The City Hit Hardest by Extreme Poverty in Every State

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36. Oklahoma: Oklahoma City
> 2010-2016 increase in concentrated poverty: +5.4 ppts (7.1% to 12.5%)
> 2010-2016 increase in concentrated poverty: +12,025 people (12,396 to 24,421)
> 2010-2016 avg. annual GDP growth: +2.7% (Oklahoma: +3.2%)
> Unemployment: 10.6% (poor neighborhoods) 5.1% (all other)

The number of extreme poverty neighborhoods — in which at least 40% of residents live at or below the poverty line — in Oklahoma City rose from 14 to 20 between 2010 and 2016. Over the same period, the share of the city’s poor who live in such neighborhoods rose from 7.1% to 12.1%, the largest increase of any metro area in Oklahoma. The national concentrated poverty rate, meanwhile, fell from 14.0% to 11.6%.

Like in most major urban areas, there is a large geographic disparity in education between Oklahoma City’s high- and low-income neighborhoods. While 29.9% of adults outside of extreme poverty neighborhoods in Oklahoma City have a bachelor’s degree, just 9.0% of adults within extreme poverty neighborhoods do.

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37. Oregon: Salem
> 2010-2016 increase in concentrated poverty: +6.7 ppts (0.0% to 6.7%)
> 2010-2016 increase in concentrated poverty: +4,412 people (0 to 4,412)
> 2010-2016 avg. annual GDP growth: +2.3% (Oregon: +1.4%)
> Unemployment: 20.2% (poor neighborhoods) 9.0% (all other)

In the majority of metro areas in Oregon, concentrated poverty rates either declined or remained flat from 2010 to 2016. Salem is a notable exception. In 2010, there were no neighborhoods in the Salem metro area with poverty rates of 40% or above. As of 2016, there were two, home to just over 4,400 people living below the poverty line.

Concentrated poverty climbed in Salem despite relatively rapid economic growth in recent years. The metro area reported nearly the highest-in-the-state GDP growth rates of 5.0% in 2014 and and 6.6% in 2015, largely offsetting weaker growth in previous years. Between 2010 and 2016, the average annual economic growth in the metro area was 2.3% — higher than the comparable national 2.0% growth rate and the statewide 1.4% average growth.

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38. Pennsylvania: Johnstown
> 2010-2016 increase in concentrated poverty: +14.2 ppts (8.3% to 22.5%)
> 2010-2016 increase in concentrated poverty: +3,004 people (1,555 to 4,559)
> 2010-2016 avg. annual GDP growth: -1.6% (Pennsylvania: +1.7%)
> Unemployment: 17.6% (poor neighborhoods) 7.8% (all other)

While the national concentrated poverty rate fell from 14.0% in 2010 to 11.6% in 2016, the share of poor residents living in extreme poverty neighborhoods in Johnstown rose from 8.3% to 22.5%, the largest increase of any metro area in Pennsylvania.

The increase in concentrated poverty affected the city’s minority population the most. While the white concentrated poverty rate in Johnstown rose from 6.8% in 2010 to 15.0% in 2016, the black concentrated poverty rate rose from 23.6% to 71.5% — today the highest such figure in Pennsylvania and the third highest in the nation.

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39. Rhode Island: no city with concentrated poverty increase

While concentrated poverty nationwide has increased faster in suburban areas than in rural areas over the past several years, concentrated poverty in Rhode Island’s one metro area fell even as it increased throughout the state as a whole. The share of poor residents living in extreme poverty neighborhoods in the Providence-Warwick metro area declined from 7.2% in 2010 to 5.4% in 2016, while the state’s concentrated poverty rate rose from 6.9% to 7.2%. The overall poverty rate, however, increased from 11.9% to 13.4% in Providence and decreased from 14.0% to 12.8% for Rhode Island as a whole.

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40. South Carolina: Greenville-Anderson-Mauldin
> 2010-2016 increase in concentrated poverty: +2.6 ppts (10.5% to 13.1%)
> 2010-2016 increase in concentrated poverty: +4,807 people (12,529 to 17,336)
> 2010-2016 avg. annual GDP growth: +2.5% (South Carolina: +2.1%)
> Unemployment: 11.0% (poor neighborhoods) 7.1% (all other)

The share of poor residents in the Greenville-Anderson-Mauldin metro area who live in extreme poverty neighborhoods — where at least 40% of the population is also poor — rose from 10.5% in 2010 to 13.1% in 2016, the largest increase of any metro area in South Carolina.

While increases in concentrated poverty can contribute to large socioeconomic disparities between low- and high-income areas, the regional gap in unemployment actually fell in Greenville over the past several years. The 2010 unemployment rate of 17.9% for extreme poverty neighborhoods in Greenville was more than twice the 8.6% unemployment rate for the city’s non-extreme poverty neighborhoods. Today, 11.0% of the labor force in extreme poverty neighborhoods is unemployed, compared to 7.1% outside of extreme poverty neighborhoods.