10 Counties Where Poverty Worsened Despite a Stronger U.S. Economy

Rawpixel.com / Shutterstock.com

While the share of Americans living in poverty has continued to shrink since the Great Recession ended, some pockets of the nation have actually become poorer since then.

Money Talks News analyzed data from the U.S. Census Bureau’s American Community Survey (ACS) to find out which counties saw poverty rates rise from 2009, the year the recession officially ended, to 2017, the latest year for which ACS data is available.

By Census Bureau measures, the 2017 poverty threshold for a four-person household that includes two children, for example, was a total income of $24,858. In other words, the federal agency considered all members of such a household to live in poverty if the household earned less than that amount in 2017. The 2017 poverty threshold for a one-person household was $12,488.

Our analysis found that about 1 in 8 Americans lived in poverty in 2017, down from 1 in 7 in 2009. But in the following 10 counties, the share of residents living in poverty rose by the most percentage points during the same period.

McKinley County, New Mexico

StockPhotoAstur / Shutterstock.com

2009 poverty rate: 25.9 percent
2017 poverty rate: 40.8 percent
Increase: 14.9 percentage points

In this county that contains Gallup, New Mexico, 79.2 percent of residents are American Indian and about 2 in 5 of them live below the poverty line.

Caddo Parish, Louisiana

Shreveport, Louisiana
Sean Pavone / Shutterstock.com

2009 poverty rate: 16.4 percent
2017 poverty rate: 26.7 percent
Increase: 10.3 percentage points

The poverty rate increased to a bit over 1 in 4 residents in 2017 from 1 in 6 in 2009 in this parish, which contains Louisiana’s third-biggest city, Shreveport. A 2016 report from the credit reporting company Experian found that Shreveport was among the 10 U.S. cities with the lowest average credit scores in the nation.

Despite being among the most populous municipalities on this list — with around 247,000 residents as of 2017 — Caddo Parish is also among multiple municipalities on this list with a dwindling population. The parish’s population shrank by about 3.3 percent from 2010 to 2017, according to Census Bureau estimates.

Cabell County, West Virginia

Dee Browning / Shutterstock.com

2009 poverty rate: 21.1 percent
2017 poverty rate: 28.7 percent
Increase: 7.6 percentage points

As the population in this county in western West Virginia shrank from 2010 to 2017 — by 1.4 percent, to just around 95,000 — the portion of residents who live in poverty rose.

Sandoval County, New Mexico

sevenMaps7 / Shutterstock.com

2009 poverty rate: 10.7 percent
2017 poverty rate: 17.6 percent
Increase: 6.9 percentage points

Sandoval County is the second New Mexico county on the list. North of Albuquerque, Sandoval borders McKinley County. But Sandoval County differs from its neighbor to the west in that its residents are predominantly white (78.6 percent) and fewer (about 1 in 6) live below the poverty line, the Census Bureau says.

Iberia Parish, Louisiana

Dmitrijs Kaminskis / Shutterstock.com

2009 poverty rate: 17.7 percent
2017 poverty rate: 24.3 percent
Increase: 6.6 percentage points

South of the bustling city of Lafayette sits Iberia Parish, another Louisiana location on this list, where about 1 in 4 residents live in poverty. That 2017 figure was an increase from a little more than 1 in 6 residents in 2009. Meanwhile, the parish population shrank by about 1.5 percent between 2010 and 2017, to around 72,000.

Located along Louisiana’s Gulf Coast, Iberia was among the parishes that the federal government declared a major disaster in 2016 due to historic flooding following prolonged rainfall.

Rapides Parish, Louisiana

Bonnie Taylor Barry / Shutterstock.com

2009 poverty rate: 13.4 percent
2017 poverty rate: 20 percent
Increase: 6.6 percentage points

In Rapides Parish, the third Louisiana location on our list, about 1 in 5 residents live in poverty. No other state is home to more counties or parishes on this list.

Angelina County, Texas

Lori Martin / Shutterstock.com

2009 poverty rate: 15.1 percent
2017 poverty rate: 21.7 percent
Increase: 6.6 percentage points

A little more than 1 in 5 residents in this county of about 88,000 people live below the poverty line.

Polk County, Oregon

Hugh K Telleria / Shutterstock.com

2009 poverty rate: 12.9 percent
2017 poverty rate: 19.3 percent
Increase: 6.4 percentage points

On the outskirts of the Oregon state capital of Salem lies Polk County, where the portion of people living in poverty rose to about 1 in 5 in 2017 from about 1 in 8 in 2009.

Chelan County, Washington

tusharkoley / Shutterstock.com

2009 poverty rate: 10.6 percent
2017 poverty rate: 16.9 percent
Increase: 6.3 percentage points

The U.S. Census Bureau estimates about 1 in 6 residents live below the poverty line in Chelan County, which features the remains of a 19th-century ghost town.

Salem County, New Jersey

Delaware Memorial Bridge
Artem Avetisyan / Shutterstock.com

2009 poverty rate: 9.7 percent
2017 poverty rate: 15.8 percent
Increase: 6.1 percentage points

The population of this county along the Delaware River shrank by about 5 percent from 2010 to 2017. Its population at the end of 2017 was about 63,000, according to Census Bureau estimates.

