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Press Release

Concentration of Poverty in Metro Areas Has Increased; Midwest, Northern Cities Hit Hardest, Say Cleveland Fed Researchers

Poverty in the US has risen in the last decade. And it has risen most rapidly in neighborhoods with an already large share of poor residents, say researchers at the Federal Reserve Bank of Cleveland.

This increase in the concentration of poverty during the past 10 years was found in 83 of the 100 metro areas studied by researchers Dionissi Aliprantis, Kyle Fee, and Nelson Oliver. They also found that:

  • Metro areas in northern cities have the greatest concentration of poverty.
  • Midwest manufacturing states were especially hit hard.

The researchers are concerned because the more concentrated poverty gets, the more amplified its negative effects -- such as less access to jobs and higher crime -- are on the poor.

In the Cleveland Fed’s service area, which includes Ohio and western Pennsylvania, the concentration of poverty rose markedly in many major metro areas due to the severity of the recession in Ohio.

  • Cleveland and Toledo, already in the top 10 highest concentration metro areas in 2000, maintained that ranking in 2006-2010.
  • Akron, Columbus, Cincinnati, and Youngstown experienced large increases in the concentration of poverty.
  • Only Dayton and Pittsburgh's rankings were unchanged – neither city had a high concentration of poverty in 2000 nor experienced large increases.

Read: The Concentration of Poverty within Metropolitan Areas.

Federal Reserve Bank of Cleveland

The Federal Reserve Bank of Cleveland is one of 12 regional Reserve Banks that along with the Board of Governors in Washington DC comprise the Federal Reserve System. Part of the US central bank, the Cleveland Fed participates in the formulation of our nation’s monetary policy, supervises banking organizations, provides payment and other services to financial institutions and to the US Treasury, and performs many activities that support Federal Reserve operations System-wide. In addition, the Bank supports the well-being of communities across the Fourth Federal Reserve District through a wide array of research, outreach, and educational activities.

The Cleveland Fed, with branches in Cincinnati and Pittsburgh, serves an area that comprises Ohio, western Pennsylvania, eastern Kentucky, and the northern panhandle of West Virginia.

Media contact

Doug Campbell,, 513.218.1892