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Data show northern Sioux Falls children have tough road

SIOUX FALLS -- Children who grow up in Sioux Falls' northern neighborhoods live with crime and poverty, miles away from the nearest high school, and generally face a tougher road in life, according to tax and census data.

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SIOUX FALLS - Children who grow up in Sioux Falls' northern neighborhoods live with crime and poverty, miles away from the nearest high school, and generally face a tougher road in life, according to tax and census data.

The data analyzed by the U.S. Census Bureau, a Harvard University economist and other researchers show that children in northern Sioux Falls grow up to earn $23,000 annually on average, the Argus Leader reported .

That's worse than any other neighborhood in the city, according to the Opportunity Atlas, a national data tool released this month by a Harvard-based research and policy institute.

"I think it just seems intuitive that regardless of what your political and social beliefs are, you should have an opportunity to do as well or better than your parents," said Sarah Merchant, a researcher who worked on the project.

The main goal is to address mobility problems in communities across the country - not in terms of physical movement but in terms of movement across social strata, said Shannon Felton Spence, a spokeswoman for the institute.

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"We think that mobility is the basic definition of the American Dream, meaning that if you work hard, you have an opportunity in America to do better than your parents did," Felton Spence said.

Sioux Falls officials are working to improve conditions in the northern neighborhoods.

Some children have to take the bus nearly 5 miles across town to attend high school, but officials have promised to build new schools closer to the area as part of a $190 million bond measure passed by voters in September.

Police also have stepped up their presence in the area since a teenager was beaten to death there in 2016.

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