Special Report

Johnson City, TN Ranks as One of the Poorest Big Cities in the Country

Large cities and metropolitan areas have long been hubs of economic activity and prosperity in the United States. Large employers that can pay enough to attract top talent from around the country often have operations in places like Austin, Chicago, New York, and San Francisco. As a result, these cities, and many others like them, have a high concentration of high-income residents. But while some American cities stand out for the economic opportunity they offer, many others are notable for the opposite reason.

There are 384 metropolitan areas in the United States, and in dozens of them, incomes are far lower than average, and serious financial hardship is widespread.

The typical household in the Johnson City metro area in Tennessee earns $51,119 a year – the 42nd lowest among the 384 U.S. metropolitan areas with available data, and about $18,600 less than the national median household income of $69,717.

Johnson City also has a higher-than-average poverty rate. An estimated 15.1% of the metro area population live below the poverty line, compared to 12.8% of all Americans nationwide.

Across broad populations, incomes tend to rise with educational attainment, and in the Johnson City area, only 29.8% of adults 25 and older have a bachelor’s degree or higher, compared to 35.0% of all Americans in the same age group.

All data in this story is based on one-year estimates from the U.S. Census Bureau’s 2021 American Community Survey.

 

Rank Metro area Median household income, 2021 ($) Poverty rate, 2021 (%) Adults with a bachelor’s degree, 2021 (%)
1 Beckley, WV 38,737 22.7 20.4
2 Valdosta, GA 42,233 27.6 22.3
3 Sumter, SC 43,210 20.3 22.0
4 Morristown, TN 43,213 19.5 18.2
5 Greenville, NC 44,450 22.5 33.6
6 McAllen-Edinburg-Mission, TX 44,818 29.3 20.0
7 Monroe, LA 45,001 27.2 23.9
8 Las Cruces, NM 45,178 19.4 30.1
9 Gadsden, AL 45,298 16.8 18.2
10 Anniston-Oxford, AL 46,524 19.8 19.4
11 Lake Havasu City-Kingman, AZ 46,616 18.2 15.1
12 Decatur, IL 46,807 17.6 19.0
13 Pine Bluff, AR 46,826 15.0 23.3
14 Alexandria, LA 47,032 19.9 21.6
15 Homosassa Springs, FL 47,197 16.1 20.8
16 Goldsboro, NC 47,595 19.9 20.3
17 Dothan, AL 47,665 19.5 20.5
18 Hot Springs, AR 47,694 13.4 23.8
19 Farmington, NM 47,819 26.7 15.6
20 Jonesboro, AR 47,935 21.0 28.7
21 Brownsville-Harlingen, TX 48,115 24.7 20.6
22 Shreveport-Bossier City, LA 48,164 21.4 25.8
23 Sebring-Avon Park, FL 48,564 13.4 18.3
24 Albany, GA 48,659 18.7 23.0
25 Kingsport-Bristol, TN-VA 48,771 16.9 21.9
26 Grants Pass, OR 48,785 16.7 21.0
27 Fort Smith, AR-OK 49,065 19.6 20.3
28 Danville, IL 49,091 20.9 15.9
29 Weirton-Steubenville, WV-OH 49,362 16.9 22.5
30 Lawton, OK 49,422 20.1 24.3
31 Mobile, AL 49,691 17.9 22.3
32 Florence, SC 49,724 19.3 21.4
33 Hinesville, GA 49,733 19.3 20.8
34 College Station-Bryan, TX 49,927 23.4 38.1
35 Texarkana, TX-AR 50,070 18.1 20.9
36 Terre Haute, IN 50,440 18.0 19.7
37 Huntington-Ashland, WV-KY-OH 50,456 17.3 22.7
38 Muncie, IN 50,497 18.1 24.5
39 Saginaw, MI 50,606 21.8 22.5
40 Carbondale-Marion, IL 50,953 17.1 28.9
41 El Paso, TX 51,002 20.1 26.0
42 Johnson City, TN 51,119 15.1 29.8
43 Mansfield, OH 51,158 12.3 17.4
44 Youngstown-Warren-Boardman, OH-PA 51,194 16.6 25.0
45 Cumberland, MD-WV 51,440 13.5 22.8
46 Lima, OH 51,497 15.5 18.5
47 Florence-Muscle Shoals, AL 51,639 17.4 24.8
48 Rocky Mount, NC 51,769 15.1 21.2
49 El Centro, CA 51,809 16.4 13.5
50 Laredo, TX 51,867 22.4 20.6

 

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