Cities Hit Hardest by Extreme Poverty

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20. Albuquerque, NM
> Concentrated poverty rate chg. 2009-2015: 5.6 ppts
> Concentrated poverty chg. 2009-2015: +13,176
> Change in no. of poor neighborhoods 2009-2015: +7
> Poverty rate: 19.2%

Albuquerque has one of the poorest populations of U.S. metro areas, and conditions have significantly worsened over the last five years. Between 2009 and 2015, the share of the population living in poverty increased from 14.9% to 19.2%, the eighth highest poverty rate of any metropolitan area. As poverty rose in New Mexico’s largest metropolitan area, it became increasingly concentrated in extremely poor neighborhoods as well. The share of poor people living in neighborhoods where at least 40% of the population is poor increased from 7.5% to 13.1%. The number of extremely poor neighborhoods in Albuquerque rose from seven to 11.

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19. Las Vegas-Henderson-Paradise, NV
> Concentrated poverty rate chg. 2009-2015: 5.7 ppts
> Concentrated poverty chg. 2009-2015: +26,525
> Change in no. of poor neighborhoods 2009-2015: +19
> Poverty rate: 15.7%

Unlike most metro areas on this list, the level of concentrated poverty in the Last Vegas metro area is lower than it is nationwide. In Las Vegas, 12.9% of people in poverty live in extremely poor neighborhoods, lower than the national concentrated poverty rate of 14.1%. In the past five years, however, poverty intensified faster in the city than in most other U.S. areas.

One of the disadvantages of living in an extremely poor neighborhood is the often higher incidence of violence. For every 100,000 Las Vegas area residents, 815 violent crimes were reported in 2015, the second highest rate of all metro areas.

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18. Miami-Fort Lauderdale-West Palm Beach, FL
> Concentrated poverty rate chg. 2009-2015: 5.7 ppts
> Concentrated poverty chg. 2009-2015: +71,778
> Change in no. of poor neighborhoods 2009-2015: +34
> Poverty rate: 17.2%

Miami-Fort Lauderdale-West Palm Beach metro area’s poverty rate of 17.2% is one of the higher rates nationwide. While the concentration of these low income individuals in extremely poor neighborhoods, at 12.0%, is lower than average nationwide, it nearly doubled from the concentrated poverty rate of 6.3% five years ago.

The number of neighborhoods in the area with poverty rates of 40% or higher more than doubled in that time, from 24 to 53. The increase was due either to falling incomes in already poor neighborhoods, migration of poor individuals into neighborhoods on the edge of extreme poverty, or both.

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17. Cleveland-Elyria, OH
> Concentrated poverty rate chg. 2009-2015: 5.7 ppts
> Concentrated poverty chg. 2009-2015: +25,739
> Change in no. of poor neighborhoods 2009-2015: +46
> Poverty rate: 15.5%

The number of people living in poverty across the Cleveland metro area climbed from 280,377 in 2009 to 313,983 in 2015. Of the area’s poor population, the share living in extremely poor neighborhoods climbed from 23.2% to 28.9% over the same period, one of the largest concentrations of poverty of any U.S. metro area.

While the country as a whole has largely recovered from the recession, economic conditions in parts of Cleveland have only worsened. Like many other Rust Belt cities, Cleveland’s economy is relatively dependent on manufacturing, an industry that has been shedding jobs for decades.

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16. Scranton–Wilkes-Barre–Hazleton, PA
> Concentrated poverty rate chg. 2009-2015: 6.7 ppts
> Concentrated poverty chg. 2009-2015: +5,924
> Change in no. of poor neighborhoods 2009-2015: +3
> Poverty rate: 15.2%

Some neighborhoods in the Scranton-Wilkes-Barre-Hazleton metro area are getting poorer. Only 3.0% of metro area residents living on poverty wages lived in extremely poor neighborhoods in 2009. By 2015, the share more than tripled to 9.7%.

The prevalence of poverty in Scranton varies dramatically along racial lines. While the area’s poverty rate among all residents is 15.2%, it is 46% among black residents — the largest such share of any U.S. metro area.