Special Report

Cities Hit Hardest by Extreme Poverty in Every State

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Colorado: Pueblo
> Concentrated poverty rate: 9.3% of poor pop. live in poor neighborhoods
> Overall poverty rate: 18.9% (state: 10.7%)
> Neighborhoods with concentrated poverty: 3 out of 53
> 2018 Census unemployment rate: 16.1% in poor neighborhoods; 8.1% in all other neighborhoods

Pueblo is by far the poorest metropolitan area in Colorado — and it also has the worst economic segregation of any metro area in the state. The metro area’s poverty rate of 18.9% is well above the state poverty rate of 10.7%. Of the more than 30,000 people living in poverty in the metro area, 9.3% live in communities with poverty rates of at least 40%.

Job opportunities appear scarce in Pueblo’s high poverty neighborhoods. The unemployment rate in the metro area’s poorest areas stands at 16.1%, nearly double the jobless rate in the communities with poverty rates under 40%.

Source: John Phelan / Wikimedia Commons

Connecticut: Hartford-West Hartford-East Hartford
> Concentrated poverty rate: 9.2% of poor pop. live in poor neighborhoods
> Overall poverty rate: 10.0% (state: 10.0%)
> Neighborhoods with concentrated poverty: 9 out of 283
> 2018 Census unemployment rate: 17.0% in poor neighborhoods; 5.9% in all other neighborhoods

Nearly one in every 10 of the 115,657 people living on poverty level income in the Hartford metro area reside in communities with poverty rates of 40% or greater. Income inequality between the metro area’s neighborhoods is high. The average annual household income in the metro area’s concentrated poverty neighborhoods is just $37,810 compared to $101,865 in all the other neighborhoods across the metro area.

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Delaware: No metro area with concentrated poverty
> Overall poverty rate: 11.6%

Dover is the only metro area in Delaware, and every neighborhood in the city has a poverty rate below 40%. The absence of concentrated poverty in the city is a marked improvement from a half decade ago, when the area had one Census tract of concentrated poverty, home to about 5% of the metro area’s population living in poverty. The decline in concentrated poverty in Dover may be due to an improved job market. According to the U.S. Census Bureau, unemployment in the metro area was 9.8% in 2013, well above the 5.9% rate in 2018, the most recent year of available data.

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Florida: Tallahassee
> Concentrated poverty rate: 16.7% of poor pop. live in poor neighborhoods
> Overall poverty rate: 15.7% (state: 14.6%)
> Neighborhoods with concentrated poverty: 6 out of 75
> 2018 Census unemployment rate: 18.0% in poor neighborhoods; 5.9% in all other neighborhoods

There are six neighborhoods in the Tallahassee metro area in which over 40% of the population lives below the poverty line. Residents of these neighborhoods include 16.7% of the more than 50,000 metro area residents who live below the poverty line.

Incomes tend to rise with educational attainment. In the Tallahassee communities that are characterized by concentrated poverty, just 14.1% of adults have a bachelor’s degree or higher, less than half the 39.1% share of adults in neighborhoods across the metro area where the poverty rate is lower than 40%.

Source: Khtexg98537 / Wikimedia Commons

Georgia: Albany
> Concentrated poverty rate: 38.2% of poor pop. live in poor neighborhoods
> Overall poverty rate: 25.2% (state: 15.9%)
> Neighborhoods with concentrated poverty: 9 out of 43
> 2018 Census unemployment rate: 21.4% in poor neighborhoods; 9.2% in all other neighborhoods

People living in poverty in Albany, Georgia, are far more likely to live in close proximity to others who are also living below the poverty line than poverty-level residents of most other cities. Of the 37,204 Albany residents living on poverty level incomes, 38.2% live in concentrated poverty neighborhoods.

Opportunities for upward economic mobility appear to be scarce in Albany’s poorest communities. The unemployment rate in the metro area’s nine Census tracts with poverty rates of at least 40% stands at 21.4% — more than double the 9.2% jobless rate in the rest of the city.