The geographic distribution of HUD-assisted households in Memphis has changed dramatically over the last 15 years. Since the 1990s, Memphis has redeveloped five properties with HOPE VI grants; the city now has only one remaining traditional family public housing development (Foote Homes). Like other large city housing authorities, the Memphis Housing Authority (MHA) now relies heavily on vouchers and assisted households are dispersed throughout the city. However, most MHA housing choice voucher (HCV) recipients still live in very poor and predominantly African American neighborhoods.
By population, Memphis is a large city, with 646,889 residents as of the 2010 census. It also has an unusually large geographical footprint (315 square miles) and low population density for a city of its size (2,053.3 persons per square mile). Memphis residents have become more geographically dispersed in recent decades as the city has incorporated surrounding areas, though the total population has changed little since the 1960s. Memphis' increased size presents a challenge for service delivery because of high poverty and need and the extremely limited public transportation system.
Unemployment in Memphis is high; the 2011 American Community Survey showed unemployment among those over 16 years old and in the labor force was at 14.5 percent, compared to 10.6 percent in Tennessee and 10.3 nationally. Memphis also has a high poverty rate; approximately 22.6 percent of families living or having recently lived below the poverty level in 2010, compared to 13.7 statewide and 11.7 percent nationwide. Child poverty is extremely high in Memphis, with 42.1 percent of all Memphis children living in households in poverty, compared to 26.3 percent statewide and 22.5 percent nationwide.
The majority of Memphis residents are African American. In 2011, an estimated 62.4 percent of residents were African American/black and 29.6 percent were Caucasian/white. Just over 7 percent were Hispanic/Latino (only 4.0 percent of Latinos/Hispanics are African American/black while 34.2 percent are Caucasian/white).
Maps 1 and 2 in appendix B respectively illustrate the geographic dispersion of poverty level and the percentage of residents who are African American/black (non-Hispanic) by census tract.
"Memphis Final Brief.pdf" (pdf, 717.21Kb)
"Appendix A-Focus Group Materials.pdf" (pdf, 174.61Kb)
"Appendix B-Maps.pdf" (pdf, 3.81Mb)