Second City or dead last?

Megan Cottrell


Every city has poverty, right? Travel around the world, and it'd be difficult to find a city that doesn't have a ghetto or at least a "wrong side of the tracks."

They say that the poor are always with us, but they never mentioned how many there might be. This week, as we look at the 10 largest cities in America, you might be surprised to find out just how many poor people Chicago has and who they are. Today, we'll look at Chicago's poverty rate compared to New York, Los Angeles, Houston, Philadelphia, Phoenix, San Antonio, San Diego, Dallas and San Jose to see how we stack up.

Among the 10 largest cities in America, Chicago has the third highest poverty rate, with 21.6 percent of our residents living under the poverty level, according to 2009 data from the U.S. Census Bureau's American Community Survey. Only Philadelphia and Dallas--with 25 and 23 percent, respectively--beat us.

But when we take a look at poverty among African Americans, that's where Chicago enters the spotlight. About one in three of all black people in Chicago, 32.2 percent, are living in poverty. That's number one among America's largest cities. Only Dallas comes close, with 30.5 percent.

In fact, Chicago's African-American poverty rate is close to being the highest minority poverty rate in the nation. Only Latinos in Phoenix and Philadelphia have higher rates of poverty.

Photo credit: elfon
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