The state’s poorest areas haven’t improved much in the past decade according to an analysis by the Iowa Kids Count coalition, and the economic stagnation is focused in the state’s inner cities. Michael Crawford, executive director of Iowa Kids Count, says the research focuses on “census tracts” — there are about four-thousand people in each tract. Crawford says 37 of the 49 census tracts that were classified as “high risk” areas for poverty in 1990 were still at high risk in 2000. He says there hasn’t been much economic development or improvement in those areas, and they’ve become even more “minority intense.” Crawford says the poverty-striken areas are primarily in the state’s six or seven largest cities. About 12 percent of Iowans live in Des Moines, Waterloo and Davenport, but 53 percent of the people who live in areas considered at “high risk” for poverty live in those three cities. Crawford says state policymakers have to improve the education for kids in those high poverty areas, and do something to help bring jobs to the inner city. “Kids Count” reports are issued in all 50 states, and is financed by a grant from a private foundation.
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