There’s an old saying that “Geography is destiny.” Access to resources and other environmental factors can affect the success or failure of a community.
It’s hard not to consider this idea when looking at a list of the 42 wealthiest cities in America: 14 of them are on the West Coast, in California, Washington, or Oregon; the number rises to 18 if Alaska and Hawaii are included.
On the other hand, 33 of the country’s 42 poorest metropolitan areas are in the Southern states or immediately adjacent to them.
Comparing median household incomes, unemployment rate, and other economic indicators in the 42 U.S. metropolitan areas with median household incomes of less than $45,000 annually — the U.S. average is $61,372 — 24/7 Wall St. determined that the poorest city in America is a small community in south-central Florida.
What is perhaps surprising is that it isn’t some anonymous backwater, but the town of Sebring — home of Sebring International Raceway, North America’s oldest permanent road racing facility, and the site of numerous celebrated sports car races each year.
With a median household income is just $35,543, not only is Sebring economically depressed — it’s getting worse. Sebring is one of the U.S. cities where income is shrinking the fastest, most probably a reflection of a decline in employment opportunities and wages in the area’s most important industries — which include agriculture and related fields, healthcare and social assistance, and waste management services. And do you know which countries produce the most waste?