[Update 11/6/11] Berkeley Patch has requested detailed information about the conclusions drawn in the Brookings report regarding poverty levels in the downtown Berkeley census tract. Click on "keep me posted!" below to receive email updates when the information becomes available.
Downtown Berkeley has one of the highest concentrations of people living below the poverty line in the Bay Area, according to a recent report. The federal poverty level is $10,890 annually for an individual and $22,350 per year for a family of four.
The Bay Area's five poorest areas are downtown Berkeley, uptown Oakland, Alameda Point, parts of West Oakland and San Francisco's Hunters Point, according to a report on the re-emergence of concentrated poverty from the Brookings Institution.
But the Bay Area has fewer concentrations of extreme poverty than it did a decade ago, and far less than many other metropolitan areas in the U.S. Metropolitan Philadelphia, for example, has 82 extremely poor census tracts. Phoenix has 34 and Detroit 123.
"Most cities have many more people living in very poor neighborhoods," Brookings researcher Alan Berube told the Contra Costa Times. "Very few of the poor in the Bay Area are exposed to conditions of extreme poverty."
Overall, average income in Berkeley has increased. In 1999, the median family income was $70,434 annually, which grew to 95,912 in 2009, according to the 2005-2009 American Community Survey. The income for non-family households has also increased, from a mean of $44,485 in 1999 to $87,723 in 2009.
Across the country, 10.5 percent of all poor people now live in an "extremely poor" neighborhood, according to the report, up from 9.1 percent in 2000, but down from the 14.1 percent rate in 1990.