A Demographic Snapshot of Disconnected Low-Income Men. Some, but Not All, Low-Income Men Live in Central Cities


Where low-income men live within a metropolitan area—and, specifically, whether they live within or beyond a cen-tral city—may affect what services and resources may be available to them, or where jobs and schools are located. Also, whether the state has one or more major metropoli-tan areas with sizeable populations of low-income men may shape how resources are distributed. The living patterns of low-income men vary across the country.

Figure 3. Distribution of Low-Income Men in Central City versus Balance of Metropolitan Area, Top 10 Metropolitan Areas , 2008–10

Figure 3. Distribution of Low-Income Men in Central City versus Balance of Metropolitan Area, Top 10 Metropolitan Areas , 2008–10

Source: ASPE tabulations of the American Community Survey (2008–10).

Note: Low-income men are age 18–44, live in families with incomes below 200 percent of the federal poverty level, and do not have four-year college degrees.

In some states, low-income men are concentrated in a single metropolitan area. Almost all low-income men in New York State, for example, live in the New York City metropolitan area (90 percent). Similarly, 72 percent of Illinois’s lowincome men live in the Chicago metropolitan area.

In other states, such as Texas, California, and Florida, low-income men are spread across several metropolitan areas. Almost two-thirds (61 percent) of Texas’s low-income men live in Dallas, Houston, San Antonio, and Austin. In California, low-income men appear in large numbers in six metropolitan areas: Los Angeles, Riverside, Sacramento, San Francisco, San Diego, and San Jose. Similarly, low-incomemen in Florida are spread across the Miami, Tampa, Orlando, and Jacksonville metropolitan areas.

The share of low-income men living in or outside the central city varies as well. Looking across the top 10 metropolitan areas, three-quarters of low-income men in Phoenix live in the central city. The same is true for two-thirds of lowincome men in Los Angeles, New York, and Dallas. In contrast, almost all low-income men live outside the central city in the Atlanta metropolitan area (figure 3).

Nationally, the majority of low-income men live in metropolitan areas outside a central city. But patterns varyby race and ethnicity. Nearly 80 percent of white lowincome men live outside a major city, compared with over 70 percent of Hispanic low-income men and about 63 percent of African American low-income men.7 These national numbers disguise some variation across states. In New York, 65 percent of white low-income men live outside the central city, compared with only 20 percent of low-income African American men and 25 percent of low-income Hispanic men. In Florida, 93 percent of white, 90 percent of African American, and 96 percent of Hispanic low-income men live outside a central city.

Low-income men are concentrated in the central city in 29 of the 52 metropolitan areas with 50,000 or more lowincome men. However, in the remaining metropolitan areas, such as Atlanta, more than half of low-income men live outside the central city. These include the Pittsburgh metropolitan area, where 80 percent of low-income men live outside the central city, along with Orlando and St. Louis (78 percent) and Washington, DC (76 percent).


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