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While in many ways, MetroWest is a high-income region with much wealth, people in areas throughout the region struggle to make ends meet. The high cost of living, extremely expensive housing and myriad difficulties with transportation combine to put a financially secure lifestyle out of reach for many residents of MetroWest.
While the region’s overall poverty rate of 8% is below the state and nation, rates are higher in both Framingham (10%) and Waltham (11%) and rates are higher among Hispanic (22%) and African American (16%) residents. Education matters: while 21% of residents without a high school diploma had incomes at or below the poverty level, just 4% of those with at least a bachelor’s degree did.
And others living above the poverty threshold struggle to make ends meet. While the overall median household income in MetroWest was $89,000 in 2014-18, median incomes for Hispanic and African American households were substantially lower at $52,000 and $59,000.
A living wage in MetroWest requires $78,600 for a family of four with two earners or $73,000 for a family of three with one earner, certainly out of reach for many of our residents.
Federal food assistance is needed at a high level among some populations. In 2014-18, 26% of Hispanic residents and 20% of African Americans participated in the federal SNAP program, higher than Asian (9%) and white (7%) residents.
And people of color in MetroWest (as well as the state and nation) have less access to financial services. Unbanked or underbanked rates in the three MetroWest counties are roughly 30-40% among Hispanic and African Americans.
Homeownership is an important factor for neighborhood stability and civic participation and, in 2014-18, the homeownership rate in the MetroWest region was 65%, exceeding both the state and national rates. However, while rates were 68% among whites and 58% among Asians, they were 35% for African Americans and 31% for Hispanics.
Owning a home is simply out of reach for many residents of MetroWest. The ratio of home value to median income was 4.5 in 2014-18, well above the 2-3 range considered affordable. It is even higher in some communities, including Lincoln and Weston, where the ratio was 7.1 and 6.7, respectively. Rent, too, is unaffordable in some communities, including Walpole, Holliston & Needham, which all had rates over 40%, above the 30% considered affordable.
Homelessness is a growing concern in MetroWest. While the rate has declined a bit from a high in 2014, it was up 45% since 2007, with 6,200 homeless people counted during the annual tally in January in 2018.
|Early Prenatal Care by Mother's Race/Ethnicity||Not Applicable|
|Children Living in Poverty||Increasing|
|Children Living in Poverty, by Race/Ethnicity||Not Applicable|
|Single-Parent Families by Race/Ethnicity||Not Applicable|
|Reports of Domestic Violence||Maintaining|
|Arts, Entertainment and Recreation Establishments||Increasing|
|Households Without Vehicles||Maintaining|
|Means of Transportation to Work||Not Applicable|
|Average Travel Time to Work||Increasing|
|Households With Internet Access||Not Applicable|
|Voter Participation Rate||Decreasing|
|Average Charitable Contribution||Maintaining|
|Protected Land||Not Applicable|
|Drug Poisoning Mortality Rate||Increasing|
|Crimes Against People||Decreasing|
|Incarceration Rates, by Race/Ethnicity||Not Applicable|
|Change in Total Population||Increasing|
|Change in Population by Race/Ethnicity||Not Applicable|
|Population by Age||Not Applicable|
|Change in Population by Age/Gender||Not Applicable|
|Seniors Living Alone||Decreasing|
|People with Disabilities||Maintaining|
|Change in Total Jobs by Sector||Not Applicable|
|Average Salary by Sector||Not Applicable|
|Female to Male Earnings Ratio||Maintaining|
|Student Performance on Grade 3 English, by Student Subgroup||Not Applicable|
|Chronically Absent Students||Decreasing|
|High School Cohort Graduation Rate by Student Group||Increasing|
|Education Levels of Adults||Not Applicable|
|Education Levels of Adults, by Race/Ethnicity||Not Applicable|
|People Living in Poverty||Increasing|
|People Living in Poverty, by Education Level||Not Applicable|
|People Living in Poverty, by Race/Ethnicity||Not Applicable|
|Household Receiving Temporary Assistance||Maintaining|
|Participation in Food Assistance by Race/Ethnicity||Not Applicable|
|Median Household Income||Maintaining|
|Median Household Income, by Race/Ethnicity||Not Applicable|
|Living Wage||Not Applicable|
|80/20 Income Ratio||Maintaining|
|Access to Financial Services, by Race/Ethnicity||Not Applicable|
|Homeownership Rates, by Race/Ethnicity||Not Applicable|
|Cost of Homeownership||Increasing|
|Cost of Rent||Not Applicable|