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Expand chart
Data: Develop LLC. Notes: City names refer to the larger metropolitan statistical areas defined by U.S. Census; "Large U.S. metros" refers to MSAs with at least 1 million people as of 2018; Values for each may not add up to 100 due to rounding. Chart: Harry Stevens/Axios

A new policy designed to attract investment to low income communities may not benefit rural areas and the most impoverished communities.

Between the lines: The majority of what are being called "opportunity zones," which are economically distressed census tracts nominated by governors to receive special investment tax breaks, lie within large metro areas. While most have low median income projections, quite a few are in relatively prosperous areas of major cities like D.C. and San Francisco, according to data collected by Develop LLC.

By the numbers: Only 3% of opportunity zones have a projected median household income of $75K or more, but certain well-known metro areas have a much larger concentration of these communities.

  • But there are also equally competitive small communities inside struggling metro areas, such as St. Louis, Detroit or Cleveland, Steve Glickman, founder & CEO of Develop LLC, told Axios. And investors could take advantage of the tax breaks by investing in less competitive markets where there is opportunity for a lot of growth.
  • "This whole program is meant to be a signal to markets, to stop focusing on the handful of places everybody's been investing in," Glickman said.

What to watch: Investors looking to take advantage of the new tax policy are faced with deciding whether to invest in communities where there is the most need or invest in impoverished pockets of areas that are already doing relatively well.

The bottom line: The prevalence of these zones in already rich urban areas shows the challenges in spreading wealth and opportunity beyond big cities.

  • Wealthy metro areas also have poverty-stricken communities. And there are strong, economically competitive "opportunity zones" in struggling parts of the U.S. Where companies decide to invest will determine whether the policy does, indeed, revitalize distressed communities or further cement the success of booming metro areas.

Go deeper

Students vandalize and steal from schools for viral TikTok challenge

TikTok logo displayed on a phone screen in Krakow, Poland on July 18, 2021. Photo: Jakub Porzycki/NurPhoto via Getty Images

A viral TikTok challenge is leading students nationwide to shatter mirrors, steal fire alarms and intentionally clog toilets, The Washington Post reports.

Driving the news: Dubbed the the “Devious Licks challenge, students are showing off their "devious licks" on TikTok — with a sped-up version of "Ski Ski BasedGod" by rapper Lil’ B playing in the background.

Axios-Ipsos poll: People of color face more environmental threats

Expand chart
Data: Axios/Ipsos poll; Note: ±2.5% margin of error; Chart: Sara Wise/Axios

Americans of color are much less likely than white Americans to experience good air quality or tap water or enough trees or green space in their communities, and they're more likely to face noise pollution and litter, a new Axios-Ipsos poll finds.

The big picture: Our national survey shows Black and Hispanic Americans are more likely than their white counterparts to live near major highways or industrial or manufacturing plants — and to have dealt in the past year with water-boil notices or power outages lasting more than 24 hours.

18 hours ago - Health

FDA advisory panel recommends Pfizer boosters for those 65 and older

A healthcare worker prepares a dose of the Pfizer-BioNTech Covid-19 vaccine at the Key Biscayne Community Center on Aug. 24, 2021. Photo: Eva Marie Uzcategui/Bloomberg via Getty Images

A key Food and Drug Administration advisory panel on Friday overwhelmingly voted against recommending Pfizer vaccine booster shots for younger Americans, but unanimously recommended approving the third shots for individuals 65 and older, as well as those at high-risk of severe COVID-19.

Why it matters: While the votes are non-binding, and the FDA must still make a final decision, Friday's move pours cold water on the Biden administration's plan to begin administering boosters to most individuals who received the Pfizer vaccine later this month.