Data on Inner Cities

What is an Inner City?

Inner Cities are defined as core urban areas that currently have higher unemployment and poverty rates and lower median income levels than the surrounding Metropolitan Statistical Area (MSA).

Inner cities have 20% poverty rate or higher, or two of the following three criteria:

  • poverty rate of 1.5 times or more that of their MSAs
  • median household income of 1/2 or less that of their MSAs
  • unemployment rate of 1.5 or more that of their MSAs

ICIC uses Census data and relevant research to identify inner cities. Census data is examined at the Tract level and compared to the surrounding MSA to determine accurate inner city locations.

What is a Cluster? 

A cluster is a geographically proximate group of interconnected companies and industries that serve particular customers, have similar products, and are actively supported by key, common entities. These include specialized suppliers, industry-knowledgeable universities, trade associations, legal and financial experts and government agencies.

Clusters arise out of the linkages or externalities that span across industries in a particular location.

ICIC’s institutional method for identifying clusters includes the use of ES-202 and County Business Patterns data sources. Clusters are identified at three geographic levels: Regional (MSA); city; and inner city.


"The Inner City is the heart of the community —an area where industry and businesses have not yet prevailed. It means diversity and opportunity."

—Tracey Alston, CEO,
Danielle Ashley Advertising and Public Relations