In the United States, there are roughly 400 persistent poverty counties, defined as areas where 20 percent or more of the population has been living below the poverty line for the last 30 years. Communities reflecting the diversity of our nation, such as Appalachia in Kentucky and West Virginia, Indigenous Americans in South Dakota and Alaska, Latinos in Arizona and New Mexico, and African Americans in Mississippi and South Carolina, are mired in persistent poverty and lack access to quality schools, affordable quality health care, and adequate job opportunities.
Mitigating the historical, social, and environmental factors that make these diverse communities more vulnerable to intergenerational poverty is essential. To achieve this objective, the federal government must ensure high-poverty urban, rural, and Tribal communities receive their fair share of federal resources. With this in mind, Congressman Clyburn created the 10-20-30 persistent poverty formula, requiring that a minimum of 10 percent of federal funds in designated programs be spent in persistent poverty counties.
As a result of Congressman Clyburn’s advocacy, the 10-20-30 formula was included in sweeping legislation, such as the 2009 American Recovery and Reinvestment Act and omnibus appropriations laws for the past several years. In the 117th Congress, the Clyburn introduced bipartisan, bicameral Targeting Resources to Communities in Need Act passed, which increases the share of federal investments targeted to areas of persistent poverty by developing and implementing measures through the Office of Management and Budget.