September 13, 2022 / Basic Needs, Economics, Policy, Workforce

Unprecedented decline in child poverty rates attributed to government safety net programsImage

A new report from Child Trends (also covered in the New York Times) evaluates the biggest factors contributing to the unprecedented 30-year trend of decreasing child poverty. Key findings point to governmental safety net programs as key drivers.

Further, the US Census Bureau released pandemic-era child poverty estimates (through 2021) this week, saying “the new data show the significant impact the expansion of anti-poverty programs during the COVID-19 pandemic had on reducing child poverty.”

Additional recent studies, including from our partners at DataHaven in Connecticut found that food scarcity and child poverty rose after safety net programs ended.

What does that mean for social sector leaders?

First, the scale of government interventions offer opportunities to have the greatest impact. But blanket policies will always leave some households falling through cracks: immigrants, mixed-status and undocumented households, families that are newly navigating human services, digitally disconnected, underemployed, housing burdened, and others. Our role then, is (1) advocate for expanded policies and educate officials of the impact; and (2) find and directly serve the families that are left behind.

Second, the new philanthropic role of counties and cities distributing ARPA funds offers an opportunity, and maybe a model, to (1) build relationships with elected officials and (2) provide guidance in funding and programming decisions that have systemic impacts.

August 7, 2022 / Early Childhood, Economics, Equity

Childhood friendships across economic classes key to upward mobilityImage

In new research from Raj Chetty’s team at Opportunity Insights (published in two parts in Nature and summarized in NYT), a massive analysis of economic and social networks found that exposure to and friendships among people of different social classes is one of the strongest predictors of upward mobility.

The study found that lower socio-economic groups make connections in their home neighborhood and at religious institutions, while higher SES groups tend to make their bridging connections in college. This research builds on their prior economic mobility analysis and development of the Opportunity Atlas.

So what do we do with this information?

Programs, services, policies, and investments that facilitate interactions across diverse economic groups will likely have lasting impacts. Policy level solutions might include inclusive housing and planning decisions. At a more local level, effort might be made to reduce in-school student segregation. Programmatically, even experiential programs outside of participants’ own neighborhood may have an impact.

July 10, 2022 / General

Debt disparities contribute to the racial wealth gapImage

Through June 2022, an Urban Institute analysis found significant racial and geographic disparities in debt—a factor that contributes to the wealth gap. According to the data, debt and the racial gap are higher in Georgia than the national average. The disparity is significantly higher in several Metro Atlanta counties.

 

June 17, 2022 / Workforce

Three rural Georgia counties lead the nation in job postings growth.Image

Emsi Burning Glass recently released a report analyzing the shifting trends in rural and urban job postings. They found:

  • 3 of the top 10 counties in the nation with the highest growth in job postings were in Georgia. Madison, Putnam, and Franklin Counties ranked 2nd, 4th, and 5th, respectively.
  • 90% of the top 50 counties with the highest growth in job postings were rural.
  • Rural jobs have experienced major growth in high-tech skills.
  • Remote work has allowed for traditionally urban opportunities to move outside of urban areas.
  • Job growth in rural areas has supported wage growth.
May 11, 2022 / Basic Needs, Food, Inflation

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Both the pandemic and higher prices have increased reliance on nonprofits. The Atlanta Community Food Bank’s (ACFB) President and CEO Kyle Waide said, “The current challenges that we’re all experiencing with higher prices, for gas, for food, for supplies, are causing demand for food assistance to increase and it’s making it more expensive and more challenging for the food bank to respond to that demand.” With high inflation and increasing demand for their services, ACFB’s food costs are 30% higher this year than last year.

December 8, 2021 / Eviction, Housing

Contrary to fears of a massive surge in evictions after the CDC Eviction Moratorium ended in August, recent data show evictions in the past three months are still lower than pre-pandemic levels.Image

A recent Eviction Lab analysis monitoring more than 30 cities across the country found that eviction filings increased after the CDC moratorium ended in August but remained lower than pre-pandemic levels. Atlanta was not one of the cities included in the Eviction Lab analysis, but data from the Atlanta Regional Commission’s Atlanta Region Eviction Tracker show that Atlanta also followed this trend. The five core metro Atlanta counties averaged 7,500 evictions during the moratorium compared to 10,000, on average, in the three months since the moratorium ended. Comparatively, there were around 13,000 evictions during the same time span in 2019. Eviction tracking data might not tell the whole story, though. Eviction trackers can only monitor cases filed in court. Displacement due to lease expiration, illegal evictions, or other informal methods may have become more common since the start of the moratorium, especially for undocumented individuals who wish to remain out of the court system. 

Takeaway: Emergency rental assistance and awareness efforts should target renters vulnerable to informal evictions.

November 18, 2021 / Education, Equity, Postsecondary

A new Learn4Life report found that 1,100 fewer students in metro Atlanta completed FAFSA applications during the pandemic with high-poverty schools seeing the biggest drop in completions.Image

Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA) completion has decreased by 4% during the past year. The pandemic has likely contributed to this decrease since students have had limited social support from peers and school staff to help them navigate the complex financial aid process. The drop in completions was especially pronounced in high-poverty schools which completed 27% less applications than other schools. FAFSA completion increases postsecondary enrollment from 55% to 90% and increases postsecondary persistence by 4% per $1000 in financial aid. Low-income students are disproportionately missing out on these benefits (Learn4Life).

Takeaway: Building capacity and opportunities for postsecondary enrollment and financial aid support should be prioritized in economically disadvantaged schools.

October 12, 2021 / Equity, Housing

As Atlanta rents rises dramatically, the uneven burden affects Black and Hispanic renters the mostImage

“Rents have risen dramatically in 2021 in metro Atlanta and Black households are spending the largest portion of their income on rent in comparison to other races. According to a new analysis by Zillow, rent affordability for all renters in metro Atlanta is 29.2%, which is almost a full percentage point over 28.4% in 2019. The average rent is $1,827 as of August, which is up 20.4% year over year and up 3% month over month. Black households in the Atlanta area are spending 31.4% of their income on rent. In comparison, Latinx are paying 30%; whites are paying 27.2%; and Asians are paying 23.1%.” (CBS46, Zillow)

Takeaway: Emergency rental assistance programs and funding should prioritize Black and Hispanic communities