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Fresno, Los Angeles Rated Among ‘Most Needy’ Cities

With the giving season reminding us to be selfless and 38 million people in the U.S. lacking access to adequate food, the personal-finance website WalletHub has followed up on its report on the Most Charitable States for 2022 with an in-depth look at 2021’s Neediest Cities, as well as accompanying videos and expert commentary.

Hoping to inspire goodwill toward the less fortunate, WalletHub compared more than 180 U.S. cities across 28 key metrics to determine where Americans are most economically disadvantaged. The data set includes factors like the child poverty rate, food-insecurity rate and uninsured rate.

To view the full report, visit:

Neediest Cities across the United States include Detroit, Michigan topping the list at number one; followed by Brownsville, Texas; Cleveland, Ohio; Fresno, California; Gulfport, Mississippi; Los Angeles, CA; Newark, New Jersey; Baltimore, Maryland; New Orleans, Louisiana and St. Louis, Missouri rounding out the top 10.

Coming in at number 11 in the Neediest Cities survey was Laredo, Texas; followed by Shreveport, LA; Miami, Florida; Memphis, Tennessee; Jackson, MS; Birmingham, Alabama; Philadelphia, Pennsylvania; Richmond, Virginia; Hialeah, FL and, at number 20, Augusta, Georgia.


Key Stats

• Fremont, California, has the lowest child poverty rate, 3.09 percent, which is 16.2 times lower than in Detroit, the city with the highest at 50.19 percent.

• Pearl City, Hawaii, has the lowest adult poverty rate, 3.94 percent, which is 7.8 times lower than in Huntington, West Virginia, the city with the highest at 30.71 percent.

• Overland Park, Kansas, has the fewest homeless persons (per 1,000 residents), 0.30, which is 78.1 times fewer than in Fresno, California, the city with the most at 23.42.

• Lincoln, Nebraska, has the lowest unemployment rate, 1.30 percent, which is nine times lower than in Detroit, the city with the highest at 11.70 percent.

• Pearl City, Hawaii, has the lowest share of uninsured residents, 1.50 percent, which is 20.7 times lower than in Brownsville, Texas, the city with the highest at 31.10 percent.


Expert Commentary

What are the main challenges facing low-income families today?

“One of the main challenges low-income families face today is the lack of affordable housing. Of all expenditures, low-income families typically spend the largest share on housing, and … what they can afford is often substandard and unstable. Many families found that pandemic rental assistance was very difficult to get due to complicated application procedures that sometimes required the cooperation of landlords who were not convinced it was the right move for them to participate at all.”

Joan Maya Mazelis, Ph.D. – Associate Professor, Rutgers University-Camden


How can charities and nonprofits most effectively serve the poor?

“Charities and nonprofits can advocate for more federal and state-level funding for social welfare programs that help families. While charities and nonprofits are incredibly important for providing social services, such as health and mental health services, etc., they cannot be relied upon to provide the financial support that lower-income families need due to low wages, high costs of housing, and child care. They can also help low-income families navigate the social welfare labyrinth of systems and administrative burdens so they can access the benefits and programs that they are eligible for. Providing help with internet connections, getting paperwork together, and so on.”

Lenna Nepomnyaschy – Associate Professor, Rutgers, The State University of New Jersey