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Report: Poverty Rate Increases In Hartford Suburbs

MARA LEE

January 21, 2010

The percentage of people living in poverty in the towns outside Hartford grew far more quickly than the city's poverty rate from 2000 to 2008, according to a Brookings Institution report released Wednesday.

In the Hartford metro area, almost two-thirds of the poor lived outside the city limits in both years.

About 17,500 more people in the region were below the poverty line in 2008 compared with 2000. Most of that, a gain of more than 16,000 people, was outside Hartford, where poverty grew by 29 percent.

The report analyzed census data from 2000 and 2008.

Denise Dionizio, director of child care for the YWCA, sees that pattern at the Y's centers. The organization runs a day-care center in West Hartford and in East Hartford, each with about 50 kids. In East Hartford, 75 percent have their bill subsidized by Care 4 Kids, a state program that helps low- and moderate-income families. In West Hartford, half are covered by the subsidies.

The state had a partial freeze on new applications for subsidies from May to December, and also cut higher-earning families off the rolls. At the East Hartford and West Hartford centers, seven families lost their subsidies, and 12 families who wanted to enroll weren't able to get subsidies because of the freeze.

Dionizio said of the families on the waiting list: "We couldn't even begin to touch that need."

Even though Hartford's poverty has grown slowly in eight years by just 4 percent a third of all residents live below the poverty line.

The YWCA day care in Hartford, which fluctuates between 45 and 50 kids, generally has only one child who's not covered by the subsidy.

Hartford and Youngstown, Ohio, are tied for the highest proportion of residents in poverty within the city limits, 33.5 percent. Hartford is poorer than Cleveland and Detroit, in part because its small city limits do not include many wealthier neighborhoods.

But Greater Hartford is more prosperous than any of those Midwestern cities, which have been decimated by the decline in steelmaking and auto factories. Where fewer than 7 percent of residents outside Hartford are poor, in Cleveland's and Detroit's suburbs, it's more than 9 percent.

Reprinted with permission of the Hartford Courant. To view other stories on this topic, search the Hartford Courant Archives at http://www.courant.com/archives.
| Last update: September 25, 2012 |
     
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