The City Hit Hardest by Extreme Poverty in Every State

Print Email

Source: Thinkstock

11. Hawaii: no city with concentrated poverty increase

Neither of Hawaii’s two metro areas had an increase in concentrated poverty from 2010 to 2016. The Kahului-Wailuku-Lahaina metro area has no neighborhoods where the poverty rate is 40% or higher, and the number of extreme poverty neighborhoods in the Urban Honolulu metro area fell from five to two over that period. The share of poor residents living in extreme poverty neighborhoods in Urban Honolulu fell from 5.3% to 2.3%, greater than the 2.4 percentage-point decline in concentrated poverty nationwide. The concentrated poverty rate for Hawaii as a whole remains unchanged at 4.4%, the 10th lowest concentrated poverty rate of any state.

Source: Thinkstock

12. Idaho: Pocatello
> 2010-2016 increase in concentrated poverty: +15.9 ppts (0.0% to 15.9%)
> 2010-2016 increase in concentrated poverty: +2,363 people (0 to 2,363)
> 2010-2016 avg. annual GDP growth: -0.2% (Idaho: +1.9%)
> Unemployment: 9.7% (poor neighborhoods) 6.9% (all other)

Each of Idaho’s five metro areas recorded an uptick in poverty between 2010 and 2016 — but in none poverty increased as much as that of Pocatello. Located in the Southeastern Idaho, the metro area’s poverty rate of 18.3% is up from 13.8% in 2010. Due in part to Pocatello’s climbing poverty rate, the metro area is now home to two neighborhoods in which at least 40% of residents live in poverty. Increasing poverty is likely due in part to a stagnant economy. The metro area’s average annual economic growth rate from 2010 to 2016 was -0.2%, compared to the 1.9% average annual growth rate across the state as a hole.

Boise City is the only other metro area in the state with extremely poor neighborhoods. Some 6,800 Boise City residents live on poverty level income and in neighborhoods where at least 40% of the population also lives on poverty level incomes

Source: Archedamian / Wikimedia Commons

13. Illinois: Decatur
> 2010-2016 increase in concentrated poverty: +14.1 ppts (26.3% to 40.3%)
> 2010-2016 increase in concentrated poverty: +3,484 people (4,435 to 7,919)
> 2010-2016 avg. annual GDP growth: -0.9% (Illinois: +1.3%)
> Unemployment: 20.5% (poor neighborhoods) 8.6% (all other)

While nationwide the share of poor Americans living in poor neighborhoods fell from 14.0% in 2010 to 11.6% in 2016, the concentrated poverty rate in the Decatur metro area rose from 26.3% to 40.3%. The 14.1 percentage-point increase was the largest of any metro area in Illinois and pushed Decatur’s concentrated poverty rate from 23rd to seventh highest in the nation.

People living in low-income neighborhoods face a wide range of obstacles to good health, education, and economic mobility. In Decatur’s poor neighborhoods, just 9.3% of adults have a bachelor’s degree, and 20.5% of the labor force is unemployed. Outside of the city’s poor neighborhoods, 25.0% of adults have a bachelor’s degree and 8.6% of the labor force is unemployed.

Source: Yahala / Wikimedia Commons

14. Indiana: Bloomington
> 2010-2016 increase in concentrated poverty: +15.0 ppts (0.0% to 15.0%)
> 2010-2016 increase in concentrated poverty: +5,263 people (0 to 5,263)
> 2010-2016 avg. annual GDP growth: -0.8% (Indiana: +1.4%)
> Unemployment: 8.6% (poor neighborhoods) 6.0% (all other)

Bloomington’s 23.5% poverty rate is by far the highest of any metro area in Indiana and well above the U.S. poverty rate of 15.1%. Some 15% of those more than 35,100 poor Bloomington residents live in extreme poverty. Like many other metro areas on this list, Bloomington has not benefited from the same economic growth that the country as a whole has enjoyed in recent years. Bloomington’s GDP contracted by an annual average of 0.8% between 2010 and 2016, compared to a national 2.0% average annual growth rate and Indiana’s 1.4% average GDP growth rate.

Source: Thinkstock

15. Iowa: Dubuque
> 2010-2016 increase in concentrated poverty: +10.1 ppts (0.0% to 10.1%)
> 2010-2016 increase in concentrated poverty: +1,169 people (0 to 1,169)
> 2010-2016 avg. annual GDP growth: +1.8% (Iowa: +2.6%)
> Unemployment: 5.1% (poor neighborhoods) 4.0% (all other)

While Dubuque is one of the wealthier metro areas nationwide, over the past several years poverty in the area has become more common and concentrated. Today, the city has one neighborhood in which at least 40% of residents live at or below the poverty line, compared to no such neighborhoods in 2010. Some 10.1% of Dubuque’s poor population resides in the city’s extreme poverty tract, the highest concentrated poverty rate of any Iowa metro area. Dubuque’s overall poverty rate rose from 9.1% in 2010 to 12.5% in 2016.