Case Studies Help Federal Reserve Better Understand Concentrated Poverty

Report includes Cleveland’s Central neighborhood and Martin County, Kentucky

Poverty knows no boundaries. It exists in large cities, smaller cities, immigrant gateways, suburban municipalities, and rural counties. A Federal Reserve report, "The Enduring Challenge of Concentrated Poverty: Case Studies from Communities Across the U.S.," looks at the varying social and economic contexts in 16 distressed communities. The findings will stimulate future efforts to better understand low-income communities and bring their issues to the forefront of policy discussions on poverty alleviation and community reinvestment.

Cleveland’s Central neighborhood and Martin County, Kentucky, are among the 16 areas examined in the report.

In the Central community, despite being served by a number of engaged and committed community development organizations, high poverty persists. Although employment opportunities exist nearby, job readiness and educational attainment levels are major challenges.

Residents in Martin County, located in a remote area of Eastern Kentucky, struggle with isolation, lack of educational attainment, and low labor force participation. Community involvement is limited in part by the mountainous topography and by residents’ feelings of frustration.

These are two seemingly different communities but, as with the other communities studied, common themes emerged:

For the case studies on Cleveland and Martin County, written by the Federal Reserve Bank of Cleveland, and the full report, click here.

The Federal Reserve Bank of Cleveland is one of 12 regional Reserve Banks that, along with the Board of Governors in Washington, D.C., comprise the Federal Reserve System. As the nation's central bank, the Federal Reserve System formulates U.S. monetary policy, supervises certain banks and all bank holding companies, and provides payment services to depository institutions and the U.S. government. Payment services include check clearing, electronic payments, and the distribution and processing of currency and coin.

The Federal Reserve Bank of Cleveland, including its branch offices in Cincinnati and Pittsburgh, serves the Fourth Federal Reserve District, which includes Ohio, western Pennsylvania, eastern Kentucky, and the northern panhandle of West Virginia.

For more information on the Federal Reserve Bank of Cleveland, go to