Charting Poverty In Ferguson: Then And Now

Tyler Durden's picture

While there have been many socio-economic 'explanations and justifications' for the recent events in Ferguson, many of which have exceeded the realm of the factual and have brazenly encroached on feelings, emotions, heartstrings, and various other of the media's favorite manipulative mechanisms to achieve a desired outcome, the unpleasant reality is that much of what has transpired not only in the small 21,000-person St. Louis suburban community, but what is taking place across all of America has to do with a far simpler phenomenon: the rise of poverty and the destruction of America's middle class.

Here are some facts:

Ferguson has been home to dramatic economic changes in recent years. The city’s unemployment rate rose from less than 5 percent in 2000 to over 13 percent in 2010-12. For those residents who were employed, inflation-adjusted average earnings fell by one-third. The number of households using federal Housing Choice Vouchers climbed from roughly 300 in 2000 to more than 800 by the end of the decade.

Amid these changes, poverty skyrocketed. Between 2000 and 2010-2012, Ferguson’s poor population doubled. By the end of that period, roughly one in four residents lived below the federal poverty line ($23,492 for a family of four in 2012), and 44 percent fell below twice that level.

These changes affected neighborhoods throughout Ferguson. At the start of the 2000s, the five census tracts that fall within Ferguson’s border registered poverty rates ranging between 4 and 16 percent. However, by 2008-2012 almost all of Ferguson’s neighborhoods had poverty rates at or above the 20 percent threshold at which the negative effects of concentrated poverty begin to emerge. (One Ferguson tract had a poverty rate of 13.1 percent in 2008-2012, while the remaining tracts fell between 19.8 and 33.3 percent.)

Below are charts of Ferguson poverty in 2000 and 2012:

Then: Census Tract-Level Poverty Rates in St. Louis County, 2000


and Now: Census Tract-Level Poverty Rates in St. Louis County, 2008-2012

The biggest concern, however, is that Ferguson is merely the canary in the coalmine. According to Brookings, within the nation’s 100 largest metro areas, the number of suburban neighborhoods where more than 20 percent of residents live below the federal poverty line more than doubled between 2000 and 2008-2012. Almost every major metro area saw suburban poverty not only grow during the 2000s but also become more concentrated in high-poverty neighborhoods. By 2008-2012, 38 percent of poor residents in the suburbs lived in neighborhoods with poverty rates of 20 percent or higher. For poor black residents in those communities, the figure was 53 percent.

Like Ferguson, many of these changing suburban communities are home to out-of-step power structures, where the leadership class, including the police force, does not reflect the rapid demographic changes that have reshaped these places.


Suburban areas with growing poverty are also frequently characterized by many small, fragmented municipalities; Ferguson is just one of 91 jurisdictions in St. Louis County. This often translates into inadequate resources and capacity to respond to growing needs and can complicate efforts to connect residents with economic opportunities that offer a path out of poverty.


And as concentrated poverty climbs in communities like Ferguson, they find themselves especially ill-equipped to deal with impacts such as poorer education and health outcomes, and higher crime rates. In an article for Salon, Brittney Cooper writes about the outpouring of anger from the community, “Violence is the effect, not the cause of the concentrated poverty that locks that many poor people up together with no conceivable way out and no productive way to channel their rage at having an existence that is adjacent to the American dream.”

We have warned all along that the Fed's disastrous policies are splitting the nation in two, creating a tiny superclass of uber-wealthy oligrachs, and a vast majority of disgruntled, disenfranchised poor. It is the latter, whose life of squalor and poverty, has left them with little if anything to lose. Unless dramatic and rapid changes take place within the executive levels of the US corporato-banking oligrachy and its D.C. puppets, very soon "Ferguson-type" occurences, where participatnts could care less if the S&P 500 closed at a fresh all time record high,  will become a daily, and very deadly, occurence. All thanks to the Fed's dual mandate of "maximum employment and stable inflation."

* * *

And as a tangent, we must say that we find the fact that none other than former Fed chairman Ben Bernanke is now a Distinguished Fellow in Residence with the Economic Studies Program at the Brookings Institution, the source of most of the above data, to be ironic beyond words.

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SandiaMan's picture

How many cops compared to then and now

dryam's picture

Hmmm, how about a direct eye witness account immediately after the actual shooting on video/audio.....

dryam's picture

Got the link from DrudgeReport.

Sophist Economicus's picture

But, but, but, he was JUST a kid!!!! loLz

kaiserhoff's picture

Poverty does not correlate to crime.  Welfare correlates to crime. 

If fat, illiterate hoochie mommas who don't care who da baby daddy be, could raise decent children, there would be some evidence of that.

Phase out welfare and bring back parental responsibility, or just nuke the morbid shit.

Dingleberry's picture



If poverty=crime, the Appalachia area would make Iraq, Chicago and Detroit look like Mayberry. The Mississippi Delta too.

That place is (literally) dirt poor.


No one can explain the utter violence in the Black community, adjusting for poverty. No other group is anywhere close. It is insane.

Alz's picture

The crime in the inner cities is actually very easy to explain. The left's dependency programs create poverty and destroy the social fabric. What do you get after 50+ years and hundreds of billions?  Father-free zones, poverty, violence, etc.  Oh, and 70 to 90% of the people voting for their captors - liberals/Democrats.  It's been going on for these 50 years and about all we can say about the results of these liberal ideas put into action is that there is a lot of hopelessness, despair and death.  Like others have said, there are many poor areas and there isn't the violence, but the liberals purposely keep these people down. And when anyone says anything, they are attacked.  Think of Chicago, Detroit, St. Louis, etc. See, it's easy to explain.

Nick Jihad's picture

You forgot to mention high business taxes that drive away employers. These are especially popular with urban politicians.

