Document Type

Master's Culminating Experience

Publication Date



This paper critically analyzes the relationship between the central city low income census tract and the economic vitality of the central city and the metropolitan statistical area. It attempts to provide an understanding of the impact of central city and metropolitan statistical area (MSA) economic activity on inner-city, poor census tracts. This study began by examining ninety-six low income census tracts in twenty-four of the fifty largest US cities. The variables examined included income levels, employment, and social variables (educational attainment, female-headed households, type of employment, percent of persons in poverty, percent of persons receiving federal public assistance dollars) in each of the tracts in 1980 and 1990. This study suggests that two primary factors determine whether a low-income census tract is positively affected by city, and metropolitan-wide growth. The first factor investigates the proximity of the low-income census tract to the central business district (CBD). The second factor investigates how tract level variables -- educational attainment or number of persons in poverty -- influence the economic activity of the census tract. The findings suggest that distance between the census tract and the central business district did not positively impact the welfare of the low-income census tract.