More than a quarter of a century ago, the National Advisory Commission on Civil Disorders warned that "[o]ur Nation is moving toward two societies, one black, one white-separate and unequal." Today, despite decades of effort and some genuine progress, racial separation and inequality have grown, not diminished. Nearly fifteen percent of America's population, or more than thirty-seven million Americans, live in poverty-the highest level since 1965. The figures are even worse for young people, our country's future. More than one in five children is born into poverty-two in three Hispanic children and nearly one out of every two African-American children. More than seventy five percent of this growing poverty population is concentrated in central cities and inner ring suburbs-living, not coincidentally, in the oldest and most dilapidated housing. The increasing urban isolation of a majority of the poor and many minorities is made worse by other rising poverty-related problems such as declining health, inadequate schools, and violent crime.

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