Targeting Federal Funding to Areas Experiencing Significant Poverty
GAO-20-518, July 16, 2020
Areas with high poverty face systemic problems that can lead to things like higher
levels of school dropouts. To help, some federal agencies have been required to direct at least 10% of program funds
to counties with poverty rates of at least 20% over the last 30 years (persistent-poverty counties).
These counties are predominantly rural and mostly located in the south.
Legislation proposed in 2019 would apply this requirement to more agencies and programs over the next 10 years, and
also direct additional funds to high-poverty census tracts (those with poverty rates of at least 20%
over the past 5 years). Doing so could help direct federal funds to more urban areas and more areas of the
So, which areas of the country could receive these funds if this legislation is approved?
The blue areas on the map show the persistent-poverty counties in the United States.
Click on the first checkbox in the legend to also show the high-poverty census tracts that are included in the proposed legislation.
You can also hover on a specific census tract or county to see its 2017 poverty rate.