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March 1991

Poverty areas and the ‘underclass:’ untangling the web

Mark S. Littman

An analysis of the effect of changes in metropolitan area definition and poverty area boundaries reveals that the poor became less concentrated in poverty areas, not more so, over the period 1972-89. This article examines trends in the total population living in poverty areas over the past two decades, including the impact that changes in metropolitan area definitions have had on the proportion of the Nation's poverty area population estimated to be living in nonmetropolitan areas.

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