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Abstract. This analysis seeks to understand the socioeconomic correlates of the poverty U-turn across time periods and geographic scales. Demographic and economic factors affecting pov- erty and its change from 1980-2010 are analyzed using spatial regressions across block-groups, census tracts, and counties in the North Central Region – West. Meso-level aggregations tend to undercount poor persons and places. Demographic effects on poverty are stable across geographic scale and time, but economic effects vary considerably. Single-headed families, high school non-completers, minorities, and college students are associated with higher local poverty. Industrial and agricultural employment is associated with better poverty outcomes in 1980, but in 2000 it results in worse outcomes or no effect. Lower-skilled services employ- ment in 2000 is linked to higher poverty, but it has no effect in 1980. Higher-skilled services jobs has no effect on poverty in 2000 but a beneficial effect in 1980. Results suggest the poverty U-turn is only partially driven by economic restructuring in the region.


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