Special Report

Cities With the Lowest Poverty Rates

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The COVID-19 pandemic brought an abrupt end to an era of relative prosperity in the United States. After years of steady economic expansion and job growth, the U.S. poverty rate stood at 12.3% in 2019 — its lowest level in over a decade and a half. 

This year, between May and October alone, the number of Americans living below the poverty line spiked by an estimated 8 million, according to researchers at Columbia University.

While the economic fallout tied to the COVID-19 pandemic will likely drive up the poverty rate nationwide, there are some cities where residents are far less likely to live in poverty than the typical American. 

24/7 Wall St. reviewed the share of residents living below the poverty line in all 384 U.S. metro areas to identify the 50 cities with the lowest poverty rates. In the case of a tie, the metro area with a higher median household income ranked higher. In each of the metro areas on this list, the poverty rate is 9.2% or lower. For reference, the U.S. Department of Health and Human services sets the official poverty threshold at an annual income of no more than approximately $26,000 for a family of four. 

Data on poverty, median household income, and SNAP recipiency are all from the U.S. Census Bureau’s 2019 American Community Survey. SNAP is the government’s Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program, formerly known as food stamps. Seasonally adjusted October, 2020 unemployment rates are from the Bureau of Labor Statistics. 

Exactly how the COVID-19 recession will impact the official 2020 poverty rate — both in the metro areas on this list and across the U.S. as a whole — remains to be seen. However, poverty tends to rise with unemployment, and the job markets in the metro areas on this list are relatively strong. Only 10 of the 50 cities on this list had a higher unemployment rate in October than comparable national jobless rate of 6.9%. Here is a look at the cities with the worst COVID-19 unemployment crisis right now

Not only do these cities have lower than average poverty rates, they also tend to have relatively high incomes overall. Residents in these cities are therefore less likely to depend on government assistance programs like SNAP — both relative to the rest of the state and the U.S. as a whole. Here is a look at the richest city in every state

Click here to see the cities with the lowest poverty rates.

50. Elkhart-Goshen, IN
> Poverty rate: 9.2% (Indiana: 11.9%)
> Oct. 2020 unemployment: 4.7% (Indiana: 5.0%)
> Households receiving SNAP benefits: 6.3% (Indiana: 8.5%)
> Median household income: $54,531 (Indiana: $57,603)

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49. North Port-Sarasota-Bradenton, FL
> Poverty rate: 9.2% (Florida: 12.7%)
> Oct. 2020 unemployment: 5.0% (Florida: 6.5%)
> Households receiving SNAP benefits: 6.6% (Florida: 11.8%)
> Median household income: $65,526 (Florida: $59,227)

48. Harrisburg-Carlisle, PA
> Poverty rate: 9.2% (Pennsylvania: 12.0%)
> Oct. 2020 unemployment: 5.9% (Pennsylvania: 7.3%)
> Households receiving SNAP benefits: 8.5% (Pennsylvania: 13.5%)
> Median household income: $67,069 (Pennsylvania: $63,463)

47. Olympia-Lacey-Tumwater, WA
> Poverty rate: 9.2% (Washington: 9.8%)
> Oct. 2020 unemployment: 6.3% (Washington: 6.0%)
> Households receiving SNAP benefits: 12.1% (Washington: 10.6%)
> Median household income: $78,512 (Washington: $78,687)

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46. Omaha-Council Bluffs, NE-IA
> Poverty rate: 9.1% (Nebraska: 9.9%)
> Oct. 2020 unemployment: 3.4% (Nebraska: 3.0%)
> Households receiving SNAP benefits: 7.9% (Nebraska: 7.6%)
> Median household income: $70,373 (Nebraska: $63,229)

45. Bridgeport-Stamford-Norwalk, CT
> Poverty rate: 9.1% (Connecticut: 10.0%)
> Oct. 2020 unemployment: 6.6% (Connecticut: 6.1%)
> Households receiving SNAP benefits: 8.3% (Connecticut: 11.1%)
> Median household income: $97,053 (Connecticut: $78,833)

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44. Port St. Lucie, FL
> Poverty rate: 8.9% (Florida: 12.7%)
> Oct. 2020 unemployment: 5.3% (Florida: 6.5%)
> Households receiving SNAP benefits: 10.9% (Florida: 11.8%)
> Median household income: $62,608 (Florida: $59,227)

43. Madison, WI
> Poverty rate: 8.9% (Wisconsin: 10.4%)
> Oct. 2020 unemployment: 4.2% (Wisconsin: 5.7%)
> Households receiving SNAP benefits: 5.4% (Wisconsin: 9.4%)
> Median household income: $75,545 (Wisconsin: $64,168)

