Racial Equity
People Living in Poverty, by Race/Ethnicity
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Source: U.S. Census Bureau

What does this measure?

The proportion of people within racial and ethnic groups with incomes below the poverty line. Poverty thresholds vary by family composition and year. In 2022, the threshold for a four-person family with two children was $29,700.

Why is this important?

The percentage of people in poverty in various racial and ethnic groups is a measure of the overall economic health of these groups and may reflect disparities in access to economic opportunity. It also indicates the level of need for social and government supports.

How is our county performing?

In 2018-22, 20% of Hispanic or Latino residents and 16% of Black or African American residents in Worcester County had incomes below the poverty line, compared to 11% among Asian residents and 8% among White residents. Since 2008-12, rates declined by 12 percentage points for Latinos and by two points for African American residents. The rates for Asian and White residents were essentially steady.

Worcester County rates for all racial and ethnic groups were similar to the state and nation, except for the rate among African Americans which was five points lower in the County compared to the nation.

The City of Worcester, the only locality with statistically reliable data, had higher percentages of people living in poverty across all races and ethnicities compared to the County, particularly among Asians at 22% and Whites at 18%.

Why do these disparities exist?

These large and persistent disparities in poverty rates are the result of historic and current policies and practices that disadvantage people of color. Research has connected slavery and the inability of Black Americans even after emancipation to fully participate in economic life to the wealth and income gaps still present today. In addition, these differences are attributed to the complex interplay of conditions including gender, occupation, family structure, education, employment status, wages, incarceration, unemployment and discrimination. Black or African American and Hispanic or Latino workers across industries tend to earn lower wages than their White and Asian or Asian American peers. While education, especially the absence of a high school diploma, increases the likelihood of poverty, education credentials do not eliminate racial disparities. African Americans experience unemployment at twice the rate of Whites regardless of education level. Also, the disproportionate and systemic incarceration of Black and Latino males decreases job prospects and increases the likelihood of poverty.

Notes about the data

Poverty status is not reported for people in institutions, including college dormitories and military barracks, and people in living situations without conventional housing. The Census Bureau asks people to identify their race (White, African American, etc.) separate from their ethnicity (Hispanic or non-Hispanic), so the totals for these categories cannot be added together, as people show up in both a racial and ethnic group.

The multi-year figures are from the Census Bureau's American Community Survey. The bureau combined five years of responses to the survey to provide estimates for smaller geographic areas and increase the precision of its estimates. However, because the information came from a survey, the samples responding to the survey were not always large enough to produce reliable results, especially in small geographic areas. CGR has noted on data tables the estimates with relatively large margins of error. Estimates with three asterisks have the largest margins, plus or minus 50% or more of the estimate. Two asterisks mean plus or minus 35%-50%, and one asterisk means plus or minus 20%-35%. For all estimates, the confidence level is 90%, meaning there is 90% probability the true value (if the whole population were surveyed) would be within the margin of error (or confidence interval). The survey provides data on characteristics of the population that used to be collected only during the decennial census. Data for this indicator are expected to be released annually in December.

People Living in Poverty by Race/Ethnicity, 2018-22
AsianBlack or African AmericanHispanic or LatinoWhite
Worcester County11%16%20%8%
Athol0%***27%***12%***11%*
Clinton4%***14%***17%**5%*
Fitchburg8%***11%**23%*11%
Gardner26%***16%***29%***13%*
Northbridge2%***0%***15%***6%***
Southbridge6%***11%***24%*18%*
Spencer0%***43%***1%***6%**
Webster34%***26%***28%**11%*
Westborough2%***2%***16%***5%**
Worcester22%*18%*24%18%
Massachusetts11%17%21%8%
Additional Worcester County localities
Ashburnham0%***25%***37%***7%***
Auburn5%***0%***7%***4%**
BarreN/A***0%***44%***13%***
Berlin0%***44%***0%***4%***
Blackstone1%***3%***1%***5%**
Bolton3%***N/A***1%***3%***
Boylston0%***0%***4%***8%***
Brookfield0%***38%***12%***7%***
Charlton0%***11%***19%***3%***
Douglas0%***0%***25%***2%***
Dudley14%***9%***5%***7%*
East Brookfield0%***0%***2%***7%***
Grafton5%***12%***25%***5%**
Hardwick0%***0%***38%***10%***
Harvard0%***1%***1%***5%***
Holden18%***1%***2%***4%*
Hopedale0%***0%***17%***4%***
Hubbardston100%***5%***1%***4%***
Lancaster39%***0%***22%***3%***
Leicester0%***29%***16%***3%***
Lunenburg0%***0%***5%***8%**
Mendon0%***0%***1%***7%***
Milford2%***3%***8%***8%**
Millbury1%***1%***0%***6%**
Millville0%***65%***3%***7%**
New Braintree0%***74%***50%***11%***
Northborough3%***50%***2%***2%**
North Brookfield0%***0%***0%***9%***
OakhamN/A***10%***28%***5%**
Oxford0%***18%***14%***3%**
Paxton0%***4%***4%***1%***
Petersham0%***0%***11%***7%***
PhillipstonN/A***0%***0%***5%**
PrincetonN/A***100%***17%***2%***
Royalston0%***N/A***N/A***10%***
Rutland0%***0%***0%***2%***
Shrewsbury6%***6%***5%***3%*
Southborough6%***6%***7%***3%***
Sterling100%***0%***10%2%***
Sturbridge0%***1%***4%***4%***
Sutton7%***39%***5%***4%***
Templeton0%***21%***3%***5%***
Upton0%***1%***0%***2%***
Uxbridge40%***0%***4%***3%**
Warren0%***0%***0%***12%***
West Boylston19%***31%***11%***8%**
West BrookfieldN/A***N/A***15%***9%***
Westminster0%***N/A***0%***4%***
Winchendon18%***48%***0%***10%**
Leominster8%***8%***13%**9%*

