Cities Hit Hardest by Extreme Poverty

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15. Boise City, ID
> 2010-2016 increase in concentrated poverty: 4.7 ppts (+5,010 people)
> Concentrated poverty rate: 7.1%
> 2010-2016 increase in number of poor neighborhoods: +2 (+100%)
> Unemployment in poor neighborhoods: 9.9%

Over the last six years, the poverty rate in the Boise metro area tracked closely with the overall U.S. poverty rate, climbing from 12.8% to 14.7%. However, the share of the poor population living in extremely poor neighborhoods increased far faster than it did on average nationwide. Some 7.1% of Boise’s poor now live in high poverty neighborhoods, up from just 2.4% in 2010. Meanwhile, concentrated poverty decreased from 13.2% to 12.9% nationwide. Over the same period, the number of poor neighborhoods in Boise doubled from two to four.

Residents of poor neighborhoods are less likely than those in wealthier neighborhoods to own their home. In Boise, the homeownership rate across the city’s four high poverty neighborhoods is just 25.7%. In the metro area’s other neighborhoods, the homeownership rate is 69.4%.

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14. Las Vegas-Henderson-Paradise, NV
> 2010-2016 increase in concentrated poverty: 4.9 ppts (+20,726 people)
> Concentrated poverty rate: 11.3%
> 2010-2016 increase in number of poor neighborhoods: +12 (+120%)
> Unemployment in poor neighborhoods: 16.4%

The poverty rate in the Las Vegas metro area increased from 11.7% in 2010 to 15.0% in 2016. While the poverty rate increased across all racial groups, the sharpest increase was among the area’s black population — whose poverty rate increased from 19.0% in 2010 to 25.0% in 2016.

Concentrated poverty has also increased relatively rapidly in Las Vegas. The number of people living below the poverty line in extremely poor neighborhoods increased by nearly 21,000 in the metro area in the last six years. Despite the rapid increase, concentrated poverty is not as common in Las Vegas as it is nationwide. Some 11.3% of poor metro area residents live in high poverty areas, below the comparable 12.9% share nationwide.

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13. Scranton–Wilkes-Barre–Hazleton, PA
> 2010-2016 increase in concentrated poverty: 5.2 ppts (+4,675 people)
> Concentrated poverty rate: 8.9%
> 2010-2016 increase in number of poor neighborhoods: +4 (+200%)
> Unemployment in poor neighborhoods: 13.2%

The poverty rate among black residents of the Scranton metro area is higher than in any other metro area considered. Some 44.9% of Scranton–Wilkes-Barre–Hazleton’s black population lives below the poverty line, up from 43.5% in 2010 and well above the 24.3% poverty rate among black Americans nationwide. In the last six years, the share of poor black residents living in high poverty neighborhoods more than doubled from 11.4% to 25.2%. The share of poor Hispanics in the area living in high poverty neighborhoods also more than doubled, from 8.9% to 22.9% over the same period. The increased concentrated poverty among the region’s minority populations contributed to the 5.2 percentage point increase in concentrated poverty overall in Scranton since 2010.

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12. Omaha-Council Bluffs, NE-IA
> 2010-2016 increase in concentrated poverty: 5.5 ppts (+6,429 people)
> Concentrated poverty rate: 10.4%
> 2010-2016 increase in number of poor neighborhoods: +4 (+80%)
> Unemployment in poor neighborhoods: 14.9%

The share of poor Omaha-Council Bluffs metro area residents living in high poverty neighborhoods more than doubled over the last six years, from 4.9% to 10.4%. Over the same period, the number of high poverty neighborhoods in the metro area increased from five to nine. Despite the rapid increase, concentrated poverty remains less common in Omaha than it is nationwide, as 12.9% of the nation’s poor live in extremely poor neighborhoods.

Poverty in general is less of a problem in the Omaha metro area than it is nationwide. Some 11.8% of Omaha residents live in poverty, below the 14.2% U.S. poverty rate.

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11. Cleveland-Elyria, OH
> 2010-2016 increase in concentrated poverty: 5.6 ppts (+22,554 people)
> Concentrated poverty rate: 27.7%
> 2010-2016 increase in number of poor neighborhoods: +30 (+52%)
> Unemployment in poor neighborhoods: 24.9%

The Cleveland metro area’s concentrated poverty rate of 27.7% is nearly the highest in the country and up considerably from the 22.2% rate in 2010. Over the same period, the number of neighborhoods in the metro area in which at least 40% of the population lives in poverty climbed from 58 to 88.

The city’s economic segregation also appears to isolate employment opportunities to those living in wealthier areas. Some 25% of the labor force living in Cleveland’s poor neighborhoods are unemployed, well above the 7.0% unemployment rate across the metro area’s other neighborhoods. As is the case nationwide, residents of Cleveland’s poorest neighborhoods are also less likely than residents in other parts of the city to have a college degree. Just 10.3% of adults in high poverty neighborhoods have a bachelor’s degree, about three times lower than the 31.2% share in the rest of the city.