42. Raleigh-Cary, NC
> Poverty rate: 8.9% (North Carolina: 13.6%)
> Oct. 2020 unemployment: 5.6% (North Carolina: 6.3%)
> Households receiving SNAP benefits: 7.3% (North Carolina: 11.6%)
> Median household income: $80,096 (North Carolina: $57,341)

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41. Vallejo, CA
> Poverty rate: 8.9% (California: 11.8%)
> Oct. 2020 unemployment: 8.6% (California: 9.3%)
> Households receiving SNAP benefits: 6.2% (California: 8.4%)
> Median household income: $86,652 (California: $80,440)

40. Lewiston-Auburn, ME
> Poverty rate: 8.8% (Maine: 10.9%)
> Oct. 2020 unemployment: 5.6% (Maine: 5.4%)
> Households receiving SNAP benefits: 13.4% (Maine: 12.3%)
> Median household income: $63,813 (Maine: $58,924)

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39. Ocean City, NJ
> Poverty rate: 8.8% (New Jersey: 9.2%)
> Oct. 2020 unemployment: 9.8% (New Jersey: 8.2%)
> Households receiving SNAP benefits: 9.3% (New Jersey: 7.4%)
> Median household income: $69,980 (New Jersey: $85,751)

38. Palm Bay-Melbourne-Titusville, FL
> Poverty rate: 8.7% (Florida: 12.7%)
> Oct. 2020 unemployment: 5.2% (Florida: 6.5%)
> Households receiving SNAP benefits: 8.6% (Florida: 11.8%)
> Median household income: $57,305 (Florida: $59,227)

37. Des Moines-West Des Moines, IA
> Poverty rate: 8.7% (Iowa: 11.2%)
> Oct. 2020 unemployment: 3.7% (Iowa: 3.6%)
> Households receiving SNAP benefits: 9.6% (Iowa: 9.5%)
> Median household income: $71,164 (Iowa: $61,691)

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36. Casper, WY
> Poverty rate: 8.6% (Wyoming: 10.1%)
> Oct. 2020 unemployment: 8.5% (Wyoming: 5.5%)
> Households receiving SNAP benefits: 4.1% (Wyoming: 4.7%)
> Median household income: $65,034 (Wyoming: $65,003)

35. Winchester, VA-WV
> Poverty rate: 8.6% (Virginia: 9.9%)
> Oct. 2020 unemployment: 4.0% (Virginia: 5.3%)
> Households receiving SNAP benefits: 7.0% (Virginia: 7.8%)
> Median household income: $76,583 (Virginia: $76,456)

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34. Salt Lake City, UT
> Poverty rate: 8.6% (Utah: 8.9%)
> Oct. 2020 unemployment: 4.4% (Utah: 4.1%)
> Households receiving SNAP benefits: 4.9% (Utah: 5.5%)
> Median household income: $80,196 (Utah: $75,780)

33. Boston-Cambridge-Newton, MA-NH
> Poverty rate: 8.6% (Massachusetts: 9.4%)
> Oct. 2020 unemployment: 7.0% (Massachusetts: 7.4%)
> Households receiving SNAP benefits: 9.0% (Massachusetts: 11.2%)
> Median household income: $94,430 (Massachusetts: $85,843)

32. Idaho Falls, ID
> Poverty rate: 8.5% (Idaho: 11.2%)
> Oct. 2020 unemployment: 4.2% (Idaho: 5.5%)
> Households receiving SNAP benefits: 8.0% (Idaho: 8.3%)
> Median household income: $63,616 (Idaho: $60,999)

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31. Colorado Springs, CO
> Poverty rate: 8.4% (Colorado: 9.3%)
> Oct. 2020 unemployment: 6.3% (Colorado: 6.4%)
> Households receiving SNAP benefits: 8.4% (Colorado: 6.9%)
> Median household income: $72,633 (Colorado: $77,127)

30. Minneapolis-St. Paul-Bloomington, MN-WI
> Poverty rate: 8.2% (Minnesota: 9.0%)
> Oct. 2020 unemployment: 4.8% (Minnesota: 4.6%)
> Households receiving SNAP benefits: 6.9% (Minnesota: 7.4%)
> Median household income: $83,698 (Minnesota: $74,593)

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29. San Francisco-Oakland-Berkeley, CA
> Poverty rate: 8.2% (California: 11.8%)
> Oct. 2020 unemployment: 7.3% (California: 9.3%)
> Households receiving SNAP benefits: 4.8% (California: 8.4%)
> Median household income: $114,696 (California: $80,440)

