Cities with the highest poverty rates


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Editor’s note: This story originally appeared on Self.

During the COVID-19 pandemic, the US government has injected unprecedented amounts of financial relief to American families to stave off potential economic disaster.

From expansions of social safety net programs like unemployment insurance and food stamps to multiple rounds of direct payments, the multiple relief packages Congress has introduced over the past year have helped put many families on a better financial footing.

An early analysis of these policies suggests that one of the groups that has benefited most from these relief efforts is poor American citizens. A recent report from the Urban Institute estimated that as a result of these investments, America’s poverty rate will drop to 7.7% in 2021, the lowest ever.

This decrease in the poverty rate would represent an acceleration of a more gradual trend that has occurred in the past few years. The poverty rate rose to nearly 16% in the wake of the Great Recession of 2007-2009.

By 2019, after a steady but slow economic recovery over the past decade, the poverty rate had fallen to 12.3%. But while overall trends are promising, that number still represents about 40 million Americans, and poverty affects some residents more than others.

To find the cities with the highest poverty rates, researchers at Self analyzed data from the US Census Bureau’s American Community Survey. The researchers examined poverty rates in all cities with a population of at least 100,000 and collected data on both the percentage, the number of people living in poverty overall, children, and racial or ethnic minorities.

Here are the cities with the highest poverty rates.

15. Dallas, Texas

Record hail hits in Dallas in February 2021.
Marouanesetti / Shutterstock.com
  • General poverty rate: 17.5%
  • Child poverty rate: 27.8%
  • Minority Poverty Rate: 21.5%
  • Total population below poverty level: 232209
  • Total children below the poverty level: 91.035
  • Total minority population below poverty level: 203,210

14. El Paso, Texas

El Paso, Texas
BrianWancho / Shutterstock.com
  • General poverty rate: 18.6%
  • Child poverty rate: 26.9%
  • Minority Poverty Rate: 19.7%
  • Total population below poverty level: 125140
  • Total children below the poverty level: 47771
  • Total minority population below poverty level: 116228

13. Tulsa, okay

Tulsa Oklahoma
Select 30 / Shutterstock.com
  • General poverty rate: 18.6%
  • Child poverty rate: 27.1%
  • Minority Poverty Rate: 27.0%
  • Total population below poverty level: 73.586
  • Total children below the poverty level: 26,546
  • Total minority population below poverty level: 48805

12. Tucson, Arizona

Tucson
Chris Rubino / Shutterstock.com
  • General poverty rate: 19.1%
  • Child poverty rate: 25.8%
  • Minority Poverty Rate: 22.0%
  • Total population below poverty level: 99.524
  • Total children below the poverty level: 27709
  • Total minority population below poverty level: 67414

11. Houston, Texas

Joseph Som / Shutterstock.com
  • General poverty rate: 19.7%
  • Child poverty rate: 28.9%
  • Minority Poverty Rate: 23.3%
  • Total population below poverty level: 449733
  • Total children below the poverty level: 163139
  • Total minority population below poverty level: 408445

10. Baltimore, Maryland

Baltimore, Maryland
Hethers / Shutterstock.com
  • General poverty rate: 20.2%
  • Child poverty rate: 30.5%
  • Minority Poverty Rate: 24.0%
  • Total population below poverty level: 115472
  • Total children below the poverty level: 35834
  • Total minority population below poverty level: 99772

9. Atlanta, Georgia

Atlanta, Georgia, Piedmont Park skyline, autumn
Sean Pavone / Shutterstock.com
  • General poverty rate: 20.2%
  • Child poverty rate: 34.9%
  • Minority Poverty Rate: 28.7%
  • Total population below poverty level: 95.034
  • Total children below the poverty level: 29729
  • Total minority population below poverty level: 82132

8. Miami, Florida

GagliardiImages / Shutterstock.com
  • General poverty rate: 20.3%
  • Child poverty rate: 25.6%
  • Minority Poverty Rate: 22.2%
  • Total population below poverty level: 94209
  • Total children below the poverty level: 20409
  • Total minority population below poverty level: 89,054

7. Memphis, Tennessee

Memphis, Tennessee
Sean Pavone / Shutterstock.com
  • General poverty rate: 21.7%
  • Child poverty rate: 35.0%
  • Minority Poverty Rate: 26.0%
  • Total population below poverty level: 137,977
  • Total children below the poverty level: 53531
  • Total minority population below poverty level: 122,624

6. Milwaukee, Wisconsin

Milwaukee, Wisconsin
Rudy Balasco / Shutterstock.com
  • General poverty rate: 22.4%
  • Child poverty rate: 32.6%
  • Minority Poverty Rate: 27.4%
  • Total population below poverty level: 128555
  • Total children below the poverty level: 47314
  • Total minority population below poverty level: 103,372

5. New Orleans, Los Angeles

Stormy skies in New Orleans, Louisiana
Photo by GJGK / Shutterstock.com
  • General poverty rate: 23.2%
  • Child poverty rate: 33.1%
  • Minority Poverty Rate: 29.2%
  • Total population below poverty level: 88.044
  • Total children below the poverty level: 25143
  • Total minority population below poverty level: 76819

4. Fresno, California

Fresno, California
Tupungato / Shutterstock.com
  • General poverty rate: 23.2%
  • Child poverty rate: 32.2%
  • Minority Poverty Rate: 26.7%
  • Total population below poverty level: 121.007
  • Total children below the poverty level: 46993
  • Total minority population below poverty level: 102304

3. Philadelphia, Pennsylvania

Philadelphia, evening rush hour downtown.
Sean Pavone / Shutterstock.com
  • General poverty rate: 23.3%
  • Child poverty rate: 32.1%
  • Minority Poverty Rate: 28.8%
  • Total population below poverty level: 359011
  • Total children below the poverty level: 106909
  • Total minority population below poverty level: 292706

2. Detroit, Michigan

Harold Stiver / Shutterstock.com
  • General poverty rate: 30.6%
  • Child poverty rate: 43.2%
  • Minority Poverty Rate: 30.7%
  • Total population below poverty level: 201.766
  • Total children below the poverty level: 70713
  • Total minority population below poverty level: 182.035

1. Cleveland, Ohio

Cleveland, Ohio
Rudy Balasco / Shutterstock.com
  • General poverty rate: 30.8%
  • Child poverty rate: 46.1%
  • Minority Poverty Rate: 36.3%
  • Total population below poverty level: 114309
  • Total children below the poverty level: 37664
  • Total minority population below poverty level: 91.786

methodology

Man, analyzing data on a laptop
fizkes / Shutterstock.com

Poverty rates by age, race, and over time are from the US Census Bureau’s American Community Survey.

To determine the locations with the highest poverty rates, the researchers looked at the overall poverty rate for all cities with at least 100,000 residents.

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