Did a Strong Economy in the 1990s Affect Poverty in U.S. Metro Areas

Document Type



Published by Sage Publications in Economic Development Quarterly, volume 21 issue 4, 2007. Bryant users may access this article here.


poverty; business cycle; metropolitan area economics


Sage Publications

Publication Source

Economic Development Quarterly


This article considers whether the economic transformation in the United States during the 1990s included the reduction of poverty in metropolitan (metro) areas. The authors investigate poverty change over the last business cycle, a period of overall strong economic growth. Their analysis identifies evidence of both poverty reduction and persistence. Findings show a general decline in poverty, with decline greatest in the metro areas with the highest poverty rates at the beginning of the last business cycle. Yet the relatively strong economy did not move the metro areas with the highest poverty from their relative position. The article documents that the underlying factors affecting metro-area poverty will have to be changed to fundamentally address poverty in high-poverty-rate metro areas. Reliance on changes in the macro economy will not be sufficient.