People hate taxes despite the fact that basically every person who studies economics knows they are needed and a great way to spur economic success. Despite the fact taxes are needed and good at helping poorer people in society, taxes are hated.
As a result, some researchers in the USA have looked into alternative ways to help poor people escape poverty. One solution is to change the way we help neighbourhoods rather than looking at taxes.
More Americans live in high-poverty areas than ever in history, defined usually as places where more than 30% to 40% of residents are below the poverty line. The number of people who live these neighborhoods of “concentrated poverty” has doubled since 2000, especially in smaller cities. There are huge racial disparities in these neighborhoods, too. One in 4 African Americans and 1 in 6 Hispanics live in an area of concentrated poverty, compared with 1 in 14 whites. While explicitly racist policies such as “redlining” have subsided, their legacy remains in how neighborhoods are racially and economically segregated today.
THE LINK BETWEEN LOCATION AND LIVES
Montgomery County, Maryland—less than an hour’s drive from Baltimore—is a unique case that shows it doesn’t have to be this way. It is among the wealthiest counties in the nation, and its school system is among the best. It also serves its low-income families relatively well. Like some other cities, it requires some real estate developers to rent a portion of their homes at affordable, below market rates. More uniquely, the county itself also reserves the right to buy some of these homes to create public housing for the poor. The result? Poor families, earning an average of $22,500 a year, living right alongside the affluent.