Want to know the poverty rate of your hometown?
What first comes to mind for many people when they think of poverty are inner-city neighborhoods: Chicago’s Englewood, New York’s West Bronx, South Los Angeles. These places get associated with desolate buildings and people living under the poverty line who struggle daily to keep afloat.
But what if I told you that you can find out the current percentage of people living under the poverty line in your hometown? This interactive map from the New York Times using data from the Census Bureau pinpoints these numbers.
From the map, I discovered that 16.1 percent of people in my hometown live under the poverty threshold. Although 16.1 percent seems small in comparison to the 47.5 percent of Chicago’s Englewood, it means that 16 out of 100 of my neighbors struggle.
This map is a great tool for becoming aware of the situation in all nooks and crannies of the United States. But we must be cautious when we classify people living in poverty with numbers and percentages. They are not simply statistics; they are our neighbors, our friends, the people we stand behind in line at the grocery store. Maps such as this only begin the conversation and bring it close to home. When we remember that poverty is everywhere—not just in the neighborhoods that get talked about on the news—then we can start changing problem that plagues the entire nation.