(The Center Square) – The share of Pennsylvania residents living in economically distressed ZIP codes stands at 16.5%, the 19th highest percentage among the 50 states and District of Columbia, according to a study from the advocacy organization Economic Innovation Group.

More than 50% of the 50.5 million Americans living in distressed ZIP codes are people of color, the group’s Distressed Communities Index report found, and many of the gaps between the nation’s Black and white households have widened between the years 2000 and 2018. The index divides ZIP codes into the following groupings: prosperous, comfortable, mid-tier, at risk and distressed.

Geographic prosperity in the nation has shifted to states in the Northwest such as Idaho, Montana, Washington and Oregon, according to the report. In addition, urban areas have accumulated an increased share of prosperity, and states with large cities benefited from the trend, researchers found.

Distressed communities, on average, have a quarter of their residents living in poverty, the study found, and 35% of their key working-age populations are unemployed. 

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Share of State Populations Living in Distressed ZIP Codes

RankState / Territory% of Residents Living in Distressed Zip Codes
1Mississippi45.4%
2West Virginia43.8%
3Louisiana39.1%
4Alabama38.2%
5Kentucky37.2%
6New Mexico37.0%
7Arkansas33.2%
8Oklahoma31.9%
9Rhode Island27.0%
10Texas24.5%
11Missouri23.0%
12South Carolina22.5%
13Illinois22.1%
14Tennessee21.3%
15Georgia20.8%
16Ohio19.2%
17Indiana18.5%
18North Carolina17.6%
19 (tie)Arizona16.5%
19 (tie)Pennsylvania16.5%
21Michigan16.4%
22Nevada16.2%
23Kansas15.0%
24Virginia14.9%
25District of Columbia14.7%
26Connecticut13.8%
27New York11.6%
28New Jersey11.3%
29Florida9.6%
30Delaware8.7%
31Montana8.3%
32 (tie)Wisconsin8.2%
32 (tie)Maryland8.2%
34California8.0%
35Massachusetts7.9%
36Alaska7.7%
37Wyoming7.6%
38Maine7.3%
39South Dakota7.2%
40Iowa6.0%
41 (tie)Colorado4.2%
41 (tie)Oregon4.2%
43 (tie)New Hampshire4.1%
43 (tie)Nebraska4.1%
45North Dakota3.2%
46Idaho3.0%
47Minnesota2.9%
48 (tie)Utah2.7%
48 (tie)Washington2.7%
50Vermont2.0%
51Hawaii0.6%

Source: Economic Innovation Group