An estimated 10.3% of residents in the Denver-Aurora-Lakewood metro area live below the poverty line, a smaller share than both the national poverty rate of 14.7% and the state’s poverty rate of 11.5%. Denver has the lowest poverty rate of any Colorado metro area.

A high school education can mean the difference between living above or below the poverty line. Nationwide, the 87.1% of Americans who have at least graduated high school are 1.9 times less likely to be in poverty than those who did not complete high school. In Denver, adults who graduated from high school are 2.4 times less likely to be in poverty. An estimated 90.5% of adults in Denver have at least a high school diploma, the third lowest high school attainment rate in the state.

The share of metro area residents living in poverty may depend on the health of the local job market. As the national unemployment rate fell from 8.9% in 2011 to 5.3% in 2015, the number of U.S. jobs increased by 9.9 million. In Denver, the 3.3% unemployment rate is lower than the jobless rate nationwide, which may partially explain the low poverty rate.

Low poverty and unemployment often create the conditions for a low violent crime rate. There were 362 violent crimes per 100,000 Denver residents in 2015, roughly similar to the national crime rate of 373 incidents per 100,000 Americans.

Living in poverty can have adverse effects on physical and mental health. With lower wages, those living in poverty are less likely to have access to healthy food, opportunities for physical activity, and quality medical care. In Denver, there are 291 premature deaths per 100,000 residents annually, less than the national premature death rate of 474 per 100,000 Americans.

While poverty tends to be concentrated in certain neighborhoods and districts within a city, a metropolitan area with a low poverty rate tends to have wealthier residents overall. The typical household in the Denver metro area earns $70,283 annually, higher than both the median household income for Colorado of $63,909, and the median income for all U.S. households of $55,775 nationwide. Denver has the second highest median household income of any Colorado metro area.

Rank Metro Area Poverty
Rate
10 Pine Bluff, AR 25.7%
9 Valdosta, GA 26.6%
8 Merced, CA 26.7%
7 Greenville, NC 26.8%
5 Athens-Clarke County, GA 27.1%
5 Las Cruces, NM 27.1%
4 Visalia-Porterville, CA 27.6%
3 McAllen-Edinburg-Mission, TX 31.5%
2 Laredo, TX 31.8%
1 Brownsville-Harlingen, TX 32.4%