The City Hit Hardest by Extreme Poverty in Every State

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Source: Thinkstock

31. New Mexico: Farmington
> 2010-2016 increase in concentrated poverty: +8.7 ppts (4.3% to 13.0%)
> 2010-2016 increase in concentrated poverty: +2,118 people (1,113 to 3,231)
> 2010-2016 avg. annual GDP growth: -0.2% (New Mexico: +0.6%)
> Unemployment: 17.9% (poor neighborhoods) 9.8% (all other)

A large portion of the Farmington, New Mexico, metropolitan area consists of the Navajo Nation reservation that extends into Arizona and Utah as well. This reservation, like the American native population in general, has long faced conditions that contribute to poverty and other socioeconomic difficulties. However, the area’s concentrated poverty rate as of 2010 was relatively low, at just 4.3%, compared to a national rate of 14.0%. That rate rose by 8.7 percentage points since 2010, the largest uptick in concentrated poverty in the state. Farmington now has the second highest concentrated poverty rate of any metro area in New Mexico, trailing only Las Cruces.

Source: Stilfehler 19:28, 9 July 2007 (CEST) / Wikimedia Commons

32. New York: Elmira
> 2010-2016 increase in concentrated poverty: +19.6 ppts (18.2% to 37.8%)
> 2010-2016 increase in concentrated poverty: +2,677 people (2,302 to 4,979)
> 2010-2016 avg. annual GDP growth: -1.4% (New York: +1.2%)
> Unemployment: 10.9% (poor neighborhoods) 4.8% (all other)

Many cities in upstate New York struggle with slow and even negative economic growth and few U.S. metro areas reported a larger economic contraction than Elmira, New York. The metro area’s GDP shrank by an annual average of 1.4% between 2010 and 2016, even as the state and national economies grew at average annual rates of 1.2% and 2.0%, respectively.

Over the same period, the share of poor metro area residents living in a neighborhood characterized by concentrated poverty more than doubled from 18.2% to 37.8%.

Source: Cypress Landing / Wikimedia Commons

33. North Carolina: Greenville
> 2010-2016 increase in concentrated poverty: +16.8 ppts (6.5% to 23.3%)
> 2010-2016 increase in concentrated poverty: +7,232 people (2,415 to 9,647)
> 2010-2016 avg. annual GDP growth: +1.6% (North Carolina: +1.4%)
> Unemployment: 14.2% (poor neighborhoods) 10.8% (all other)

The concentrated poverty rate in the Greenville metro area rose by 16.8 percentage points from 5.9% in 2010 to 23.3% in 2016, the largest increase of any city in North Carolina and the sixth largest nationwide. Greenville’s concentrated poverty rate rose from eighth highest in North Carolina to the highest, and it is now more than double the 11.6% national figure.

While segregation of residents by income in urban areas can contribute to large geographic disparities in education, the presence of East Carolina University in Greenville likely helps reduce the achievement gap between high- and low-income neighborhoods. Some 27.8% of adults in Greenville’s extreme poverty neighborhoods have a bachelor’s degree, roughly in line with the 29.2% college attainment rate outside of the city’s extreme poverty neighborhoods.

Source: Thinkstock

34. North Dakota: no city with concentrated poverty increase

Since 2010, concentrated poverty in North Dakota’s three major metro areas has either remained unchanged or declined. The largest decline was in Bismarck, where the share of poor residents living in extreme poverty neighborhoods fell from 16.9% in 2010 to 0.0% in 2016. Meanwhile, the metro area’s poverty rate fell from 10.5% to 9.0%.

Over the same period, the concentrated poverty rate for North Dakota as a whole fell from 4.5% to 2.5%, the largest decline of any state other than Vermont. One factor contributing to the decline in poverty in North Dakota was the state’s oil production boom, which peaked in 2015. The state’s average annual GDP growth rate of 5.5% between 2010 and 2016 is by far the highest of any state.

Source: John Siegenthaler / Wikimedia Commons

35. Ohio: Mansfield
> 2010-2016 increase in concentrated poverty: +10.8 ppts (0.0% to 10.8%)
> 2010-2016 increase in concentrated poverty: +2,027 people (0 to 2,027)
> 2010-2016 avg. annual GDP growth: +0.7% (Ohio: +1.9%)
> Unemployment: 19.2% (poor neighborhoods) 7.9% (all other)

While in 2010 Mansfield had no extreme poverty neighborhoods — in which at least 40% of the population lives in poverty — two census tracts crossed that threshold over the last several years. Some 10.8% of the city’s 19,000 poor residents now live in extreme poverty. While Mansfield experienced the largest increase in concentrated poverty of any metro in Ohio, the share of poor residents living in extreme poverty neighborhoods remains below the comparable share statewide of 17.6% and the share nationwide of 11.6%, and it is the lowest of any city in the state.