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posted on 08 March 2017

Helping Low And Moderate-income Households And Communities

from the St Louis Fed

Redeveloping areas to stimulate businesses and job growth was the most common answer to the question of how to improve the outlook for low- and moderate-income (LMI) individuals, according to the St. Louis Fed’s Community Development Outlook Survey.

The annual survey, produced by the St. Louis Fed’s community development department, aims to capture trends and outlooks affecting LMI communities in the Eighth Federal Reserve District.1 Participating in the survey were stakeholders such as community and economic development organizations, financial institutions, and nonprofits.

Improving LMI Outlooks

Survey participants were asked what one action an organization or community could take to improve the outlook for LMI individuals, if funding weren’t a concern. More than one-quarter (26.1 percent) cited redeveloping areas of the community to stimulate businesses and job growth.

Other top responses include:

  • Improve workforce development programs (19.2 percent)

  • Increase access to or quality of education (14.9 percent)

  • Increase the amount of or access to affordable housing (13.1 percent)

Increasing Financial Stability

Participants were also asked what asset was most important in helping to increase the financial stability of LMI households. Investing in education was the top response (27.9 percent).

Other top responses include:

  • Avoiding debt (20.8 percent)

  • Increased amount of savings (13.9 percent)

  • Owning a house (10.9 percent)

Employment Barriers

When asked about the greatest employment barrier facing people in LMI communities, 18.0 percent of respondents cited essential or soft skills. Job availability (16.2 percent), adequate wages (15.7 percent) and education (13.1 percent) were the other top responses.

While essential skills was the most cited among all respondents, when respondents were split between metropolitan and rural, it was the second most-often cited by both groups. Adequate wages was the top barrier named by metro respondents and third on the rural list. Conversely, job availability was the top response by those from rural areas, but it was outside the top five for metro areas.

Notes and References

1 The survey was sent to community stakeholders in the seven states that make up the Eighth District, which are Arkansas, Illinois, Indiana, Kentucky, Mississippi, Missouri and Tennessee.

Additional Resources



Views expressed are not necessarily those of the Federal Reserve Bank of St. Louis or of the Federal Reserve System.

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