Fed Chairman Comments on Struggle of Low-Income Communities

In statements made at a Federal Reserve System conference on community development, Federal Reserve Chairman Ben Bernanke noted that while the U.S. economy as a whole appeared to be improving, low-income communities hit hardest by the recession continue to struggle and require multipronged strategies to recover.

He cited an example of analysis by Federal Reserve staff that reveals how long-vacant housing units tend to be concentrated in a small number of neighborhoods that also tend to have high unemployment rates, low educational levels, and low median incomes. According to Bernanke, this analysis and others like it illustrate the close interconnections of housing conditions, educational levels, and unemployment experienced within neighborhoods. Therefore, he believes successful strategies to rebuild communities cannot focus narrowly on a single problem, such as the physical deterioration of neighborhoods that suffered high rates of foreclosure. Rather, progress will require multipronged approaches that address housing, education, jobs, and quality-of-life issues in a coherent, mutually consistent way, he said.



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