Assessing the Spatial Concentration and Temporal Persistence of Poverty: Industrial Structure, Racial/Ethnic Composition, and the Complex Links to Poverty

Curtis, Katherine, Perla E. Reyes, and Heather O’Connell
Working paper no. 2012-06


This study assesses the social-structural, spatial, and temporal dimensions of aggregate-level poverty in the US Upper Midwest between 1960 and 2000. Central focus is on the links between local-area poverty, industrial structure and racial/ethnic composition, and the spatial and temporal dimensions of the linkages. During the study period, the region underwent significant industrial restructuring and dramatic change in racial/ethnic concentration. Using newly developed statistical methods for spatial-temporal regression, we explore hypotheses related to the spatial and temporal dimensions of the complex relationship between poverty, industrial structure, and race/ethnicity. Our approach yields reliable and interpretable estimates for structural factors of interest as well as the spatial-temporal autocorrelation structure underlying the data. Results inform theory about the implications of industrial structure and racial/ethnic composition for the concentration and persistence of poverty and provide clear direction for future research.