Cities Hit Hardest by Extreme Poverty

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Source: Thinkstock

15. Sacramento–Roseville–Arden-Arcade, CA
> Concentrated poverty rate chg. 2009-2015: 6.9 ppts
> Concentrated poverty chg. 2009-2015: +27,597
> Change in no. of poor neighborhoods 2009-2015: +19
> Poverty rate: 16.1%

Low-income individuals living around California’s state capital are more likely to live in very poor neighborhoods today than five years ago. Only about 6,900 people in poverty lived in extremely poor neighborhoods in 2009, compared to 34,500 in 2015.

A college education often leads to higher incomes. Not surprisingly, a relatively small share of adults in Sacramento’s poorest neighborhoods are college educated. Across the metro area, 31.1% of adults have at least a bachelor’s degree, nearly triple the comparable 11.2% share in metro area neighborhoods where are least 40% of residents live in poverty.

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14. Syracuse, NY
> Concentrated poverty rate chg. 2009-2015: 7.2 ppts
> Concentrated poverty chg. 2009-2015: +10,832
> Change in no. of poor neighborhoods 2009-2015: +10
> Poverty rate: 15.7%

Syracuse is one of two large metro areas in upstate New York where neighborhoods are becoming increasingly segregated by income. The share the metro area’s poor population living in extremely poor neighborhoods increased from 21.5% in 2009 to 28.7% in 2015.

Poor blacks and Hispanics are far more likely to live in Syracuse’s extremely poor neighborhoods than poor whites. Some 48.2% of the metro area’s impoverished black population and 54.8% of Hispanics living in poverty reside in extremely poor neighborhoods. In comparison, only 16.6% of whites living in poverty reside in extreme poverty tracts.

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13. Riverside-San Bernardino-Ontario, CA
> Concentrated poverty rate chg. 2009-2015: 8.2 ppts
> Concentrated poverty chg. 2009-2015: +73,280
> Change in no. of poor neighborhoods 2009-2015: +30
> Poverty rate: 18.1%

The Riverside-San Bernardino-Ontario metropolitan area, comprising the massive area in the southern interior of the state known as the Inland Empire, had above average poverty five years ago. But these low-income residents were considerably less likely to live in extremely poor neighborhoods than people in poverty nationwide. Since then, the number of neighborhoods where at least 40% of the population is poor rose from 10 to 38.

Following the national trend, Hispanic residents are much more likely to be both poor and to live in very poor areas. Just 6.7% of the area’s white poor people live in high poverty neighborhoods, compared to 13.1% of Hispanic poor people.

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12. Deltona-Daytona Beach-Ormond Beach, FL
> Concentrated poverty rate chg. 2009-2015: 8.5 ppts
> Concentrated poverty chg. 2009-2015: +10,297
> Change in no. of poor neighborhoods 2009-2015: +5
> Poverty rate: 17.0%

The Deltona-Daytona Beach-Ormond Beach metro area is poorer now than it was five years ago. The region’s poverty rate climbed from 13.1% in 2009 to 17.0% in 2015. The metro area has also become more economically segregated. The share of people living on poverty level income residing in extremely poor neighborhoods climbed from 4.7% to 13.1% over the same time period.

Like many metro areas on this list, Daytona Beach’s recovery from the Great Recession has been slow. While the area’s annual GDP growth rate matched the national GDP growth rate of 2.4% in 2014 and 2.8% in 2015, it trailed far behind it in each of the prior four years.

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Summer sunset over Lake Mirror, Lakeland, Florida

11. Lakeland-Winter Haven, FL
> Concentrated poverty rate chg. 2009-2015: 8.7 ppts
> Concentrated poverty chg. 2009-2015: +11,704
> Change in no. of poor neighborhoods 2009-2015: +10
> Poverty rate: 18.3%

In Lakeland-Winter Haven, the number of people in poverty and residing in extremely poor neighborhoods climbed from 4,781 in 2009 to nearly 16,500 in 2015. Like many other cities on this list, Lakeland’s economy has been struggling and poverty has increased since the end of the recession. The metro area’s economy contracted in four of the last seven years and outpaced national annual economic growth rate only once in the same time period. The metro area’s poverty rate of 18.3% is up from 14.4% in 2009.