Source: U.S. Census Bureau
Notes: Data not shown where sample sizes were too small. Multiyear results are from rolling American Community Survey. * Margin of error between 20% & 35% of estimate; ** margin of error between 35% & 50%; *** margin of error greater than 50%. The Census Bureau asks people to identify their race (white, African-American, etc.) separate from their ethnicity (Hispanic or non-Hispanic). So the totals for these categories cannot be added together, as people show up in both a racial and ethnic group.




Number of People Living in Poverty by Race/Ethnicity, 2018-22
AsianBlack or African AmericanHispanic or LatinoWhite
Worcester County4,5246,59221,23855,199
Athol0***15***91***1,189*
Clinton11***36***416**677*
Fitchburg52***293**2,905*2,931
Gardner171***54***445***2,314*
Northbridge4***0***209***908***
Southbridge12***95***1,528*2,183*
Spencer0***50***3***660**
Webster60***271***800**1,477*
Westborough111***14***220***607**
Worcester2,811*4,675*12,00921,108
Massachusetts50,53881,063182,449382,016
Additional Worcester County localities
Ashburnham0***12***93***391***
Auburn20***0***53***577**
Barre0***0***116***651***
Berlin0***16***0***140***
Blackstone1***8***3***433**
Bolton10***0***3***121***
Boylston0***0***6***378***
Brookfield0***5***9***218***
Charlton0***9***138***363***
Douglas0***0***99***174***
Dudley48***38***24***646*
East Brookfield0***0***2***129***
Grafton87***41***305***809**
Hardwick0***0***107***254***
Harvard0***2***4***244***
Holden73***4***18***759*
Hopedale0***0***35***226***
Hubbardston109***6***1***164***
Lancaster15***0***88***213***
Leicester0***106***64***280***
Lunenburg0***0***25***817**
Mendon0***0***1***390***
Milford15***40***264***1,840**
Millbury6***1***2***652**
Millville0***13***1***223**
New Braintree0***17***4***102***
Northborough43***257***10***260**
North Brookfield0***0***0***393***
Oakham0***2***5***67**
Oxford0***39***82***316**
Paxton0***1***7***58***
Petersham0***0***3***74***
Phillipston0***0***0***89**
Princeton0***15***14***58***
Royalston0***0***0***144***
Rutland0***0***0***140***
Shrewsbury511***82***103***806*
Southborough101***3***27***209***
Sterling22***0***27128***
Sturbridge0***1***12***393***
Sutton10***32***9***338***
Templeton0***3***4***392***
Upton0***3***0***134***
Uxbridge32***0***14***420**
Warren0***0***0***536***
West Boylston14***40***31***457**
West Brookfield0***0***19***329***
Westminster0***0***0***278***
Winchendon76***58***0***921**
Leominster99***235***780**3,011*

Source: U.S. Census Bureau
Notes: Data not shown where sample sizes were too small. Multiyear results are from rolling American Community Survey. * Margin of error between 20% & 35% of estimate; ** margin of error between 35% & 50%; *** margin of error greater than 50%. The Census Bureau asks people to identify their race (white, African-American, etc.) separate from their ethnicity (Hispanic or non-Hispanic). So the totals for these categories cannot be added together, as people show up in both a racial and ethnic group.







