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The south side of the 200 block of West Broad Avenue in downtown Albany has a mix of small businesses and abandoned buildings. A recent study shows Albany has the highest concentrated poverty rate in Georgia and one of the highest rates in the nation.

ALBANY — 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.

Albany has the highest concentrated poverty rate of any metro area in Georgia and one of the highest of any metro area nationwide. There are nine neighborhoods in the city with poverty rates of 40% and up — and they are home to more than one-third of the 34,600 people in the metro area living below the poverty line.

Many living in Albany’s high-poverty neighborhoods face barriers to economic opportunity due to low educational attainment. For example, less than three-quarters of adults in neighborhoods with poverty rates of 40% or higher have a high school diploma compared to about 87% of adults in the rest of the city. Additionally, the share of adults with a four-year college education in Albany is more than double the share of adults with such a degree living in the city’s concentrated poverty neighborhoods.

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

Metro area with worst extreme poverty — Poor residents in high-poverty neighborhoods — Overall poverty rate — Overall poverty rate, statewide:

♦ Alabama: Tuscaloosa 16.7% 18.2% 16.7%

♦ Alaska: None N/A N/A 10.7%

♦ Arizona: Phoenix 9.9% 13.6% 15.1%

♦ Arkansas: Little Rock 7.8% 15.0% 17.0%

♦ California: Fresno 28.5% 22.5% 13.4%

♦ Colorado: Pueblo 5.9% 18.8% 10.3%

♦ Connecticut: New Haven 12.7% 11.7% 9.9%

♦ Delaware: None N/A N/A 11.8%

♦ Florida: Tallahassee 21.5% 15.8% 14.0%

♦ Georgia: Albany 35.3% 24.2% 15.1%

♦ Hawaii: None N/A N/A 9.4%

♦ Idaho: None N/A N/A 13.1%

♦ Illinois: Danville 20.6% 18.9% 12.5%

♦ Indiana: Muncie 18.7% 17.2% 13.4%

♦ Iowa: Waterloo 9.6% 13.4% 11.5%

♦ Kansas: Wichita 5.7% 13.0% 12.0%

♦ Kentucky: Louisville 11.2% 12.3% 17.3%

♦ Louisiana: Monroe 49.5% 24.2% 19.2%

♦ Maine: Lewiston 13.5% 11.8% 11.8%

♦ Maryland: Baltimore 9.3% 10.0% 9.2%

♦ Massachusetts: Springfield 23.4% 14.8% 10.3%

♦ Michigan: Flint 32.4% 18.9% 14.4%

♦ Minnesota: Duluth 7.9% 13.0% 9.7%

♦ Mississippi: Jackson 21.3% 16.9% 20.3%

♦ Missouri: Cape Girardeau 27.9% 16.4% 13.7%

♦ Montana: Great Falls 19.8% 13.3% 13.1%

♦ Nebraska: Omaha 3.8% 10.3% 11.1%

♦ Nevada: Las Vegas 5.1% 13.7% 13.1%

♦ New Hampshire: Manchester 2.9% 7.8% 7.6%

♦ New Jersey: Trenton 21.3% 11.7% 10.0%

♦ New Mexico: Las Cruces 26.1% 26.3% 19.1%

♦ New York: Buffalo 27.4% 14.0% 14.1%

♦ North Carolina: Goldsboro 12.5% 20.2% 14.7%

♦ North Dakota: None N/A N/A 10.7%

♦ Ohio: Toledo 26.0% 16.0% 14.0%

♦ Oklahoma: Oklahoma City 9.2% 13.7% 15.7%

♦ Oregon: Medford 2.3% 15.5% 13.2%

♦ Pennsylvania: Reading 28.8% 12.0% 12.4%

♦ Rhode Island: Providence 4.0% 12.0% 12.4%

♦ South Carolina: Columbia 7.9% 14.4% 15.2%

♦ South Dakota: None N/A N/A 13.1%

♦ Tennessee: Memphis 24.6% 17.5% 15.2%

♦ Texas: Laredo 46.4% 27.5% 14.7%

♦ Utah: None N/A N/A 9.8%

♦ Vermont: None N/A N/A 10.9%

♦ Virginia: Roanoke 15.9% 12.9% 10.6%

♦ Washington: Yakima 8.5% 17.4% 10.8%

♦ West Virginia: Huntington 14.8% 18.8% 17.6%

♦ Wisconsin: Milwaukee 17.4% 13.1% 11.3%

♦ Wyoming: None N/A N/A 11.0%

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