The city of Hartford has the smallest city population of all the sites (133,086), but one of the larger County populations (825,141). Though their population within the city is relatively small, the challenges facing the community are fairly substantial. Of all the urban sites, Hartford has the highest percentage of female-headed households (27.6 percent), proportion of families below poverty (25.7 percent), and concentration of minority populations (60.0 percent).
Part of the instability in the economic base of Hartford is due to a statewide recession from 1989 to 1992, which resulted in a loss of 158,000 jobs. By June 1998, 80 percent of jobs that were lost had been recovered, but the structure of the labor market had shifted from manufacturing to service sector employment, which pay between 30 to 50 percent less than manufacturing positions. The relatively high unemployment rate in Hartford (7.5 percent) is some indication that the area has not fully recovered from the economic downturn.