Cities Hit Hardest by Extreme Poverty

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10. Phoenix-Mesa-Scottsdale, AZ
> 2010-2016 increase in concentrated poverty: 6.0 ppts (+69,740 people)
> Concentrated poverty rate: 21.3%
> 2010-2016 increase in number of poor neighborhoods: +28 (+53%)
> Unemployment in poor neighborhoods: 12.2%

The number of high poverty neighborhoods in the Phoenix metro area increased from 53 to 81 since 2010. Today, an estimated 21.3% of metro area residents subsisting on poverty level income live in one of those poor neighborhoods, up considerably from the area’s 15.3% concentrated poverty rate in 2010.

The area’s poor Hispanics are the most likely of any ethnic group to also live in a poor neighborhood. The concentrated poverty rate among Phoenix’s hispanic population of 30.1% is higher than the concentrated poverty rate of 21.9% among the area’s poor black residents and the 8.1% rate among poor whites. With a 27.4% poverty rate, Hispanics in the city are also the most likely to be poor in the first place. Among black and white metro area residents, the poverty rate is 23.4% and 10.0%, respectively.

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9. Oklahoma City, OK
> 2010-2016 increase in concentrated poverty: 6.1 ppts (+13,544 people)
> Concentrated poverty rate: 13.2%
> 2010-2016 increase in number of poor neighborhoods: +7 (+50%)
> Unemployment in poor neighborhoods: 9.9%

The poverty rate in Oklahoma City changed very little over the last six years, climbing from 14.7% to 15.0%. However, the share of the city’s poor residents living in high poverty neighborhoods increased considerably, from 7.1% to 13.2% over the same period.

Neighborhoods of highly concentrated poor populations tend to face greater challenges to upward economic mobility than more financially secure neighborhoods, and the high poverty pockets of Oklahoma City are no exception. Unemployment across the metro area’s poorest neighborhoods is 9.9%, nearly double the 5.0% unemployment rate in the remaining neighborhoods in Oklahoma City. Additionally, the 39.2% homeownership rate in the metro area’s poor neighborhoods is well below the 65.3% homeownership rate in the rest of the city.

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8. Sacramento–Roseville–Arden-Arcade, CA
> 2010-2016 increase in concentrated poverty: 6.3 ppts (+25,008 people)
> Concentrated poverty rate: 9.7%
> 2010-2016 increase in number of poor neighborhoods: +12 (+200%)
> Unemployment in poor neighborhoods: 16.7%

As recently as 2010, Sacramento’s poverty rate of 12.5% was below the the U.S. poverty rate of 12.7% at the time. Today, an estimated 15.8% of metro area residents live in poverty, a larger share than the 14.2% of Americans nationwide. Over the same period, concentrated poverty has also increased considerably in the metro area around California’s capital. The share of the metro area’s poor residents living in high poverty neighborhoods increased from 3.4% to 9.7%. Despite the uptick, concentrated poverty is less common in Sacramento than it is nationwide as the U.S. concentrated poverty rate stands at 12.9%.

The increase in concentrated poverty in Sacramento was not isolated to a single ethnic group. The share of Sacramento’s poor white, black, and Hispanic residents living in high poverty neighborhoods each more than doubled since 2010.

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7. Toledo, OH
> 2010-2016 increase in concentrated poverty: 6.6 ppts (+9,560 people)
> Concentrated poverty rate: 34.0%
> 2010-2016 increase in number of poor neighborhoods: +9 (+38%)
> Unemployment in poor neighborhoods: 16.8%

The share of poor Toledo residents living in high poverty neighborhoods increased by 6.6 percentage points since 2010 to 34.0% in 2016 — one of the highest concentrated poverty rates and one of the highest increases in its prevalence. Poor neighborhoods are more likely to report high crime rates, and Toledo’s near nation-leading concentrated poverty rate likely contributes disproportionately to a high incidence of violent crime. There were 617 violent crimes in the metro area for every 100,000 residents in 2016, well above the U.S. violent crime rate of 386 incidents per 100,000 people.

Toledo is one of three Ohio metro areas in which concentrated poverty is rapidly increasing.

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6. Youngstown-Warren-Boardman, OH-PA
> 2010-2016 increase in concentrated poverty: 6.8 ppts (+7,337 people)
> Concentrated poverty rate: 27.6%
> 2010-2016 increase in number of poor neighborhoods: +7 (+44%)
> Unemployment in poor neighborhoods: 19.5%

Since 2010, the share of poor Youngstown residents living in high poverty neighborhoods increased by 6.8 percentage points, a larger increase than in all but five other metro areas nationwide. Currently, over half of all the metro area’s poor black and hispanic residents live in high poverty neighborhoods.

As is often the case in metro areas with the greatest increases in concentrated poverty, economic growth in Youngstown has stagnated in recent years. Youngstown’s annualized economic growth rate over the same six-year period was just 0.7%, less than half the comparable 2.0% national GDP growth. Employment opportunities are even more scarce for those in high poverty neighborhoods. Nearly one in every five workers in extremely poor Youngstown neighborhoods are unemployed, well above the 6.7% unemployment rate in the metro area’s more affluent neighborhoods.