Special Report

11 Cities Hit Hardest by Extreme Poverty

Evan Comen, Michael B. Sauter

8. Stockton-Lodi, CA
> Post-recession chg. concentrated poverty rate:
11 percentage points
> Concentrated poverty rate: 22%
> Poor population: 132,986
> Post-recession chg. extremely poor neighborhoods: 9
> Poverty rate: 19.4%

In Stockton-Lodi, 19.4% of residents live in poverty, one of the highest poverty rates of any major U.S. metropolitan area. Of those living poverty, 22% live in extremely impoverished neighborhoods. While most extreme poverty in Stockton is concentrated in the downtown area, it is spreading to the outlying areas. The metro also reported one of the fastest increases in the concentration of extreme poverty among its suburban population. Hispanics are getting hit the hardest by concentrated poverty in the inner city, while in the suburbs black residents are getting hit the hardest.

7. Buffalo-Cheektowaga-Niagara Falls, NY
> Post-recession chg. concentrated poverty rate:
11 percentage points
> Concentrated poverty rate: 26%
> Poor population: 158,694
> Post-recession chg. extremely poor neighborhoods: 11
> Poverty rate: 14.5%

Residents of the major cities in western New York — Buffalo, Syracuse, and Rochester — have been dealing with difficult economies for decades. Of these three major metropolitan areas, Buffalo has the lowest poverty rate, at 14.5%. However, concentrated extreme poverty in the metro area increased by 11 percentage points since the recession, more rapidly than in any metropolitan area in the state.

As is the case throughout the country, Buffalo’s black and Hispanic populations are much more likely to live in isolated poverty. Also, concentrated poverty among these populations has also increased much faster than among the metro’s white population. The share of poor black people living in extreme poverty in Buffalo increased by 12 percentage points after the recession, and now 44% of poor African Americans live in extremely poor neighborhoods.

6. Tucson, AZ
> Post-recession chg. concentrated poverty rate:
11 percentage points
> Concentrated poverty rate: 25%
> Poor population: 180,450
> Post-recession chg. extremely poor neighborhoods: 14
> Poverty rate: 19.0%

In Tuscon, 25% of the city’s poor population live in extreme-poverty neighborhoods — in which at least two-fifths of residents are poor. This is up from 14% since the end of the recession. Such clustering of poverty is spreading in both the inner city and suburbs of Tucson. Hispanics comprise the majority of poor residents in downtown Tucson, and the suburban poor are mostly white. However, in both downtown and the suburbs, concentrated poverty is increasing the fastest among poor Hispanics. Over the past decade, many American Indian reservations in Southern Arizona have also fallen into extreme poverty.