Stuck in Place: Discussing Concentrated Poverty

Encore: May 06, 2015

Anchor Jack Ford talks to New York University associate professor Patrick Sharkey about concentrated poverty and race. Sharkey is the author of Stuck in Place: Urban Neighborhoods and the End of Progress Toward Racial Equality, which looks at the multi-generational nature of urban inequality.


Sharkey explains that when poverty is concentrated in a single place, the challenges go well beyond simply individuals being poor; it can affect generation after generation and underscore the racial divide.

Sharkey says there have been significant increases in concentrated poverty across the country over the last 40 years. “It’s kind of this hidden dimension of inequality, because we so often think about inequality at the individual level, in terms of what my income is, what your income is. But it’s also occurring at the spatial level,” he explains.

Sharkey also points to possible solutions and programs such as the Harlem Children’s Zone in New York City that aims to end child poverty.

“What I argue in the book is that we know what works, we have models out there. It’s really been about the political commitment – sustaining that political commitment to make every community receive the same amount of investment, the same quality of resources, institutions, really building up neighborhood institutions,” Sharkey says.

Watch the full interview above, and follow up on more reporting on concentrated poverty from PBS NewsHour Weekend and NJTV News at


Chasing the Dream: Poverty and Opportunity in America is a multi-platform public media initiative that provides a deeper understanding of the impact of poverty on American society. Major funding for this initiative is provided by The JPB Foundation. Additional funding is provided by Ford Foundation.

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