The World Bank predicts that the effects of the pandemic will have pushed somewhere between 88 million and 115 million people worldwide into extreme poverty some time this year. A number of Americans could certainly be among those falling into poverty. Even before the spread of COVID-19, parts of the country already struggled much more with poverty than the nation overall.
The U.S. poverty rate, which was 12.3% in 2019, has likely increased as a result of the pandemic. And in historically impoverished metropolitan areas that were reportedly affected disproportionately by the virus, the poverty rate could increase even more.
To determine the metro with the highest poverty rate in every state, 24/7 Wall St. reviewed one-year estimates of the percentage of people who live below the poverty line in each metropolitan area from the U.S. Census Bureau’s 2019 American Community Survey. It should be noted that a number of states only have one metropolitan area, so that metro ranks as the poorest by default only.
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.
Poverty can be found all across the country. Still, in some states, even the poorest metro area has a lower poverty rate than the U.S. as a whole. In Nebraska, for example, the poorest metropolitan area — Lincoln — has a poverty rate of 10.6%, compared to the national poverty rate of 12.3%. Generally speaking, the metro areas on this list with lower poverty rates are in states with relatively low poverty as well. Nebraska is one of 11 states with a poverty rate under 10%.