Davalicious's picture

I would like to see how the number of whites vs blacks in the area correlates to crime. If blacks are more criminal crime rates will rise if whites leave and/or black numbers increase.

I expect that crime rates increaseased as the area was "detroited", with tax paying white citizens running away while blacks take over and bring the area to ruin. Once they go black, they never come back.

We are turning the clock back on black evolution with welfare. As a race they are following the wrong evolutionary signals. Of course the Jew, who gained through the civil rights movement they created, is the one who wins here. In the chaos they create their hyper racism will take them to the top.

Buckaroo Banzai's picture

"I'll have these niggers voting Democrat for the next hundred years!" -- Lyndon Baines Johnson

logicalman's picture

Wealth correlates very nicely with criminality - See Banksters.

It would also appear that your IQ correlates nicely with room temperature (I'm talking Celsius here, by the way)


Dingleberry's picture

It would also appear that your avatar correlates nicely to your dick size.

(I'm talking centimeters here, by the way).

logicalman's picture

I think you just backed up my comment regarding IQ.

Nice one!

Dingleberry's picture


Send hubby my regards....:)

kaiserhoff's picture

FUCK YOU Bath House, and the Hoe you rode in on.

NuckingFuts's picture

I am very familiar with the St. Louis area and a few posts ago I mentioned this: Ferguson is one of the better communities in that area and I mentioned a lack of opportunity. I got dumped with junk by those who blame this whole thing on race.. Race is a huge part of it, but when there were middle class blacks there (which there were). And now you have more poverty and unemployment. The color of their skin ain't the only factor going on here.

logicalman's picture

Race and religioin - the two most reliable divide and conquer techniques known to man.

Wake the fuck up, people.

Nick Jihad's picture

Unfortunately, it doesn't take much to start a self-reinforcing cycle of disinvestement -> joblessness -> crime & violence -> more disinvestment.

Rhetorical's picture

As far as inner city goes maybe. Fergusan is certainly better then jennings and riverview and bellefountaine etc. (I assume your not counting balwin clayton and the richer areas of southwestern stl) I lived in U city 1 block south of the loop up on the NW corner of the Forest Park until 2 weeks ago so my house was removed but pretty fairly close to this. But by and large fergusan is still a shit hole no offense intended. I grew up in madison/venice, nice people live in these areas for certain but theyre still shitholes.

Ben Ghazi's picture

Mike was such a nice boy to go to the store to buy cigars for those old homeless veterans.

Harbanger's picture

War on Poverty Bitchez!  Fuck a unicorn save a community.

zerozulu's picture

McDonald's near my home (long Island, NY ) most of the workers are Latinos or black. Occasionally a white girl gets hired and within a few ( 2 to 3 ) days a white customer offer her better job and she leaves McDonald's.

nmewn's picture

Someone like Robert Reich no doubt.

max2205's picture

I bet Furgeson city budget is up 50% in 8 years. ... pension outlays and property taxes have doubled


What a gig

CheapBastard's picture

"if I had a neighborhood, it would look like that neighborhood."

Ben Ghazi's picture

"We impoverished some folks."

tempo's picture

Unions, Ferguson white pensioner retire at 20 years w $80000+ annual plus free full health care for life thanks to liberal democratic unions (just a guess) So does Jesse and Al really care about poor blacks or rich unions??

Pure Evil's picture

They care about them until their pockets are full of filthy lucre and then its off to the next race hustle.


I swear, the Rev. Al Sharpton looks like he's got the wasting disease. Probably picked it up from some Harlem ho.

tempo's picture

95% of the Ferguson union members are white and live elsewhere (guessing, maybe 100%)

Ben Ghazi's picture

9 out of 10 niggers prefer Swisher Sweets Cigars.

Silenus's picture

Too many blacks. They're creatures of the jungle.

BlackMagician's picture

Too many whites that would rather blame blacks for all the ills of this country but blantantly dismiss the massive investmentst into decades of war...offshoring jobs to China...bail out of banks but not the middle payer funds going to BIG OIL even when they constanly have earth shattering investments in the education system...wall street gaining more power and profits...jail for purse snatchers but not million dollar theives...I could go on and on...but alas it is those illiterate powerless black know the ones with all that power... /rant off...

cossack55's picture

uh.....I think you meant malinvestment.

Get ahead of the game, hate the species.  Nothin' better than the easy life of a misanthrope.

Harbanger's picture

Liberals are the most racist fuckers around.  That's why the guilt and false hope.

Atomizer's picture

Indeed, that's why I enjoy tossing back their own rhetoric and watch them come unglued. Winks 

Harbanger's picture

I'm very good at turning the table against my enemies and fucking them with their own.   Not by posting shit on a blog, in real life.  But Revenge is the Lords, so I struggle with this, seeing the world crumbling around me.

FredFlintstone's picture

Get rid of the whites and get this country back on track, is that what you are suggesting?

One And Only's picture

That experiment was tried in Rhodesia. 

ZerOhead's picture

And they went on to find the cure for deflation...

Harbanger's picture

Please explain what the experiment was.  I see it as colonialism.

Pure Evil's picture

The experiment was to kill all the white farmers or push them off their lands and turn them over to inexperienced party hacks of the elites.

Harbanger's picture

No. That was the result of a failed "experiment".  Does anyone know what the experiment of Rhodesia was, or if there ever was one?

Harbanger's picture

Who gives a shit what he says, fact remains Europeans are pretty good at fucking things up for themselves as we can see by the looming fall of western culture.

Canucklehead's picture

Why do you have to rant about needing more free stuff? Others have built vibrant societies and civilizations with a fraction of the resources at your fingertips.

Get Real!