Across the Great Divide: People, Places and Poverty in the Northwest Area Foundation's Region

Across the Great Divide: People, Places and Poverty in the Northwest Area Foundation's Region

A new report from the Northwest Area Foundation finds that while northwestern states experienced faster population and employment growth in the 1990s than the nation as a whole, that growth did not necessarily result in new prosperity for the region. Across the Great Divide: People, Places and Poverty in the Northwest Area Foundation's Region (24 pages, PDF) analyzes the 2000 U.S. census data in the eight-state region that includes Washington, Oregon, Idaho, Montana, the Dakotas, Iowa, and Minnesota and finds that most of the region's growth occurred in a handful of urban areas and the western part of the region. In addition, real wages were lower than the national average in all the region's states except Washington, and poverty rates in counties within or near Native American Indian reservations remained high. The most troubling aspect of the findings, however, is that they predate the current economic slowdown, which has caused high unemployment rates in formerly booming states such as Oregon and Washington.