Opportunity zones were created as part of the 2017 Tax Cuts and Jobs Act in an effort to encourage investors to invest more money into economically disadvantaged communities. However, the metrics that are used to qualify an area as an opportunity zone, including poverty rate and median household income, do not necessarily speak to their full growth potential.
In light of that, we looked into various opportunity zone census tracts to identify which ones have the fastest-growing populations and the fastest-rising median household income. Our end goal was to find the opportunity zones that offer the greatest potential for investors.
Based on our research, below are the five fastest-growing opportunity zone tracts on the East Coast. Keep reading below to learn more about where the best opportunities are in the East.
1. Census Tract 20: Mercer County, New Jersey
Population Growth: 44%
Household Income Growth: 85%
Mercer County’s Census Tract 20 is the ninth fastest-growing opportunity zone in the United States. Unlike other neighboring opportunity zones in Trenton, this zone’s population is growing -- it has increased by 44% in recent years. Meanwhile, household income has nearly doubled.
2. Census Tract 11: Albany County, New York
Population Growth: 38%
Household Income Growth: 97%
Measuring 0.7 square miles, Census Tract 11 borders a portion of the Hudson River. According to recent Census data, the median household income is only $27,604 and the per capita income is $23,357. With those incomes, 36.8% of the population lives below the poverty line. Interestingly, with a median age of 48, the population is also about 25% older than the population of New York as a whole.
3. Census Tract 29.01: Kings County, New York
Population Growth: 33%
Household Income Growth: 102%
Census Tract 29.01 is densely populated. Per the Census data, it is home to a population of 4,533, despite the fact that it measures only 0.042 square miles. The area is home to 1,349 households with an average of three people per household. In those households, the median household income is just $30,009 while the per capita income is only $13,073.
4. Census Tract 55, Charleston County, South Carolina
Population Growth: 30%
Household Income Growth: 91%
Census Tract 55 is home to a population of 1,470, which makes 563 individual households. Though the median household income is growing at a strong rate of 91%, according to recent data, it is only $25,434. An estimated 30.4% of the population lives below the poverty line. However, the data shows that the percentage is trending downward at a rate of 16.8%.
5. Census Tract 302, Philadelphia County, Pennsylvania
Population Growth: 33%
Household Income Growth: 80%
Situated between Frankford Avenue and Roosevelt Boulevard, Census Tract 302 is home to a population of 8,906, despite the fact that it only measures 0.3 square miles. According to the Census data, the median household income in this tract is $63,305, which is about 1.5 times higher than the median income in Philadelphia County at $43,744. Meanwhile, the per capita income is $22,374.
Additionally, 15.2% of the population has moved to the area within the last year, which means that the population is growing at a rate that is 25% greater than that of Pennsylvania as a whole and about one percentage point greater than the rest of Philadelphia County,