Worcester Business Journal: In Worcester County, Some Neighborhoods Were Already Facing Decline

Worcester Business Journal, September 28, In Worcester County, Some Neighborhoods Were Already Facing Decline 

The majority of Worcester neighbourhoods are facing the opposite of gentrification, which is disinvestment.

While the economy was growing into the longest economic expansion in the nation’s history, most Worcester County neighborhoods missed out – not only failing to capture rising income and attracting new residents but even going backward in many cases.

Looking at four key economic indicators of population growth, rising home values, increasing household income and residents with college degrees, 55 of the 170 Census tracts in Worcester County had decreases in three or all four categories, according to a Worcester Business Journal analysis of data from 2010 to 2017 compiled by the National Community Reinvestment Coalition, a Washington, D.C. economic research and advocacy group.

Beyond those years in which the nation’s economy was in a small but steady incline, the poorer areas of Worcester County appear to suffer worse in the coronavirus-related economic recession started in February, with Census tracts in places like Fitchburg and the city of Worcester having unemployment rates above 30%.

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Redlining and Neighborhood Health

Before the pandemic devastated minority communities, banks and government officials starved them of capital.

Lower-income and minority neighborhoods that were intentionally cut off from lending and investment decades ago today suffer not only from reduced wealth and greater poverty, but from lower life expectancy and higher prevalence of chronic diseases that are risk factors for poor outcomes from COVID-19, a new study shows.

The new study, from the National Community Reinvestment Coalition (NCRC) with researchers from the University of Wisconsin–Milwaukee Joseph J. Zilber School of Public Health and the University of Richmond’s Digital Scholarship Lab, compared 1930’s maps of government-sanctioned lending discrimination zones with current census and public health data.

Table of Content

  • Executive Summary
  • Introduction
  • Redlining, the HOLC Maps and Segregation
  • Segregation, Public Health and COVID-19
  • Methods
  • Results
  • Discussion
  • Conclusion and Policy Recommendations
  • Citations
  • Appendix

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