What’s your take on these findings? Share your thoughts by commenting below or on Money Talks News’ Facebook page.

Find the right financial adviser

Finding a financial adviser you can trust doesn't have to be hard. A great place to start is with SmartAsset's free financial adviser matching tool, which connects you with up to three qualified financial advisers in five minutes. Each adviser is vetted by SmartAsset and is legally required to act in your best interests.

If you're ready to be matched with local advisers who will help you reach your financial goals, get started now.

Read Next
3 Cable TV Companies Hiking Prices for 2020
3 Cable TV Companies Hiking Prices for 2020

Still married to your cable company? Hold on to your wallet!

Stop Overpaying for These 10 Common Purchases
Stop Overpaying for These 10 Common Purchases

The best price for many of these items is “free.”

3 Costly Social Security Mistakes That Women Make
3 Costly Social Security Mistakes That Women Make

Women face unique challenges when planning for retirement and making these mistakes can result in a skimpier retirement.

20 Generic Brands That Amazon Created
20 Generic Brands That Amazon Created

Amazon’s growing collection of private brands offers everything from toilet paper and coffee to motor oil and clothing.

5 Ways to Put an End to Junk Mail
5 Ways to Put an End to Junk Mail

Here’s how to keep unwanted mail from clogging your mailbox and trash can.

View this page without ads

Help us produce more money-saving articles and videos by subscribing to a membership.

Get Started

Most Popular
Will I Get My Ex-Husband’s Social Security When He Dies?
Will I Get My Ex-Husband’s Social Security When He Dies?

Two factors determine how much money is coming to you.

7 Ways to Boost Your Credit Score Fast
7 Ways to Boost Your Credit Score Fast

Your financial security might soon depend upon the strength of your credit score.

21 Things You Should Always Buy at a Dollar Store
21 Things You Should Always Buy at a Dollar Store

Dollar stores have great bargains on these familiar purchases. Yes, even pregnancy tests.

13 Brilliant Bulk-Buy Items on Amazon
13 Brilliant Bulk-Buy Items on Amazon

Every household should have these products on hand. Buying them in bulk on Amazon saves you cash.

6 Reasons I Will Never Trust Suze Orman
6 Reasons I Will Never Trust Suze Orman

Beware: The self-proclaimed personal finance expert has a track record that suggests more sizzle than steak.

This Type of Social Security Benefit Is Often Overlooked
This Type of Social Security Benefit Is Often Overlooked

The Social Security Administration is not helping certain people get money to which they are entitled, a report says.

Getting These 2 Shots Could Reduce Your Risk of Dementia
Getting These 2 Shots Could Reduce Your Risk of Dementia

These vaccines may lower the risk of Alzheimer’s disease by up to 40%.

9 Everyday Problems You Can Solve With Vaseline
9 Everyday Problems You Can Solve With Vaseline

Forget expensive specialty products. Good ol’ petroleum jelly can address many common annoyances.

America’s Most Reliable Appliance Brand Is a Surprise
America’s Most Reliable Appliance Brand Is a Surprise

Have you heard of this appliance manufacturer?

16 Amazon Purchases That We Are Loving Right Now
16 Amazon Purchases That We Are Loving Right Now

These practical products make everyday life a little easier.

19 Purchases That Buyers Almost Always Regret
19 Purchases That Buyers Almost Always Regret

Think twice before buying these things.

19 High-Paying Jobs You Can Get With a 2-Year Degree
19 High-Paying Jobs You Can Get With a 2-Year Degree

These jobs pay more than the typical job in the U.S. — and no bachelor’s degree is required.

7 Tips for Building an Emergency Stockpile
7 Tips for Building an Emergency Stockpile

A pandemic or natural disaster could leave you reliant on your existing food supply. Is your pantry prepared?

8 of the Worst Things to Buy at a Dollar Store
8 of the Worst Things to Buy at a Dollar Store

Not everything sold at dollar stores is a great bargain or a safe purchase. Here’s our list of products to avoid.

Homeowners Say These 2 Kitchen Appliance Brands Are Best
Homeowners Say These 2 Kitchen Appliance Brands Are Best

One brand takes five of the top honors, while another ranks highest in three categories.

41 Things You Should Never Buy
41 Things You Should Never Buy

Some purchases are just plain dumb. Give yourself — and your budget — a break. Don’t spend money on this stuff.

9 Indestructible Products That Are Worth the Price
9 Indestructible Products That Are Worth the Price

If you’re willing to pay a little more for these products, you may never have to shop for another again.

5 Ways to Get Amazon Prime for Free
5 Ways to Get Amazon Prime for Free

Hesitant to drop $119 a year on an Amazon Prime membership? Here’s how to get it for free.

5 Household Disinfectants That Can Destroy the Coronavirus
5 Household Disinfectants That Can Destroy the Coronavirus

You likely already have some of these products at home.

View More Articles

View this page without ads

Help us produce more money-saving articles and videos by subscribing to a membership.

Get Started

Add a Comment

Our Policy: We welcome relevant and respectful comments in order to foster healthy and informative discussions. All other comments may be removed. Comments with links are automatically held for moderation.