I'm not sure if the cottage industry of explaining away Arizona's reality is on vacation in cooler climes or will scramble to attack this telling map that went with a story headlined: "The South is Essentially a Solid, Grim Bloc of Poverty."
Arizona Territory sent a delegate to the Confederate Congress throughout the War Between the States, so the apple doesn't fall very far from the tree.
Seriously, the data come from a new report by the Census Bureau of people living in "concentrated poverty areas." It digs down to the Census tract level, finding that more than 2 million Arizonans, or 33 percent, lived in tracts with highly concentrated poverty. That compares with 1.2 million, or 24 percent, in 2000. The comparable national averages were 25.7 percent and 18.1 percent respectively.
These areas have "higher crime rates, poor housing conditions, and fewer job opportunities." They breed a feedback loop of poverty.
It's easy to blame much or all of this on the Great Recession. Arizona's dependence on the housing sector left it in a virtual depression after the collapse. There's some truth to this, but the problems go much deeper.