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Urban Poverty in Las Vegas

            A city of bright lights and fast lifestyles ¬ ¬--that is inevitably the first thought that comes to mind when describing Las Vegas. It is the city of glitz and glam; where every dream becomes a reality. This notion of decadence and great wealth is the idealistic portrayal of Las Vegas that people have come to realize. It is, equally, however, a city of immense social deprivation and bitter despair. This reality of urban poverty lays hidden deep within the city as an economic issue virtually unexposed to the rest of the world. These urban areas of Las Vegas suffer such poverty stricken conditions as crime, gangs, drugs, and other negative influences that have completely encompassed these areas (Jargowsky, 2003). As time has continued to pass, there have been considerable shifts in location of these socially deprived areas of Las Vegas, primarily a direct result of their types of populace. .
             Visible trends can be seen within the city which illustrate where the urban poverty lies. It is evident that the percentage of poverty in urban areas of Las Vegas has significantly risen over the past 40 years. In 1970, the "concentration of poverty" --the tendency of poor persons to be clustered in high-poverty neighborhoods (Jargowsky, 1999)--was mainly in the northern Las Vegas area, between 20-40%, and all other areas (central, east, south, and west) had a poverty percentage between 0-20%. Within the next decade, significant shifts in poverty had already occurred. It can be seen that the central region of Las Vegas now had 20-40% of the poverty, while the other regions had a relatively low concentration close to 0-20%. The escalating trend of urban poverty in Las Vegas is increasingly evident in 1990, as both the central and eastern parts of Las Vegas were overtaken by poverty-stricken conditions as the percentage in the eastern sector rose between 20-40%. This trend continued into the next decade, as urban poverty concentrations remained the same as those in 1999, but now a visible increase in the percentage of the southern area had occurred.

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