Examining Ecological Factors to Form a Macro Model of Working with African American Neighborhoods in Poverty
This social science study examines the ecological factors of impoverished African American neighborhoods while also assessing the differences of poor neighborhoods with lower amounts of poverty and those with higher amounts of poverty. Twelve of the poorest neighborhoods in Mobile and Prichard, Alabama were included in the study. The ecological factors included 1) geographical variables determined by the average age of the homes in neighborhood, number of hazardous areas, the number of unoccupied units, and the structural integrity of the neighborhood, 2) institutional variables determined by the number of operating businesses, churches, medical facilities, social organization, schools and the quality of the schools and 3) social variables determined by the neighborhood connectedness, peer support, friend attachment, warmth toward mother, warmth toward father, and religious affiliation. The amount of poverty was assessed using three different measures analyzed independently of one another:
• Median incomes of the impoverished neighborhoods
• Percentages of individuals below poverty threshold
• Percentages of individuals living in extreme poverty
The analysis included correlations among variables to assess strength of association, one-way ANOVAs to assess differences among groups, and linear regressions to assess predictions of the amount of poverty. Several significant findings were apparent with educational quality within these impoverished areas. The findings bring about new facets for consideration in terms of impoverished African American neighborhoods, especially those neighborhoods with higher rates of extreme poverty. Although limitations were apparent, the study also yielded paramount implications for the social work profession relating to churches, schools, and current government initiatives.
Keywords: Poverty, African Americans, Ecological, Geographical, Institutional, Social, Government Initiatives
Phd Student, School of Social Work, Univeristy of Texas at Arlington
Ms. Hall has also been a research assistant helping conduct over sixty interviews with Dr. James W. Callicutt in his endeavor to publish an oral history book over UT Arlington’s School of Social Work. She is currently working on a study about spiritual competence in schools of social work with two of her colleagues and has two publications under review. In addition to the many duties and accomplishments, Ebony Hall has been an undergraduate advisor for the School of Social Work and has had several nominations including a nomination for the Patricia K. Cross Future Leaders of America, the Who’s Who among Students in American Universities and Colleges, and was also nominated for Outstanding Academic Advisor in 2008. Ms. Hall is currently seeking a Masters of Divinity with the Brite Divinity School on the campus of Texas Christian University in Fort Worth, Texas and has plans to obtain her LMSW during the summer of 2008.