Poverty Demographics for Fall River & New Bedford, Massachusetts

Poverty, like many other economic phenomena, does not affect all population sub-groups equally. Historically marginalized populations like racial minorities, women and youth are often disproportionately affected by poverty. This is especially true in Southcoast Massachusetts cities Fall River and New Bedford.

Data from the US Census Bureau shows that 23.2% of Fall River and 21.6% of New Bedford residents live below the poverty line. However, in Fall River, 36% of youth live in poverty, and in New Bedford, 31.1% of youth live in poverty. The highest poverty rates are among Hispanics (59.7% in FR and 39.9% in NB) and single mothers of 3 or 4 children (77.8% in FR and 72% in NB).

The charts below present poverty data by race, family type and age group, gathered from the American Community Survey’s 2008-2012 5-year estimates. The percentages depicted represent varying rates of poverty among different demographic groups that compose a portion of total city population.

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image(4)                                  *High margin of error for families with 5+ children, small sample size

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*Very high margin of error for families with 5+ children, small sample size, not included

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Data comes from the US Census Bureau, American Fact Finder. 2008-2012 American Community Survey 5-year Estimates. Access at http://factfinder2.census.gov.

View data tables below.

Poverty by Race
Fall River New Bedford
white 18.8% 15.9%
asian 28.6% 28.4%
black 38.9% 28.4%
hispanic 59.7% 39.9%

 

FR Families below poverty level (%)
married-couple families single mother families
0 5.4% 17.1%
1 or 2 11.0% 43.2%
3 or 4 19.1% 77.8%
5+ 55.6% 71.4%

*High margin of error for families with 5+ children, small sample size

NB Families below poverty level (%)
married-couple families single mother families
0 5.2% 17.8%
1 or 2 7.7% 39.1%
3 or 4 16.4% 72.0%
5+

*Very high margin of error for families with 5+ children, small sample size, not included

Poverty by Age
Fall River New Bedford
under 18 36.0% 31.1%
18 to 64 20.6% 19.3%
65+ 15.2% 15.8%

 

3 replies
  1. Avatar
    ken fiola says:

    charts do not seem to make sense. If FR has an overall lower percentage of poverty how can it far exceed NB with regard to white’s Asian blacks and Hispanics.

    Reply
    • Avatar
      Gloria de Sá says:

      Good explanation, Trevor, but I would also like to point out to Mr. Fiola that, contrary to what he said, Trevor Mattos’ post stated that “Data from the US Census Bureau shows that 23.2% of Fall River and 21.6% of New Bedford residents live below the poverty line.” So, overall poverty rates are higher for Fall River than for New Bedford, not the other way around.

      Reply
  2. Avatar
    trevorvmattos says:

    Hi Ken,
    Sorry for the confusion, I’m going to do my best to edit the phrasing so that it is more clear. Overall poverty rates (poverty rate of the total population) for FR and NB are calculated using the ratio of the total city poor/ total city population. Demographic sub-group poverty rates are calculated using the ratio of the sub-group poor/ total sub-group population. For example, saying that 59.7% of Hispanics are poor in Fall River is to say that almost 60 out of every 100 Hispanics are poor. For whites in Fall River, however, just under 19/100 are poor. The fact that only ~21 out of every 100 Fall River residents is poor does not mean that this rate of poverty is the same for all demographic groups. This post focuses on comparing differing rates of poverty among population sub-groups, like the under 18 population, single mothers, or Hispanics. It calls attention to disproportionate rates of poverty among marginalized populations in the Southcoast Massachusetts area.
    Hope that clears it up.
    -Trevor

    Reply

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