wiltz, October 17, 2017, Stateline: “In the city of LaGrange, Georgia, an immigrant from Mexico lives with his young family. He’s been living there for 10 years. He’s a homeowner. He doesn’t have a green card, so he doesn’t have a Social Security number. Without the Social Security number, the homeowner can’t get utility services in his name, even though he has a Mexican passport and an individual taxpayer identification number from the Internal Revenue Service. (To protect him, his lawyer does not want to disclose his immigration status.) The city, which is the sole provider of utilities, requires that anyone opening an account have two things: a Social Security number and a government-issued photo ID…”

Mobile Health Clinics

Mobile clinics assume greater role in preventive care, By Scott Rodd, October 11, 2017, Stateline: “One afternoon last month, the Family Van stopped at the corner of Washington and Roxbury streets in Boston. The regulars had already formed a line, waiting in the lingering summer heat for the red and green RV to arrive. The Family Van, which is funded in part by Harvard Medical School, provides free blood pressure tests, HIV counseling and basic medical care to underserved neighborhoods across Boston. The van has been operating since 1992, and mobile health clinics like it have been around for decades, but they are assuming a more prominent role as the U.S. health care system places a greater emphasis on preventive care…”

Rural Poverty – Illinois

Rural poverty in Illinois met with concern, community aid, By Nat Williams and Jeff DeYoung, August 11, 2017, Southern Illinoisan: “Poverty isn’t particular about geography; it affects people everywhere. But in Illinois, rural residents may have a more difficult path out of economic stagnation. Recovery from the Great Recession has been slower in rural communities compared to their urban counterparts…”

American Community Survey

  • Poverty grows in swaths of suburbs, By Christine MacDonald and Mike Martindale, December 8, 2016, Detroit News: “Poverty is growing and incomes are down in pockets of suburban Metro Detroit, according to U.S. Census data released Thursday, but in most of the area’s small cities those numbers have remained stagnant.  Nearly a quarter of Metro Detroit’s smaller communities saw median household income decline and 20 percent saw the poverty rate grow, according to an analysis of census data by The Detroit News. The remaining communities saw no gains or losses and only a handful saw improvements, when comparing two five-year periods, 2006-10 and 2011-15…”
  • Census: Economic data paints two different portraits of Utah, By Daphne Chen, December 7, 2016, Deseret News: “In the remote red mesas of this southeastern corner of Utah, Charlie DeLorme counts the jobs by the single digits.  There’s the Latigo wind farm that started operations last March, creating six new full-time positions.  There’s the Desert Rose Inn in Bluff, which added 10 jobs after a luxury expansion…”
  • Census Bureau surveys highlight growing differences between rural, urban living, By Alan Johnson, December 9, 2016, Columbus Dispatch: “If you live in rural Ohio, you’re more likely than city dwellers to own your home, be a military veteran and be married, the latest report from the U.S. Census Bureau shows.  On the other hand, urban residents’ homes are worth more, and they are more likely to have a college degree and internet access. Rural residents, on average, are slightly older and less likely to be in poverty…”

Neighborhood Economics and Health

How economics, demographics affect a community’s health concerns, By Donna Vickroy, November 11, 2016, Chicago Tribune: “One county; very different health concerns across it.  The myriad communities that make up Cook County tell a story of affluence and poverty and points in between. And, depending on a community’s economic standing, its biggest health concerns can be very different.  For example, Cook County Public Health officials are concerned about the high rate of sexually transmitted diseases in Chicago’s economically struggling North Lawndale community. But in economically affluent south suburban Orland Park, where incidents of STDs are vastly lower, there is uneasiness over mental health issues and suicide rates.  A new study put together by county public health officials and local university professors examines quality of life issues across specific Cook County communities and asks a number of questions, including why do some communities thrive while others are in decline…”

Health Care Spending – Massachusetts

Low-income communities see fewer health care dollars, AG report finds, By Priyanka Dayal McCluskey, October 13, 2016, Boston Globe: “Massachusetts’ health insurance market has an income inequality problem, according to a report from Attorney General Maura Healey’s office, whose findings mirror national studies.  The analysis found that more health care dollars are spent on higher-income communities than on lower-income communities — even though the latter tend to have greater medical needs. Healey’s office called this a ‘distressing’ trend that has persisted for years…”

Distressed Communities Index

  • Poorest areas have missed out on boons of recovery, study finds, By Nelson D. Schwartz, February 24, 2016, New York Times: “The gap between the richest and poorest American communities has widened since the Great Recession ended, and distressed areas are faring worse just as the recovery is gaining traction across much of the country. These findings, outlined in a study to be released on Thursday by the Economic Innovation Group, a new nonprofit research and advocacy organization, may help explain why the country’s economic and political situation has become so polarized in recent years. The results, broken down into areas as small as individual ZIP codes, provide one of the most detailed looks at the nation’s growing inequality…”
  • A look at the wealth and income gap, by ZIP code, By Jim Zarroli, February 25, 2016, National Public Radio: “The most prosperous parts of the U.S. have recovered nicely from the 2008 financial crisis, but many other places remain mired in high unemployment and poverty, according to a report measuring wealth levels by ZIP code…”