Low-income children by Council district

Among the interesting facts presented in a massive analysis of the state of child care in the city released earlier this year by Austin Public Health is a breakdown of low-income families with children. The authors of the report defined “low-income” as lower than 200% of the federal poverty level ($50,200/family of four). That would include a lot of families with a single parent who is working a low or middle-income job, as well as a lot of households with two parents working low-wage jobs.

First, for your reference, is a map of the Council districts:

Screen Shot 2018-12-31 at 3.25.55 PM

And now, thanks to my spouse, who excels at Excel, here are a couple charts illustrating the data. This first one just shows the approximate child population by district.

For starters, check out the differences in overall child population between districts (all districts had around 80,000 residents in 2010). Greg Casar’s District 4, which is also home to Austin’s largest non-English speaking population, has by far the most kids.

District 4 has nearly three times as many children as Kathie Tovo’s District 9, which includes downtown and a bunch of the most desirable Central Austin neighborhoods (Bouldin, Hyde Park, Heritage, Clarksville, Mueller, West Campus, UNO, Cherrywood). That is consistent with previous reporting about how little Central Austin’s population has grown compared to the rest of the city. ChildPopulationDistrict.png

Now check out the percentage of children in each district who are from low-income households.

Low-income children

Districts 1, 2, 3 and 4 –– all majority-minority –– are more than two-thirds low-income. West Austin’s District 10 and Southwest Austin’s District 8 have by far the lowest poverty rates. Districts 7 and 5 appear to be the most economically mixed.

I think that these numbers likely understate the extent of economic segregation in Austin. Council districts are large and designed somewhat arbitrarily.  I imagine that child poverty by neighborhood or census tract would show that children in Austin grow up separated by income even more than this chart suggests.

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