The 15 US Cities Where Poor Neighborhoods Are Expanding Fastest


Suzie Tremmel | flickr

Raleigh from a distance

Poverty is stuck at record levels in America, and it's spreading in neighborhoods that are already blighted and impoverished, according to a new report from the Brookings Institution.

So-called concentrated poverty spurs high crime rates and can worsen health, schools, and housing conditions, according to Brookings. While poverty was once viewed as an urban problem, more and more of America's poor live in the suburbs.

The Brookings report analyzes the poverty levels in metro areas and their distressed neighborhoods, examining the change between 2000 and the period of 2008-2012, which includes an average from a five-year Census estimate and shows the effect of the recession.
Brookings looked at the change in poverty levels in neighborhoods described as distressed, where at least 40% of the population lives under the poverty line, and high-poverty, where at least 20% of the population is impoverished.

To get an idea of which U.S. cities have the fastest-growing rates of concentrated poverty, we ranked metro areas based on the change in poor population in tracts with poverty rates 20% or higher. We also included the change in poor population for the entire metro area. (Metro areas include both cities and their suburban outskirts.)

For the year 2013, the Census set the poverty level at $12,119 for a single person under the age of 65 and $24,028 for a family of four.