Wednesday, August 29, 2007

Economically Disadvantaged in Dayton Suburbia

There’s a good discussion going at Urban Ohio about the recent American Community Survey poverty data. Dayton comes in at 28.8% (of its population in poverty). No surprise there.
I think what’s more interesting is not the number or increase/decrease of folks below the official poverty line (which is set pretty low) but more broader decline in economic fortunes or downward mobility, maybe not to the poverty level, but just above it.

One can use the Ohio education data sets to do an indirect measurement of the growth or decline of economic stress in a community. One group of data sets, extending back to the early 2000s’, provides the percentage of "economically disadvantaged" students in a district. One can use this similar to the way I used the Earned Income Tax Credit (EITC) claims to track increases in lower income filers in Kettering, as an indirect measure of declining economic fortunes.

Using Kettering again as an example, one finds a steady growth in economically disadvantaged students for the past few years, which is in line with the EITC data I was looking at.

Adding other school districts in Montgomery County one can see some trends:.

One thing to note is some big spikes, which makes me think there might be some problems with this data, as some of these very large jumps in one year seem unrealistic:
Taking out the spikes, one can see a cluster of districts with a lot of disadvantaged kids, then Mad River in the middle, and then a cluster of suburban districts with lower numbers of disadvantaged students
Taking a closer look at this suburban cluster, one sees some areas with steady increases in disadvantaged students. The biggest jump seems to be in New Lebanon, Vandalia & West Carrolton:
Mapping it out, one can see areas where there are a lot of economically disadvantaged students, and suburban areas that are seeing the larger increases:

The state has this data down to the school level, so one can track the increases in economically disadvantaged students by elementary, middle, and high school, if one wants to.


Greg Hunter said...

Jeffery, Does the data indicate that higher income people moved out or that people became more disadvantaged?

I would suspect as the auto industry and industrial wage jobs declined people became less affluent.

I wonder if you could cross reference this decrease in wealth with an increase in volunteering for military service?

Jeffrey said...

It would be tough to get the geographical data for military recruitment (I wouldn't even know where to look).

I agree, I don't think its higher income people moving out in some of these cases. I think we are seeing the affects of the disappearance of living wage factory work.

That is one of the myths, I suspect..that poor people are moving 'from the city'. Instead, I think people are becoming poorer in place. Note also it is the traditionally blue collar suburbs that are seeing larger %s in the disadvantaged.