Special Report

Cities Hit Hardest by Extreme Poverty in Every State

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Montana: No metro area with concentrated poverty
> State poverty rate: 13.5%

None of Montana’s three metro areas — Billings, Great Falls, and Missoula — have a single neighborhood with a poverty rate of 40% or higher. In each of these cities, the poverty rate is inline with, or lower than, the 13.9% national poverty rate. As recently as 2013, both Great Falls and Missoula each had one high poverty neighborhood and concentrated poverty rates of 11.0% and 5.7% respectively. However, in the years since, economic conditions appear to have improved considerably in both metro areas as unemployment fell from 6.2% in 2013 to 4.2% in 2018 in Great Falls and from 9.4% to 4.1% in Missoula over the same five year period.

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Nebraska: Lincoln
> Concentrated poverty rate: 14.4% of poor pop. live in poor neighborhoods
> Overall poverty rate: 12.4% (state: 11.5%)
> Neighborhoods with concentrated poverty: 4 out of 73
> 2018 Census unemployment rate: 6.1% in poor neighborhoods; 2.8% in all other neighborhoods

Lincoln’s 14.4% concentrated poverty rate is the highest of any metro area in Nebraska. Financial hardship in Lincoln’s concentrated poverty neighborhoods is further evidenced by the share of residents dependent on government assistance. The SNAP recipiency rate in the metro area’s four concentrated poverty neighborhoods stands at 24.1%. Meanwhile, across the rest of the capital city metro area, just 7.3% of households receive SNAP benefits.

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Nevada: Las Vegas-Henderson-Paradise
> Concentrated poverty rate: 5.1% of poor pop. live in poor neighborhoods
> Overall poverty rate: 14.1% (state: 13.7%)
> Neighborhoods with concentrated poverty: 10 out of 487
> 2018 Census unemployment rate: 13.6% in poor neighborhoods; 7.2% in all other neighborhoods

Of the three metro areas in Nevada — Carson City, Las Vegas, and Reno — Las Vegas is the only one with neighborhoods where poverty rates are 40% or higher. A little over 5% of the nearly 300,000 Las Vegas metropolitan area residents living in poverty are in concentrated poverty neighborhoods, where barriers to upward economic mobility are often higher than normal.

For example, members of the labor force in high poverty neighborhoods in Las Vegas are nearly twice as likely to be unemployed than those in other parts of the city. Additionally, more than one in every three adults in high poverty neighborhoods in Las Vegas have not finished high school, compared to just 14% of adults in the city’s other, less economically challenged areas.

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New Hampshire: Manchester-Nashua
> Concentrated poverty rate: 2.9% of poor pop. live in poor neighborhoods
> Overall poverty rate: 8.1% (state: 7.7%)
> Neighborhoods with concentrated poverty: 1 out of 85
> 2018 Census unemployment rate: 10.1% in poor neighborhoods; 4.3% in all other neighborhoods

Manchester is the only metro area in New Hampshire and ranks as having the worst concentrated poverty in the state by default. There is one neighborhood in the city characterized by concentrated poverty, and it is home to 2.9% of the metro area’s 32,560 residents who live below the poverty line. Economic opportunity tends to be scarce in high-poverty communities. Members of the labor force living in Manchester’s poorest neighborhood are more than twice as likely to be unemployed as those in the rest of the metro area.

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New Jersey: Trenton
> Concentrated poverty rate: 17.2% of poor pop. live in poor neighborhoods
> Overall poverty rate: 11.4% (state: 10.4%)
> Neighborhoods with concentrated poverty: 5 out of 75
> 2018 Census unemployment rate: 18.8% in poor neighborhoods; 6.3% in all other neighborhoods

In Trenton, New Jersey, 39,741 people live in poverty — and 17.2% of them also reside in concentrated poverty neighborhoods where upward economic mobility is especially difficult.

Economic segregation in Trenton is highlighted by disparity in income from neighborhood to neighborhood. Across the metro area’s concentrated poverty neighborhoods, the average annual household income is just $36,121 — a fraction of the average income of $118,989 in the rest of the city.

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