Austin’s middle class shrank from 2000 to 2012. In 2012, 31% of African Americans and 30% of Latinos in Austin were living in poverty. The situation is worse for children — an African American child in Austin is more likely than not to live in poverty.
It is very difficult for many Austinites to afford housing. The average single parent, for instance, cannot reasonably afford a two-bedroom apartment. More than 1-in-3 of Austin households must spend more than 30% of their income on housing, which is the federally-defined threshold for “affordable” housing
Austin is among the most economically-segregated cities in the country. Austin’s highest opportunity areas are west of I-35, but the majority of Austin’s minority population is in the east. Virtually every indicator of opportunity — education, economic, transportation, health, and neighborhood quality is much higher in wealthier, West Austin neighborhoods. Low-income families in low opportunity areas have few of the resources they need to rise out of poverty.
Austin schools are also heavily segregated on racial, ethnic, linguistic, and economic lines.