Why High-Poverty Neighborhoods Persist: The Role of Precarious Housing

Rolf Pendall, Brett Theodos, Kaitlin Hildner

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Why do we see persistence, recurrence, and new emergence of concentrated poverty in U.S. cities? In this article, we explore an understudied connection: whether an important part of the built environment—a series of attributes that constitute precarious housing—constitutes a durable substrate on which concentrated poverty predictably emerges and recurs and if so, how this might vary across the United States. Poverty grew fastest between 2000 and 2005–2009 in tracts that began the decade with high levels of rented one- to four-family housing, multifamily housing, housing between 20 and 25 years old, and households paying over 30% of their income for housing costs. In addition, poverty grew fastest in tracts with high percentages of black or Hispanic households in 2000.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)33-65
Number of pages33
JournalUrban Affairs Review
Issue number1
StatePublished - Jan 1 2016
Externally publishedYes


  • built environment
  • concentrated poverty
  • disadvantaged neighborhoods
  • multifamily housing
  • neighborhood change

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Sociology and Political Science
  • Urban Studies

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