Cities Hit Hardest by Extreme Poverty

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5. Fresno, CA
> Concentrated poverty rate chg. 2009-2015: 10.2 ppts
> Concentrated poverty chg. 2009-2015: +43,254
> Change in no. of poor neighborhoods 2009-2015: +27
> Poverty rate: 26.8%

Fresno, California is one of only two major U.S. metro areas where more than one in every four people live in poverty. Of the metro area’s quarter million people living below the poverty line, 35.2% live in extremely poor neighborhoods, one of the largest such shares of any major metro area.

Extremely poor neighborhoods typically struggle with a number of poor socioeconomic conditions tied to extreme poverty, including high crime rates. The 40 extremely poor neighborhoods in the Fresno metro area likely contribute to the far higher than typical violent crime rate of 537 incidents per 100,000 residents a year.

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4. Indianapolis-Carmel-Anderson, IN
> Concentrated poverty rate chg. 2009-2015: 10.4 ppts
> Concentrated poverty chg. 2009-2015: +35,205
> Change in no. of poor neighborhoods 2009-2015: +28
> Poverty rate: 14.4%

Since the end of the recession, the number of people living below the poverty line in Indianapolis jumped from just under 200,000 to well over a quarter of a million. Of those living on poverty level income, only about 16,000 lived in extremely poor neighborhoods in 2009. That number has since jumped to nearly 51,000.

Worsening economic conditions and increased income-based segregation in Indianapolis is partially the result of continued employment declines in the manufacturing industry.

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3. Toledo, OH
> Concentrated poverty rate chg. 2009-2015: 12.4 ppts
> Concentrated poverty chg. 2009-2015: +16,451
> Change in no. of poor neighborhoods 2009-2015: +13
> Poverty rate: 19.0%

While concentrated poverty affects white Americans, it is much more widespread among racial minorities, and this is certainly the case in Toledo as well. The share of poor Hispanics in the metropolitan area living in neighborhoods where at least 40% of residents are poor rose from an already high 27.7% in 2009 to 40.8% in 2015. More than half of the area’s 33,100 poor black people live in extremely poor neighborhoods, roughly double the share of poor white residents who live in extreme poverty.

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2. Phoenix-Mesa-Scottsdale, AZ
> Concentrated poverty rate chg. 2009-2015: 13.0 ppts
> Concentrated poverty chg. 2009-2015: +116,459
> Change in no. of poor neighborhoods 2009-2015: +65
> Poverty rate: 17.0%

About 176,000 of the Phoenix metro area’s 737,000 poor people live in extremely poor neighborhoods. While people living in poverty face a number of disadvantages, living in very poor neighborhoods can have other wide-reaching negative effects. Poor people living in these areas are less likely to receive a good education, more likely to have worse mental and physical health, and to have greater difficulty climbing the socioeconomic ladder than poor people living in higher-income areas. While there are about 21,000 poor white Phoenix residents living in high-poverty neighborhoods, there are nearly six times as many poor Hispanics living in such conditions.

Source: Thinkstock

1. Bakersfield, CA
> Concentrated poverty rate chg. 2009-2015: 17.2 ppts
> Concentrated poverty chg. 2009-2015: +40,878
> Change in no. of poor neighborhoods 2009-2015: +12
> Poverty rate: 23.5%

The share of poor people living in extremely impoverished neighborhoods in the Bakersfield metro area nearly doubled between 2009 and 2015. As of 2015, more than one in every three people in Bakersfield living in poverty resided in an extremely poor neighborhood, up from only 16.2% in 2009.

Over the same time period, the share of poor whites living in extremely poor neighborhoods climbed dramatically, from 4.3% to 22.8%. Meanwhile, the share of poor blacks in such neighborhoods fell slightly, from 32.2% in 2009 to 31.2% in 2015.