Some of the top financial minds in the country are taking a keen interest in one of the poorest areas of North Texas.
The Vice Chairman of the Federal Reserve, Richard Clarida, joined the first-ever "Fed Listens" tour in the Dallas region on Monday. The tour is an effort "to better understand how the nation’s monetary policy impacts people in local communities," according to a news release from the Federal Reserve Bank of Dallas.
As part of this effort, 12 reserve banks will host a series of "Fed Listens" events in 2019 to hear from "a wide range of stakeholders about economic conditions across the country," the news release noted.
The Dallas tour took Clarida, as well as Dallas Fed President Robert Kaplan, through three mostly impoverished zip codes in southern Dallas: 75210, 75215 and 75216.
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Ninety-six percent of the population in those three zip codes is either Black or Hispanic, according to detailed information gathered between 2013 and 2017 and then provided by the Federal Reserve Bank of Dallas.
The unemployment rate in those three zip codes is approximately 10 percent, compared to a 5.9 percent unemployment rate in the rest of Dallas County over the same five-year time period. Seventy-seven percent of the households in those zip codes earn less $50,000 a year. Nearly half of the households with children live in poverty. Each of those figures is approximately double the rate of the rest of Dallas County, and the State of Texas.
"What we want to do is draw attention that prosperity in this country may not be equally spread. We would like to see more inclusive prosperity, and I think going into areas like this shows us there is still a lot of work to be done," Kaplan said.
The tour also highlighted successful efforts in the community, including stops at the headquarters for CitySquare and the St. Philip’s School and Community Center.
CitySquare is a nonprofit that has been working to combat the effects of poverty in southern Dallas for the past three decades.
In addition to being a successful school, St. Philip’s also runs a food pantry and a medical clinic, in addition to providing other social services for the neighborhood.