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Areas of Persistent Poverty & Historically Disadvantaged Communities

An “Area of Persistent Poverty” is defined for the RAISE grant program by the 2021 Consolidated Appropriations Act. A project is located in an Area of Persistent Poverty for the RAISE grant program if:

  1. the County in which the project is located consistently had greater than or equal to 20 percent of the population living in poverty in all three of the following datasets: (a) the 1990 decennial census; (b) the 2000 decennial census; and (c) the 2020 Small Area Income Poverty Estimates; OR
  2. the Census Tract in which the project is located has a poverty rate of at least 20 percent as measured by the 2014-2018 5-year data series available from the American Community Survey of the Bureau of the Census; OR
  3. the project is located in any territory or possession of the United States.

USDOT has published a table to help applicants identify if a project meets the Area of Persistent Poverty definition for a County or Census Tract. To determine the State, County, and Census Tract Associated with your Project’s Location, input your Project’s Primary Address into the U.S. Census’ Geocoder Tool. This document provides instructions on how to use the U.S. Census Geocoder Tool.

A "Historically Disadvantaged Community" is defined for the RAISE program in the 2022 NOFO, consistent with OMB's Interim Guidance for the Justice40 Initiative. A project is located in a Historically Disadvantaged Communities if:

  1. the project is located in certain qualifying census tracts, identified in this table; OR
  2. the project is located on Tribal land; OR
  3. the project is located in any territory or possession of the United States.

Additionally, DOT is providing a mapping tool to assist applicants in identifying whether a project is located in a Historically Disadvantaged Community at https://usdot.maps.arcgis.com/apps/dashboards/d6f90dfcc8b44525b04c7ce748a3674a. Use of this map tool is optional; applicants are welcome to provide an image of the map tool outputs, but the designation of project location and eligibility as a Historically Disadvantaged Community will be verified by the Department upon receipt of the application. Please note that for the RAISE program, the Historically Disadvantaged Community designation is based on where the majority of project costs will be expended (not necessarily where the majority of project is constructed). If the project crosses boundaries of Historically Disadvantaged Community and a non-Historically Disadvantaged Community, please provide sufficient details by component in the project budget for the Department to verify where the majority of project costs will be expended. For technical assistance using the mapping tool, please contact GMO@dot.gov.

Last updated: Friday, January 28, 2022