Special Report

Cities With the Highest Poverty Rates

Over half a century has passed since President Lyndon Johnson declared war on poverty — with the stated goal of eradicating and preventing serious financial hardship in the United States. Though Johnson’s vision was never realized, the U.S. poverty rate fell from 22.2% in 1960 to 12.1% in 1969. Americans have not benefitted from such a dramatic improvement since.

Today, the Department of Health and Human Services sets the poverty line at an annual income of $24,600 for a family of four living in the continental U.S. Though improvements are not as meaningful as they were in the 1960s, the U.S. poverty rate has fallen in recent years — from 15.9% in 2012 to 14.7% in 2015, to 14.0% in 2016.

Serious financial hardship remains very common in certain parts of the country. More than 1 in every 5 Americans live below the poverty line in 39 U.S. metro areas. 24/7 Wall St. reviewed metro area level poverty data from the U.S. Census Bureau to identify the cities with the highest poverty rates.

Click here to see the cities with the highest poverty rates.
Click here to see our detailed findings and methodology.

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