To assist communities in identifying racially/ethnically-concentrated areas of poverty (R/ECAPs), HUD has developed a census tract-based definition of R/ECAPs. The definition involves a racial/ethnic concentration threshold and a poverty test. The racial/ethnic concentration threshold is straightforward: R/ECAPs must have a non-white population of 50 percent or more. Regarding the poverty threshold, Wilson (1980) defines neighborhoods of extreme poverty as census tracts with 40 percent or more of individuals living at or below the poverty line. Because overall poverty levels are substantially lower in many parts of the country, HUD supplements this with an alternate criterion. Thus, a neighborhood can be a R/ECAP if it has a poverty rate that exceeds 40% or is three or more times the average tract poverty rate for the metropolitan/micropolitan area, whichever threshold is lower. Census tracts with this extreme poverty that satisfy the racial/ethnic concentration threshold are deemed R/ECAPs. This translates into the following equation: Where i represents census tracts is the metropolitan/micropolitan (CBSA) mean tract poverty rate, PovRate is the ith tract poverty rate is the non-Hispanic white population in tract i, and Pop is the population in tract i.While this definition of R/ECAP works well for tracts in CBSAs, place outside of these geographies are unlikely to have racial or ethnic concentrations as high as 50 percent. In these areas, the racial/ethnic concentration threshold is set at 20 percent. Data Source: Decennial census (2010); American Community Survey (ACS), 2006-2010; Brown Longitudinal Tract Database (LTDB) based on decennial census data, 2000 & 1990 References: Wilson, William J. (1980). The Declining Significance of Race: Blacks and Changing American Institutions. Chicago: University of Chicago Press.   Data Current As of: 06/15/2015

Dataset Attributes

  • Census Tract ID
  • Racially/Ethnically Concentrated Area of Poverty 2010
  • Racially/Ethnically Concentrated Area of Poverty 2000
  • Racially/Ethnically Concentrated Area of Poverty 1990

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