Discover the 5 Poorest Neighborhoods in Montgomery County, Pennsylvania

Montgomery County, Pennsylvania, situated in the southeastern region of the state, shares borders with Bucks, Philadelphia, Delaware, and Chester counties. It’s an integral part of the Philadelphia metropolitan area and boasts a population of approximately 865,000 people, as per the 2020 census. The county seat and largest city within it is Norristown.

Named in honor of Richard Montgomery, an American Revolutionary War general who lost his life in 1775 while trying to capture Quebec City, Montgomery County stands out for its prosperous and educated populace, renowned public schools, and robust economy. Nevertheless, it grapples with significant disparities across its neighborhoods in terms of income, poverty, unemployment, and education.

Several neighborhoods in Montgomery County confront challenges such as low income, elevated poverty rates, high unemployment, limited educational attainment, and restricted access to healthcare and social services. In this article, we delve into five of the most economically disadvantaged neighborhoods in Montgomery County, utilizing data from the U.S. Census Bureau’s American Community Survey (ACS) spanning from 2017 to 2021. We employ the following indicators to assess poverty:

1. Norristown:

Norristown is a borough situated in the heart of Montgomery County, neighboring East Norriton and West Norriton. It represents an urban area characterized by a diverse population encompassing Whites, Blacks, Hispanics, Asians, and Native Americans. The population of Norristown hovers around 34,000 people, yet it contends with substantial socioeconomic challenges. As per ACS data, Norristown reported:

  • A median household income of $44,000, which is 56% lower than the county’s median income and 51% less than the national median.
  • A poverty rate of 24%, which exceeds the county rate by more than threefold and nearly doubles the national rate.
  • An unemployment rate of 9%, surpassing both the county and national rates.
  • An educational attainment rate of 77%, implying that approximately three-quarters of the adult population have completed high school or higher education.

2. Pottstown:

Pottstown, located in the western part of Montgomery County and near New Hanover and Lower Pottsgrove, is another urban area with a diverse population composition. Approximately 22,000 people call Pottstown home, but the borough faces significant socioeconomic hardships. According to ACS data, Pottstown registered:

  • A median household income of $48,000, which is 52% lower than the county’s median income and 46% below the national median.
  • A poverty rate of 21%, nearly three times the county’s rate and over one-and-a-half times the national rate.
  • An unemployment rate of 8%, exceeding both the county and national averages.
  • An educational attainment rate of 82%, indicating that roughly four-fifths of the adult population have completed high school or higher education.

3. Lansdale:

Lansdale, a borough located in central Montgomery County, near Hatfield and Towamencin, represents another urban area characterized by a diverse population. Approximately 16,000 people reside in Lansdale, but the borough grapples with substantial socioeconomic hardships. According to ACS data, Lansdale reported:

  • A median household income of $54,000, which is 46% lower than the county’s median income and 40% lower than the national median.
  • A poverty rate of 18%, more than twice the county rate and over one-and-a-half times the national rate.
  • An unemployment rate of 7%, surpassing both the county and national rates.
  • An educational attainment rate of 85%, indicating that roughly four-fifths of the adult population have completed high school or higher education.

4. Willow Grove:

Willow Grove, a census-designated place located in the eastern part of Montgomery County, near Abington and Upper Moreland, stands as a suburban area predominantly inhabited by White residents, with some presence of Blacks, Hispanics, Asians, and Native Americans. Approximately 16,000 people reside in Willow Grove, but the area confronts significant socioeconomic hardships. According to ACS data, Willow Grove reported:

  • A median household income of $58,000, which is 42% lower than the county’s median income and 35% lower than the national median.
  • A poverty rate of 16%, more than twice the county rate and over one-and-a-half times the national rate.
  • An unemployment rate of 6%, surpassing both the county and national averages.
  • An educational attainment rate of 87%, indicating that roughly four-fifths of the adult population have completed high school or higher education.

5. Glenside:

Glenside, a census-designated place located in the eastern part of Montgomery County, near Cheltenham and Abington, represents another suburban area predominantly inhabited by White residents, with some presence of Blacks, Hispanics, Asians, and Native Americans. Around 8,000 people call Glenside home, but the area grapples with substantial socioeconomic hardships. According to ACS data, Glenside reported:

  • A median household income of $61,000, which is 39% lower than the county’s median income and 32% lower than the national median.
  • A poverty rate of 15%, more than twice the county rate and over one-and-a-half times the national rate.
  • An unemployment rate of 5%, surpassing both the county and national averages.
  • An educational attainment rate of 88%, indicating that roughly four-fifths of the adult population have completed high school or higher education.

Conclusion

In conclusion, Montgomery County, Pennsylvania, nestled in the southeastern region of the state within the Philadelphia metropolitan area, boasts an affluent and educated population. It includes residents from various racial backgrounds, such as Whites, Blacks, Hispanics, Asians, and Native Americans.

However, the county exhibits significant disparities across its neighborhoods concerning income, poverty, unemployment, and education. Norristown, Pottstown, Lansdale, Willow Grove, and Glenside are among the neighborhoods grappling with multiple challenges, including low income, high poverty rates, elevated unemployment, limited educational attainment, and restricted access to healthcare and social services.

These issues have a profound impact on the residents’ quality of life and well-being, necessitating coordinated efforts from various stakeholders to address these disparities effectively.

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