I grew up in a tough Detroit neighborhood, and it seems that every city has a few sections that are tougher than the others. They're often referred to as the "poor side of town" and if you're from there, you were born on the "wrong side of the tracks".

Cedar Rapids is no exception, and the neighborhood known as Wellington Heights is often considered one of the toughest areas of town. But why is that? Let's take a look:

1. LOWER EDUCATION - City-Data show that education levels of Wellington Heights residents are significantly lower than average. 33.6 % of it's residents attain less than a high school education compared to only 6.4% for Cedar Rapids as a whole. It's sad to say but in areas of poor education, poverty and crime are typically higher than average. 

2. HIGHER % of POVERTY - According to City-Data, Wellington Heights has a higher percentage of people living below the poverty level than the rest of Cedar Rapids. Poverty is defined as a family of four living on less than $25,000 annually.

Percentage of population below poverty level:

Wellington Heights:13.2%
Cedar Rapids:11.9%

In addition, the median family income of Wellington Heights is more than 15% lower than that of Cedar Rapids:

Median household income in 2016: 

Wellington Heights:$48,885
Cedar Rapids:$57,135

3. CRIME - According to NeighborhoodScout.com Cedar Rapids has a higher percentage of property crime that the rest of the state of Iowa. It is also higher than the national average. And Wellington Heights is one of the higher crime areas in the city limits. It's a shame, because there are many law-abiding citizens who become victims of crime simply because of where they live.

Graph: NeighborhoodScout
Graph: NeighborhoodScout

4. SEX OFFENDERS - According to City-Data, there are 198 registered sex offenders living in Cedar Rapids and the map graphic below shows a significant number of those reside in Wellington Heights. This doesn't make for a good tourism brochure, but for folks with kids moving into the area its important to be aware of the realities of any neighborhood.

Map: City-Data
Map: City-Data

If you've ever asked yourself what would it take to defeat crime and poverty, the answer certainly seems to be education. The best education we can provide for our children will benefit our community with citizens who are capable of creating a better future for themselves.

The other factor needed to win the war on poverty and crime are good citizens, and Wellington Heights is filled with plenty of them. Good people and hard working families who are trying to get ahead, in a world that seems to continuously stack the cards against them. Don't give up - you're fighting for the best purpose of all.

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