28. The Villages, FL
> Poverty rate: 8.1% (Florida: 12.7%)
> Oct. 2020 unemployment: 6.1% (Florida: 6.5%)
> Households receiving SNAP benefits: 4.1% (Florida: 11.8%)
> Median household income: $60,287 (Florida: $59,227)

27. Urban Honolulu, HI
> Poverty rate: 8.1% (Hawaii: 9.3%)
> Oct. 2020 unemployment: 12.2% (Hawaii: 14.3%)
> Households receiving SNAP benefits: 9.0% (Hawaii: 10.4%)
> Median household income: $87,470 (Hawaii: $83,102)

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26. Sheboygan, WI
> Poverty rate: 8.0% (Wisconsin: 10.4%)
> Oct. 2020 unemployment: 4.2% (Wisconsin: 5.7%)
> Households receiving SNAP benefits: 8.5% (Wisconsin: 9.4%)
> Median household income: $60,706 (Wisconsin: $64,168)

25. Wausau-Weston, WI
> Poverty rate: 8.0% (Wisconsin: 10.4%)
> Oct. 2020 unemployment: 4.1% (Wisconsin: 5.7%)
> Households receiving SNAP benefits: 6.9% (Wisconsin: 9.4%)
> Median household income: $65,094 (Wisconsin: $64,168)

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24. Greeley, CO
> Poverty rate: 7.9% (Colorado: 9.3%)
> Oct. 2020 unemployment: 6.6% (Colorado: 6.4%)
> Households receiving SNAP benefits: 5.2% (Colorado: 6.9%)
> Median household income: $78,615 (Colorado: $77,127)

23. Denver-Aurora-Lakewood, CO
> Poverty rate: 7.9% (Colorado: 9.3%)
> Oct. 2020 unemployment: 6.7% (Colorado: 6.4%)
> Households receiving SNAP benefits: 5.6% (Colorado: 6.9%)
> Median household income: $85,641 (Colorado: $77,127)

22. Oxnard-Thousand Oaks-Ventura, CA
> Poverty rate: 7.9% (California: 11.8%)
> Oct. 2020 unemployment: 7.2% (California: 9.3%)
> Households receiving SNAP benefits: 6.5% (California: 8.4%)
> Median household income: $92,236 (California: $80,440)

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21. Seattle-Tacoma-Bellevue, WA
> Poverty rate: 7.8% (Washington: 9.8%)
> Oct. 2020 unemployment: 5.9% (Washington: 6.0%)
> Households receiving SNAP benefits: 8.7% (Washington: 10.6%)
> Median household income: $94,027 (Washington: $78,687)

20. Sioux Falls, SD
> Poverty rate: 7.7% (South Dakota: 11.9%)
> Oct. 2020 unemployment: 3.3% (South Dakota: 3.6%)
> Households receiving SNAP benefits: 9.1% (South Dakota: 8.7%)
> Median household income: $65,566 (South Dakota: $59,533)

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19. Portland-South Portland, ME
> Poverty rate: 7.7% (Maine: 10.9%)
> Oct. 2020 unemployment: 4.9% (Maine: 5.4%)
> Households receiving SNAP benefits: 8.3% (Maine: 12.3%)
> Median household income: $71,913 (Maine: $58,924)

18. Washington-Arlington-Alexandria, DC-VA-MD-WV
> Poverty rate: 7.5% (District of Columbia: .)
> Oct. 2020 unemployment: 6.9% (District of Columbia: .)
> Households receiving SNAP benefits: 6.2% (District of Columbia: .)
> Median household income: $105,659 (District of Columbia: .)

17. Staunton, VA
> Poverty rate: 7.3% (Virginia: 9.9%)
> Oct. 2020 unemployment: 4.1% (Virginia: 5.3%)
> Households receiving SNAP benefits: 10.0% (Virginia: 7.8%)
> Median household income: $57,844 (Virginia: $76,456)

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16. Manchester-Nashua, NH
> Poverty rate: 7.3% (New Hampshire: 7.3%)
> Oct. 2020 unemployment: 4.2% (New Hampshire: 4.2%)
> Households receiving SNAP benefits: 6.2% (New Hampshire: 6.0%)
> Median household income: $83,626 (New Hampshire: $77,933)

15. California-Lexington Park, MD
> Poverty rate: 7.3% (Maryland: 9.0%)
> Oct. 2020 unemployment: 5.3% (Maryland: 7.8%)
> Households receiving SNAP benefits: 9.4% (Maryland: 9.8%)
> Median household income: $87,947 (Maryland: $86,738)

