Tucson is one of the neediest cities in the U.S., according to a recent survey.
While several Arizona communities — Gilbert, Scottsdale and Chandler — were among the 15 least needy in WalletHub’s survey of the 150 largest cities in the country, Tucson came in at No. 131.
For the three metro-Phoenix cities that finished at the top of the list, the financial advice website attributed their rosy standing largely to a relatively low poverty rate and a small percentage of households on public assistance.
Tucson, on the other hand, was saddled with a 26.4 percent poverty rate, the highest among the Arizona cities studied.
By contrast, the poverty rate in Gilbert was just 6.6 percent, a rate good enough for WalletHub to rank it the third lowest in the nation. Even Phoenix, which came in No. 87 on the WalletHub needy chart, had just 23.4 percent of its residents living in poverty.
Still, that was far better than Detroit which held down the bottom with a 41.2 percent poverty rate, followed by Cleveland at 35.7 percent.
But there are other factors that WalletHub said makes Tucson one of the needier areas in the nation.
The company figures that 18.6 percent of all households lack health insurance. Still, that wasn’t the worst in Arizona: Glendale came in with a 20.7 percent uninsured rate.
Then there’s the fact the unemployment rate in Tucson, listed at 7.5 percent, is higher than the other cities measured.
That’s no real surprise: The jobless rate in Pima County has been running higher than Maricopa County. While other counties have even more unemployment, they don’t have any cities large enough to be included in this report.
And WalletHub found 0.26 percent of all Tucson residents are homeless, double the rate of the Maricopa County communities.
There are other indicators, too.
Wallet Hub found Tucson had a higher violent crime rate than other cities.
And the city’s percentage of occupied housing units without complete kitchen facilities was among the highest in the state.
Gilbert’s overall ranking at No. 10 of the 150 cities goes beyond that low poverty rate. Fewer than 1.8 percent of its households were getting some form of public assistance. And just 10 percent of households were without health insurance.
That compares with Tucson where nearly 4 percent of households receive public assistance, and 18.6 percent of households lacked any health insurance.
Scottsdale gained its No. 12 overall rank with a 9.3 percent poverty rate but just 1.2 percent of households getting public assistance and 9.4 percent without health insurance.
And Chandler came in at No. 15 nationwide with a 9.9 percent poverty rate, fewer than 1.6 percent of households on public assistance and 11.7 percent lacking health care coverage.
Yet another Maricopa city, Peoria, scored at No. 23, largely because just 1.2 percent of residents were getting government assistance.