Richard Florida is a co-founder and editor at large of CityLab and a senior editor at The Atlantic. He is a university professor in the University of Toronto’s School of Cities and Rotman School of Management, and a distinguished fellow at New York University’s Schack Institute of Real Estate.
The poor in the U.S. are disproportionately clustered in a handful of southern states
Nationally, 13.8 percent of Americans live in poverty, according to the latest estimates from the U.S. Census. But the geographic pattern varies significantly across states and regions.
The map above, from a Census special briefing report [PDF] released today, maps poverty by state. Immediately apparent is a broad "Poverty Belt" - states where more than three in ten people live in high poverty areas - stretching from West Virginia through Kentucky, Tennessee, Alabama, Mississippi, Arkansas, Louisiana, Oklahoma, New Mexico and Texas. The states with the lowest concentrations of poverty, where less than 10 percent of the population live in high poverty areas, are Wyoming, New Hampshire, Vermont, Delaware and Maryland.