There are an estimated 39.5 million Americans living below the poverty line, which, in the lower 48 states, is an annual income threshold of $12,880 for an individual and $26,500 for a family of four (Alaska and Hawaii have a slightly higher threshold). Living in poverty can have serious consequences and impacts nearly every aspect of life -- and those problems can be compounded for those who are facing poverty while also living in very poor neighborhoods.

Residents of poor neighborhoods often struggle with higher crime rates, limited employment opportunities, lower school quality, and poor health outcomes. For those living on poverty level income, each of these factors reduces the likelihood of upward economic mobility.

Of the three metro areas in Montana, Great Falls is the only one with neighborhoods where 40% or more of the population live below the poverty line. Nearly 20% of the 10,600 people in Great Falls living below the poverty line are concentrated in just two neighborhoods.

In those two concentrated-poverty areas, the five-year average unemployment rate stands at 10.3%, more than triple the 3.3% jobless rate in the rest of the metro area.

All data used in this story are five-year estimates from the U.S. Census Bureau's 2019 American Community Survey. We only considered census tracts, or neighborhoods, with at least 500 people and college or graduate school enrollment below 50%. Metro areas were also excluded if over 25% of the population in tracts or neighborhoods of concentrated poverty were college or university students.

 

Metro area with worst extreme povertyPoor residents in high-poverty neighborhoodsOverall poverty rateOverall poverty rate, statewide
Alabama: Tuscaloosa16.7%18.2%16.7%
Alaska: NoneN/AN/A10.7%
Arizona: Phoenix9.9%13.6%15.1%
Arkansas: Little Rock7.8%15.0%17.0%
California: Fresno28.5%22.5%13.4%
Colorado: Pueblo5.9%18.8%10.3%
Connecticut: New Haven12.7%11.7%9.9%
Delaware: NoneN/AN/A11.8%
Florida: Tallahassee21.5%15.8%14.0%
Georgia: Albany35.3%24.2%15.1%
Hawaii: NoneN/AN/A9.4%
Idaho: NoneN/AN/A13.1%
Illinois: Danville20.6%18.9%12.5%
Indiana: Muncie18.7%17.2%13.4%
Iowa: Waterloo9.6%13.4%11.5%
Kansas: Wichita5.7%13.0%12.0%
Kentucky: Louisville11.2%12.3%17.3%
Louisiana: Monroe49.5%24.2%19.2%
Maine: Lewiston13.5%11.8%11.8%
Maryland: Baltimore9.3%10.0%9.2%
Massachusetts: Springfield23.4%14.8%10.3%
Michigan: Flint32.4%18.9%14.4%
Minnesota: Duluth7.9%13.0%9.7%
Mississippi: Jackson21.3%16.9%20.3%
Missouri: Cape Girardeau27.9%16.4%13.7%
Montana: Great Falls19.8%13.3%13.1%
Nebraska: Omaha3.8%10.3%11.1%
Nevada: Las Vegas5.1%13.7%13.1%
New Hampshire: Manchester2.9%7.8%7.6%
New Jersey: Trenton21.3%11.7%10.0%
New Mexico: Las Cruces26.1%26.3%19.1%
New York: Buffalo27.4%14.0%14.1%
North Carolina: Goldsboro12.5%20.2%14.7%
North Dakota: NoneN/AN/A10.7%
Ohio: Toledo26.0%16.0%14.0%
Oklahoma: Oklahoma City9.2%13.7%15.7%
Oregon: Medford2.3%15.5%13.2%
Pennsylvania: Reading28.8%12.0%12.4%
Rhode Island: Providence4.0%12.0%12.4%
South Carolina: Columbia7.9%14.4%15.2%
South Dakota: NoneN/AN/A13.1%
Tennessee: Memphis24.6%17.5%15.2%
Texas: Laredo46.4%27.5%14.7%
Utah: NoneN/AN/A9.8%
Vermont: NoneN/AN/A10.9%
Virginia: Roanoke15.9%12.9%10.6%
Washington: Yakima8.5%17.4%10.8%
West Virginia: Huntington14.8%18.8%17.6%
Wisconsin: Milwaukee17.4%13.1%11.3%
Wyoming: NoneN/AN/A11.0%