The Injustice of Place
Uncovering the Legacy of Poverty in America
Kathryn J. Edin, H. Luke Shaefer, and Timothy Nelson
Three of the nation’s top researchers known for taking on key mysteries about poverty deliver a new, multi-dimensional way of measuring deep disadvantage in every county in the nation as well as in its 500 most-populated cities. By turning the lens of disadvantage from the individual to the community, the authors uncover a surprising picture. Among the 100 most deeply disadvantaged places in the U.S., the majority are rural, many of them rarely if ever researched; only 12 are cities.
In The Injustice of Place: Uncovering the Legacy of Poverty in America, the authors paint portraits of places within the three regions of America whose residents are living—and dying—with homicide rates as high as anywhere else in the nation. What these regions have in common—a history of raw, intensive resource extraction and human exploitation, has made them into what the authors describe as “internal colonies.”
This history and its reverberations are facts, these acclaimed and engaged public scholars argue, that must shape a new War on Poverty, 60 years after LBJ’s unfinished first one.
Published by Mariner Books
Praise for The Injustice of Place
A powerful, alarming portrayal of how poverty remains entrenched in unfairly forgotten places across America. —Kirkus Reviews (starred review)
Three of the nation’s top poverty scholars deliver a profound inquiry into the most disadvantaged communities in America. Combining historical and statistical analysis with on-the-ground interviewing, the authors present novel and provocative arguments for many social ills that plague these regions. This book challenges and enrages, humbles and indicts—and forces you to see American poverty in a whole new light. — Matthew Desmond, Pulitzer Prize-winning author of Evicted and Poverty, by America
This eye-opening account provides a powerful lens with which to view contemporary inequality in America. — Publishers Weekly (starred review)
Every few years, an academic work arrives that transcends genre, combining unparalleled research skills with engaging storytelling. The Injustice of Place… harnesses the most powerful aspects of big data while diving into historic narratives that continue to inform and instruct. — Shelf Awareness
An innovative study of American poverty. — Booklist
Captivating and insightful, The Injustice of Place sheds new light on how the places in which we live shape so many aspects of our lives — from our jobs to our health to our children’s prospects. By interweaving big data with on-the-ground ethnography and historical analysis, the authors exemplify the best of social science today, and will surely help frame policy discussions in the years to come. — Raj Chetty, Harvard University, recipient of the John Bates Clark Medal recognizing the economist under forty whose work has made the most significant contribution to the field
Woven with vivid, first-hand accounts and bolstered by fresh data, Injustice of Place convincingly knots present-day disadvantage to the long tail of racism and extractive capitalism. This book delivers new insights into solving today’s most intractable injustices. — Mona Hanna-Attisha, Flint, MI, pediatrician and author of What the Eyes Don’t See: A Story of Crisis, Resistance, and Hope in an American City
There is no book on poverty in America quite like this one. Original reporting and rigorous data analysis reveal a living history of injustice maintained through corruption, resource extraction, and violence; but the book doesn’t leave us there. We meet everyday people who, even in the face of backlash from the economic and political elite, try to bring about change. Incisive, surprising, enraging, and hopeful, The Injustice of Place is the book on poverty we’ve needed all along. — Reuben Jonathan Miller, 2022 MacArthur Fellow and author of Halfway Home: Race, Punishment, and the Afterlife of Mass Incarceration