The City Hit Hardest by Extreme Poverty in Every State

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16. Kansas: Manhattan
> 2010-2016 increase in concentrated poverty: +9.9 ppts (0.0% to 9.9%)
> 2010-2016 increase in concentrated poverty: +1,631 people (0 to 1,631)
> 2010-2016 avg. annual GDP growth: +0.8% (Kansas: +1.5%)
> Unemployment: 7.7% (poor neighborhoods) 6.1% (all other)

While as of 2010 Manhattan, Kansas, was not home to any extreme poverty neighborhoods — in which at least 40% of the population lives in poverty — one census tract crossed that threshold during the past several years. Today, some 9.9% of the metro area’s poor population lives in its extreme poverty neighborhood, located in Riley County in downtown Manhattan, the second highest concentrated poverty rate in Kansas.

It can be very difficult for individuals living in poor neighborhoods to get a good education. In Manhattan, however, the presence of Kansas State University may be the reason for the small educational attainment gap between low and high income areas. Some 39.9% of adults within extreme poverty neighborhoods in Manhattan, and 41.2% of adults outside of the city’s extreme poverty neighborhoods, have a bachelor’s degree, each among the highest such college attainment rates nationwide.

Source: Public Domain / Wikimedia Commons

17. Kentucky: Owensboro
> 2010-2016 increase in concentrated poverty: +9.6 ppts (0.0% to 9.6%)
> 2010-2016 increase in concentrated poverty: +1,800 people (0 to 1,800)
> 2010-2016 avg. annual GDP growth: +0.5% (Kentucky: +0.8%)
> Unemployment: 18.3% (poor neighborhoods) 6.4% (all other)

While the Owensboro metro area had no extreme poverty neighborhoods several years ago, today there is one neighborhood in the city where at least 40% of residents live at or below the poverty line. Some 9.6% of the metro area’s poor population lives in the city’s extreme poverty neighborhood, one of the lower concentrated poverty rates in Kentucky yet a major increase from 2010.

Individuals in low-income areas are less likely to have access to education and employment opportunities. Just 5.3% of adults living in Owensboro’s poor neighborhoods have a bachelor’s degree, and 18.3% of the labor force is unemployed. Outside of the city’s poor neighborhoods, 19.9% of adults have a bachelor’s degree, and only 6.4% of the labor force is unemployed.

Source: Thinkstock

18. Louisiana: Monroe
> 2010-2016 increase in concentrated poverty: +6.7 ppts (31.6% to 38.2%)
> 2010-2016 increase in concentrated poverty: +4,400 people (11,316 to 15,716)
> 2010-2016 avg. annual GDP growth: +0.1% (Louisiana: -1.0%)
> Unemployment: 16.4% (poor neighborhoods) 6.1% (all other)

The share of poor Monroe residents living in neighborhoods where at least 40% of the population earns poverty wages rose from 31.6% in 2010 to 38.2% in 2016, the largest increase of any metro area in Louisiana. Concentrated poverty is far more prevalent among minority populations. While just 9.7% of poor white residents in Monroe live in extreme poverty neighborhoods, some 55.5% of the metro area’s poor black residents live in extreme poverty neighborhoods.

Income segregation can also create large disparities in education, unemployment, and other socioeconomic indicators. Just 8.4% of adults living in Monroe’s poor neighborhoods have a bachelor’s degree, far less than the 25.6% college attainment rate in the metro area’s remaining neighborhoods.

Source: Thinkstock

19. Maine: Bangor
> 2010-2016 increase in concentrated poverty: +4.9 ppts (6.1% to 11.0%)
> 2010-2016 increase in concentrated poverty: +1,221 people (1,394 to 2,615)
> 2010-2016 avg. annual GDP growth: +0.1% (Maine: +0.4%)
> Unemployment: 10.2% (poor neighborhoods) 7.1% (all other)

Bangor’s poverty rate rose from 15.7% in 2010 to 16.3% in 2016. As poverty became more common in the metro area, it also became more concentrated. The share of poor city residents living in extreme poverty neighborhoods rose from 6.1% in 2010 to 11.0% in 2016, the largest increase in Maine.

The concentration of poverty can impede upward income mobility and limit positive outcomes in education, employment, and homeownership. While some 71.0% of heads of household own their homes outside of extreme poverty neighborhoods in Bangor, the homeownership rate is just 34.8% within the city’s poorest neighborhoods.

Source: Public Domain / Wikimedia Commons

20. Maryland: Hagerstown-Martinsburg
> 2010-2016 increase in concentrated poverty: +2.9 ppts (3.7% to 6.6%)
> 2010-2016 increase in concentrated poverty: +1,245 people (901 to 2,146)
> 2010-2016 avg. annual GDP growth: +1.5% (Maryland: +1.3%)
> Unemployment: 15.0% (poor neighborhoods) 7.8% (all other)

The share of poor residents living in extreme poverty neighborhoods in the Hagerstown-Martinsburg metro area nearly doubled over the past several years, rising from 3.7% in 2010 to 6.6% in 2016. Despite the increase, Hagerstown’s concentrated poverty rate remains well below the 11.6% national figure.

Segregation by income in an urban area often leads to large disparities in education and employment. Just 9.7% of adults in Hagerstown’s poor neighborhoods have a bachelor’s degree, far less than the 20.4% college attainment rate in the metro area’s non-extreme poverty neighborhoods. Similarly, 15.0% of the labor force in extreme poverty neighborhoods are unemployed, compared to the 7.8% unemployment rate in the metro area’s remaining neighborhoods.