More people believed general economic conditions in low- and moderate-income (LMI) communities were declining than improving, according to the latest Community Development Outlook Survey.
The annual survey, produced by the St. Louis Fed’s community development department, aims to capture trends and outlooks affecting LMI communities in the Eighth Federal Reserve District.1 Participating in the survey were stakeholders from areas such as community and economic development organizations, financial institutions, and nonprofits.
Survey participants were asked to compare the general economic conditions of the areas they serve to one year prior. The majority of respondents (61.5 percent) said that conditions were staying the same, while 20.9 percent said they were declining, and 17.6 percent said they were improving.
Participants were also asked about the well-being of LMI individuals and their ability to meet basic needs. As with the question on general economic conditions, most respondents (62.1 percent) said things were staying the same.
However, 25.7 percent said that well-being and ability to meet needs were declining, compared with only 12.2 percent saying they were improving. The report noted that a lower percentage of respondents the previous year (17.2 percent) said well-being and ability to meet needs was declining.
Still, 37.8 percent of survey respondents said they expected the status of LMI people and households to be better in three to five years, while only 20.6 percent expected their status to be worse. The remainder said things should remain about the same.
Participants were asked about the greatest negative impact on LMI households and communities. Their responses are in the table below.
The report noted that this was the second year in a row that generational poverty was the top issue. It also noted that the percentage of people who said availability of affordable housing was the top issue more than doubled, going from 7.9 percent in 2015 to 16.2 percent in 2016.
1 The survey was sent to community stakeholders in the seven states that comprise the Eighth District, which are Arkansas, Illinois, Indiana, Kentucky, Mississippi, Missouri and Tennessee.