Report: Race, marital status linked to poverty in Norfolk

Posted at 5:27 PM, Jul 08, 2014

Norfolk, Va. – This week, the City of Norfolk released a report aimed at identifying factors causing poverty and outlining solutions to decrease this trend.

Norfolk’s poverty rate is double that of the entire state and the city has the second highest poverty rate in the region. Williamsburg has the highest with 18.4%.

In this report, they’ve listed several factors that contribute to the city’s high rate of poverty and they include marital status and race.

Although the median income has increased from $31, 815 in 2000 to $43,108, too few people in the city share this growth.

The report makes a clear link between race and poverty. African Americans make up 48% of the city’s population and the rate of poverty among blacks is more than twice that of their white counterparts.

About 24.1% of the black population in the city is living in poverty which means about 23,238 people.

The report points to six specific neighborhoods in the city where concentrated poverty exists. These areas include Tidewater Gardens, Calvert Square, Diggs Town, Grandy Village, Oakleaf Forest and Young Terrace. In these neighborhoods, over 90 of the residents are African American.

This report also points out that those who are living in poverty are disproportionately young. Nearly one in four of Norfolk’s children experienced poverty in the last year.

They’ve also identified martial status as a factor. Similar to national trends, female-headed households have a 30.9% poverty rate compared to 16.4% of households where the male is the head and just 6.3% for married couples.

Last year, 34 citizens examined poverty in the city and came up with ways to decrease these numbers.

The report focuses on four areas to fix Norfolk’s poverty problem. They recommend supporting early childhood development and parents, improving the education and career pathways of young people, creating more opportunities for adults to thrive in the workforce and revitalizing neighborhoods.

To see the full report, click here.