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Winston-Salem Poverty Thought Force Final Report

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POVERTY THOUGHT FORCE

POVERTY THOUGHT FORCE FINAL REPORT _________________________________________________________________________________________________ Estimated rates of food insecurity calculated by Feeding America are one way of getting an idea of the rate of food insecurity in counties and neighborhoods. Feeding America incorporates a variety of indicators when estimating food insecurity rates including unemployment rate, homeownership rate, and other potential predictors of food insecurity. 23 Figure 29 (above) shows the percent of the total population in each comparison community that lives within a neighborhood food desert. • In Forsyth County, 38% of its low income population lived in a food desert from 2010 through 2014. • From 2010 through 2014, 45% of low income children were living in a food desert. Figure 30 (below) shows the locations of Feeding America’s estimates of food insecurity rates in Forsyth County by census tract and food deserts. • Overall, an estimated 17% of Forsyth County residents experienced food insecurity at some point in 2014. • To be designated as a food desert, a census tract must be low income. 24 However, not all high poverty census tracts are food deserts. • Some areas with high estimated levels of food insecurity have multiple food assistance resources, while other areas, such as the neighborhoods south of 40 and east of 52, do not have as many. 12

POVERTY THOUGHT FORCE FINAL REPORT _________________________________________________________________________________________________ Conclusions Forsyth Futures has concluded that the following are among the risk factors and outcomes of poverty experienced by residents of Winston-Salem and Forsyth County. Research indicates significant disparities in local exposure to these risk factors and outcomes and that local residents are experiencing these risk factors and outcomes at rates similar to or greater than the peer city/county pairs identified by the study. 1. The poverty rate in Winston-Salem is higher than that of some comparable cities, and poverty and many of its risk factors and outcomes disproportionately affect women, children, and minorities. 2. Winston-Salem also has higher unemployment rates than the majority of its peer cities. 3. The incomes of the bottom 20%-40% (the second quintile) of households in Winston-Salem are lower than both of the peer cities with lower poverty rates, which could be contributing to the city’s higher poverty rates. The median household income for households headed by African- Americans and Hispanic and Latino residents are significantly lower than those headed by White residents, which could be contributing to higher poverty rates for those groups. Similarly the median income for families with children is significantly lower than households without children, which could be contributing to high child poverty rates in Forsyth County. 5. Approximately 15% of Forsyth County residents under age 65 did not have any health insurance in 2014, which could limit their access to health care and put them at financial risk in the event of serious illness. 6. Homeownership can be an important way of building financial assets, but there are significant racial disparities in homeownership. And, a higher percentage of renters experience housing cost burden than homeowners. 7. Despite some fluctuation over time, there has not been any statistically significant trend in the rate of homelessness from 1997 to 2015. Homelessness disproportionately impacts men, non-Hispanic/Latino residents, African- American residents, and veterans. 8. About 38% of poor Forsyth County residents live in a food desert neighborhood, and an estimated 17% of Forsyth County residents experienced food insecurity at some point in 2014. 4. Forsyth County residents with at least an associate’s degree have lower rates of poverty than those with lower levels of education, but there are significant racial disparities in educational attainment in Winston-Salem. However, these racial disparities cannot be completely explained by education as racial disparities in poverty outcomes persist across education levels, and the poverty rates for minority residents with a high school degree are higher than that of White, non-Hispanic residents with less than a high school degree. 13

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