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14. Gettysburg, PA
> Poverty rate: 7.2% (Pennsylvania: 12.0%)
> Oct. 2020 unemployment: 4.8% (Pennsylvania: 7.3%)
> Households receiving SNAP benefits: 6.9% (Pennsylvania: 13.5%)
> Median household income: $67,715 (Pennsylvania: $63,463)

13. Appleton, WI
> Poverty rate: 7.2% (Wisconsin: 10.4%)
> Oct. 2020 unemployment: 4.3% (Wisconsin: 5.7%)
> Households receiving SNAP benefits: 5.8% (Wisconsin: 9.4%)
> Median household income: $68,335 (Wisconsin: $64,168)

12. Norwich-New London, CT
> Poverty rate: 7.2% (Connecticut: 10.0%)
> Oct. 2020 unemployment: 7.1% (Connecticut: 6.1%)
> Households receiving SNAP benefits: 10.9% (Connecticut: 11.1%)
> Median household income: $75,633 (Connecticut: $78,833)

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11. Rochester, MN
> Poverty rate: 6.9% (Minnesota: 9.0%)
> Oct. 2020 unemployment: 4.2% (Minnesota: 4.6%)
> Households receiving SNAP benefits: 6.2% (Minnesota: 7.4%)
> Median household income: $75,926 (Minnesota: $74,593)

10. Bremerton-Silverdale-Port Orchard, WA
> Poverty rate: 6.9% (Washington: 9.8%)
> Oct. 2020 unemployment: 5.9% (Washington: 6.0%)
> Households receiving SNAP benefits: 7.8% (Washington: 10.6%)
> Median household income: $79,624 (Washington: $78,687)

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9. Chambersburg-Waynesboro, PA
> Poverty rate: 6.8% (Pennsylvania: 12.0%)
> Oct. 2020 unemployment: 6.2% (Pennsylvania: 7.3%)
> Households receiving SNAP benefits: 10.5% (Pennsylvania: 13.5%)
> Median household income: $62,484 (Pennsylvania: $63,463)

8. Santa Rosa-Petaluma, CA
> Poverty rate: 6.8% (California: 11.8%)
> Oct. 2020 unemployment: 6.4% (California: 9.3%)
> Households receiving SNAP benefits: 4.9% (California: 8.4%)
> Median household income: $87,828 (California: $80,440)

7. Napa, CA
> Poverty rate: 6.8% (California: 11.8%)
> Oct. 2020 unemployment: 7.2% (California: 9.3%)
> Households receiving SNAP benefits: 1.7% (California: 8.4%)
> Median household income: $92,769 (California: $80,440)

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6. San Jose-Sunnyvale-Santa Clara, CA
> Poverty rate: 6.3% (California: 11.8%)
> Oct. 2020 unemployment: 6.0% (California: 9.3%)
> Households receiving SNAP benefits: 3.9% (California: 8.4%)
> Median household income: $130,865 (California: $80,440)

5. Fond du Lac, WI
> Poverty rate: 6.2% (Wisconsin: 10.4%)
> Oct. 2020 unemployment: 4.1% (Wisconsin: 5.7%)
> Households receiving SNAP benefits: 7.2% (Wisconsin: 9.4%)
> Median household income: $65,329 (Wisconsin: $64,168)

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4. Bismarck, ND
> Poverty rate: 5.9% (North Dakota: 10.6%)
> Oct. 2020 unemployment: 4.0% (North Dakota: 4.8%)
> Households receiving SNAP benefits: 5.2% (North Dakota: 6.9%)
> Median household income: $70,979 (North Dakota: $64,577)

3. Fairbanks, AK
> Poverty rate: 5.9% (Alaska: 10.1%)
> Oct. 2020 unemployment: 4.8% (Alaska: 5.9%)
> Households receiving SNAP benefits: 6.3% (Alaska: 10.3%)
> Median household income: $72,065 (Alaska: $75,463)

2. Ogden-Clearfield, UT
> Poverty rate: 5.6% (Utah: 8.9%)
> Oct. 2020 unemployment: 3.7% (Utah: 4.1%)
> Households receiving SNAP benefits: 5.8% (Utah: 5.5%)
> Median household income: $79,251 (Utah: $75,780)

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1. Barnstable Town, MA
> Poverty rate: 5.2% (Massachusetts: 9.4%)
> Oct. 2020 unemployment: 7.9% (Massachusetts: 7.4%)
> Households receiving SNAP benefits: 5.2% (Massachusetts: 11.2%)
> Median household income: $85,042 (Massachusetts: $85,843)

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