Metropolitan Conditions and Trends: Changing Contexts for a Community Initiative
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This report reviews recent trends for social and economic conditions in the 10 metropolitan areas that form the context for the neighborhood programs being implemented as a part of the Annie E. Casey Foundation’s Making Connections (MC) initiative. It finds that the sites are strikingly diverse along many dimensions and in are many ways representative of the diversity in conditions and trends across America’s metropolitan areas. In almost all cases, these areas’ economies followed the pattern of the nation over the past decade—booming in the late 1990s, declining over the first two years of this decade, and then partially recovering through 2007. But there were stark contrasts. Since 2002, for example, two MC metros attained among the nation’s highest rates of employment growth (Denver and Seattle) while two others experienced serious declines (Oakland and Milwaukee). Although there were important differences in magnitudes, all sites shared in a number of trends: minority groups growing as a share of total population and improvements in several social indicators (e.g., in crime and teen pregnancy) but, disturbingly, notable increases in child poverty. Through 2006, all 10 metros had also witnessed major increases in housing prices but again, differences were marked. Ratios of home prices to income were very high by U.S. standards in Oakland, Seattle, Denver, and Providence but below average in the other six sites.