A family of four with an annual household income below $24,520 is considered to meet the 2015 Federal Poverty Level. The Kansas City Metropolitan Statistical Area's 2015 poverty rate (the number of people living in poverty divided by population) is 12.6 percent. Rates vary widely across counties, from a low of 6.2 percent in Johnson County to a high of 23.9 percent in Wyandotte County.
|Population in Poverty by County, 2015|
Source: U.S. Census Bureau, 2000 Decennial Census and 2015 ACS, 5-year data
Between 2000 and 2015, the poverty rate grew, both across the nation and in every county in the region. For the MSA, the poverty rate grew from 8.6 percent in 2000 to 12.6 percent in 2015, a 67.6 percent increase.
To better understand what the increasing poverty trend means for the region, it is informative to look at the data both in percentage terms and in absolute terms.
In percentage terms, povertygrew fastest from 2000 to 2015 (by more than double) in the suburban counties of Johnson, Cass, Clay and Platte, and in mostly rural Ray County.
However, when we look at growth in the absolute numbers of people in poverty, a considerably different picture emerges. The most growth by number is occuring in Jackson and Johnson counties, with significant increases also in Wyandotte and Clay counties.
The uneven distribution of poverty is even more apparent at the census tract level. The map below shows the highest concentrations of poverty in the urban core, but there are significant pockets of people in poverty in suburban areas.
Poverty is a major social determinant of health and health care access. A lack of income impacts a family's health in several ways:
As the previous charts illustrate, both the number of people living in poverty and the growth of poverty are unevenly distributed across the metro. The individual burdens of poverty, particularly health burdens, and the public costs of addressing these burdens also vary by county.
Data is the most current available as of September 2017.
Produced by the Mid-America Regional Council for the REACH Healthcare Foundation | www.marc2.org/healthdata ©