Special Report

11 Cities Hit Hardest by Extreme Poverty

11. Riverside-San Bernardino-Ontario, CA
> Post-recession chg. concentrated poverty rate:
9 percentage points
> Concentrated poverty rate: 13%
> Poor population: 763,891
> Post-recession chg. extremely poor neighborhoods: 31
> Poverty rate: 18.0%

The Riverside-San Bernardino-Ontario metro region was more severely affected by the recession than most of the country. The poverty rate rose from 13.3% in 2009 to 18.0% — one of the highest poverty rates among major metropolitan areas. As poverty intensified, it also became more concentrated.

While the region is one of the largest U.S. metros by area, extreme poverty — defined as a 40% poverty rate or greater in a neighborhood — is limited to a fraction of the total geographic area, primarily around the more urban areas of Riverside and San Bernardino.

10. North Port-Sarasota-Bradenton, FL
> Post-recession chg. concentrated poverty rate:
9 percentage points
> Concentrated poverty rate: 12%
> Poor population: 94,428
> Post-recession chg. extremely poor neighborhoods: 4
> Poverty rate: 13.2%

While there was a general increase in concentrated poverty across most large U.S. urban areas, the increase was particularly dramatic in the North Port-Sarasota-Bradenton metropolitan area on the Gulf Coast of Florida.

The area’s Hispanic population, in particular, has struggled with a severe increase in concentrated poverty. In the few years leading up to and during the recession, an estimated 4% of the North Port-Sarasota-Bradenton area’s poor Hispanic residents lived in extremely impoverished neighborhoods. Now, 26% of the poor Hispanic population live in extremely impoverished neighborhoods. This was the largest increase in concentrated extreme poverty among the demographic of any major metropolitan area.

9. Syracuse, NY
> Post-recession chg. concentrated poverty rate:
10 percentage points
> Concentrated poverty rate: 32%
> Poor population: 94,210
> Post-recession chg. extremely poor neighborhoods: 7
> Poverty rate: 15.4%

Many of the areas with highly concentrated extreme poverty tend to have very high poverty rates. Syracuse, New York, however, is an exception. While the metro’s poverty rate of 15.4% is only 45th highest among the 100 largest metropolitan areas, its concentrated poverty is the fourth highest in the country. Further, the concentration worsened significantly in the past few years.

As is the case nationwide with extreme concentrated poverty, poor nonwhites are much more likely to live in extremely impoverished neighborhoods than poor whites. Of the black and Hispanic poor people living in the Syracuse metropolitan area 58% live in very poor neighborhoods, while only 17% of poor whites live in isolated poverty.

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