Underlying Factor 1: Underlying Poverty & Economic Inequality
In most of the school districts in this study where Black students and their families live and attend schools, the overwhelming majority are significantly impacted by poverty and housing instability. For example, in 10 out of 14 school districts where Black students attend school and their surrounding neighborhoods, more than 40% of these families live two times below the federal poverty line (see Figure 1.1).
The effects of poverty are also reflected in the proportion of families negatively impacted by housing insecurity. For example, a majority of the 14 school districts have more than 40% of families who are classified as low income who are also significantly impacted and burdened with housing instability (see Figure 1.2).
The economic challenges encountered by a large number of Black families across Los Angeles County begin to explain how concentrated poverty shapes the lived experiences of Black families outside of school, speaking to the holistic support needed to address the academic disparities documented in this report. The economic burdens faced by many families has resulted in significant mobility across and out of Los Angeles County as many have searched for more economically viable living situations. Perhaps no other group has been more acutely affected by this reality than Black families as noted by the data in the following section on declining and shifting enrollment across Los Angeles County (see Figure 1.3).