INDICATORS TREND
Arts, Entertainment and Recreation Establishments 1
Increasing
Average Charitable Contribution 0
Maintaining
Households With Internet Access 1
Increasing
Protected Land 10 Not Applicable*
Voter Participation Rate -1
Decreasing
Voter Registration Rate 0
Maintaining
Arrest Rate by Race/Ethnicity -1
Decreasing
Change in Total Population 1
Increasing
Change in Population by Race/Ethnicity 1
Increasing
Foreign-Born Population 1
Increasing
Language Diversity 1
Increasing
Population by Age -1
Decreasing
Households by Type 0
Maintaining
Single-Parent Families by Race/Ethnicity -1
Decreasing
Median Household Income 0
Maintaining
Household Income by Race/Ethnicity 0
Maintaining
80/20 Income Ratio 0
Maintaining
Income in Relation to Poverty Level 0
Maintaining
People Living in Poverty 0
Maintaining
People Living in Poverty, by Education Level 1
Increasing
People Living in Poverty, by Age 1
Increasing
People Living in Poverty, by Race/Ethnicity 1
Increasing
Homeownership Rates, by Race/Ethnicity 1
Increasing
Overall Housing Cost Burden -1
Decreasing
Cost of Rent, by Race/Ethnicity 10 Not Applicable*
Median Home Value by Race/Ethnicity 10 Not Applicable*
Homelessness 10 Not Applicable*
Households Receiving SNAP by Race/Ethnicity 1
Increasing
Household Receiving Temporary Assistance 0
Maintaining
Households Without Vehicles 0
Maintaining
Education Levels of Adults by Race/Ethnicity 1
Increasing
Change in Employment by Sector 10 Not Applicable*
Change in Average Salary by Sector 10 Not Applicable*
Female to Male Earnings Ratio 0
Maintaining
Unemployment Rate by Race/Ethnicity -1
Decreasing
Employer Size 1
Increasing
Business Ownership, by Race/Ethnicity 10 Not Applicable*
Self-Employment Revenue 0
Maintaining
People Entering/Leaving County for Work 1
Increasing
Early Prenatal Care by Mother's Race/Ethnicity 1
Increasing
Preterm Births 10 Not Applicable*
Infant Mortality by Mother's Race/Ethnicity 10 Not Applicable*
Children with Elevated Blood Lead Levels -1
Decreasing
Prevalence of Children with Asthma 1
Increasing
People with Disabilities 1
Increasing
People Without Health Insurance -1
Decreasing
Cancer Incidence 0
Maintaining
Diabetes Incidence -1
Decreasing
Substance Abuse Treatment Admissions 1
Increasing
Opioid Overdose Mortality Rate 1
Increasing
Children Living in Poverty 0
Maintaining
Children Living in Poverty, by Race/Ethnicity -1
Decreasing
Economically Disadvantaged Students 1
Increasing
Disengaged Youth -1
Decreasing
Prekindergarten Participation -1
Decreasing
Student Performance on Grade 3 English, by Student Subgroup -1
Decreasing
Student Performance on Grade 8 Math, by Student Subgroup -1
Decreasing
Student Performance on Grade 10 English, by Student Subgroup -1
Decreasing
Student Performance on Grade 10 Math, by Student Subgroup -1
Decreasing
High School Cohort Graduation Rate, by Student Group 1
Increasing
Arrest Rate by Race/Ethnicity -1
Decreasing
Change in Population by Race/Ethnicity 1
Increasing
Single-Parent Families by Race/Ethnicity -1
Decreasing
Household Income by Race/Ethnicity 0
Maintaining
People Living in Poverty, by Race/Ethnicity 1
Increasing
Homeownership Rates, by Race/Ethnicity 1
Increasing
Cost of Rent, by Race/Ethnicity 10 Not Applicable*
Median Home Value by Race/Ethnicity 10 Not Applicable*
Households Receiving SNAP by Race/Ethnicity 1
Increasing
Education Levels of Adults by Race/Ethnicity 1
Increasing
Unemployment Rate by Race/Ethnicity -1
Decreasing
Business Ownership, by Race/Ethnicity 10 Not Applicable*
Early Prenatal Care by Mother's Race/Ethnicity 1
Increasing
Infant Mortality by Mother's Race/Ethnicity 10 Not Applicable*
Children Living in Poverty, by Race/Ethnicity -1
Decreasing
Student Performance on Grade 3 English, by Student Subgroup -1
Decreasing
Student Performance on Grade 8 Math, by Student Subgroup -1
Decreasing
Student Performance on Grade 10 English, by Student Subgroup -1
Decreasing
Student Performance on Grade 10 Math, by Student Subgroup -1
Decreasing
High School Cohort Graduation Rate, by Student Group 1
Increasing





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