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Every State’s Poorest Town

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The U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics recently announced that the consumer price index rose 3.7% in September 2023 from a year ago. While the latest CPI data is a marked improvement from the multi-decade high of 9.1%, reported in June 2022, inflation is still nearly double the Federal Reserve’s 2% target rate.

While no one has been spared from rising prices, low-income households are being hit hardest. A recent survey from the U.S. Census Bureau found that over 85% of households making less than $50,000 a year reported at least some difficulty paying for usual household expenses in the last week, compared to less than 45% households earning $100,000 or more a year. Additionally, 61% households earning less than $50,000 found rising prices to be “very stressful,” compared to only 28% of households with annual incomes of $100,000 or more. 

Both the economic and psychological toll inflation is taking is evident in many of the country’s most vulnerable communities. (Here is a look at the states where inflation is stressing people out the most.)

Using five-year estimates from the U.S. Census Bureau’s 2021 American Community Survey, 24/7 Wall St. identified the poorest town in each state. We considered any city, town, or unincorporated community with populations between 1,000 and 25,000 people, and ranked them by median household income. 

Among the places on this list, the typical household earns anywhere from $43,800 to just $9,100 annually. For reference, most American households earn over $69,000 a year. With such low incomes, the residents of these places are more likely to depend on government assistance to afford basic necessities. In all but two communities on this list, the share of households who receive SNAP benefits, or food stamps, exceeds the respective statewide recipiency rate. 

Low incomes in these communities are often reflected in the local housing market. In over half of the places on this list, the typical home is worth less than $100,000. (Here is a look at the counties with the cheapest homes in America.)

See the poorest town in every state.

 

Alabama: Union Springs
> Median household income: $20,476 (Alabama: $54,943)
> Adults with a bachelor’s degree or higher: 12.2% (Alabama: 26.7%)
> Households receiving SNAP benefits: 41.1% (Alabama: 13.3%)
> Median home value: $64,900 (Alabama: $157,100)
> Population: 3,389
> No. of towns considered in ranking: 294

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Alaska: Alakanuk
> Median household income: $36,429 (Alaska: $80,287)
> Adults with a bachelor’s degree or higher: 1.8% (Alaska: 30.6%)
> Households receiving SNAP benefits: 39.5% (Alaska: 10.4%)
> Median home value: $122,900 (Alaska: $282,800)
> Population: 1,065
> No. of towns considered in ranking: 70

Arizona: Cibecue
> Median household income: $18,232 (Arizona: $65,913)
> Adults with a bachelor’s degree or higher: 6.4% (Arizona: 31.2%)
> Households receiving SNAP benefits: 48.4% (Arizona: 10.2%)
> Median home value: N/A (Arizona: $265,600)
> Population: 1,417
> No. of towns considered in ranking: 167

Arkansas: Marianna
> Median household income: $17,932 (Arkansas: $52,123)
> Adults with a bachelor’s degree or higher: 8.4% (Arkansas: 24.3%)
> Households receiving SNAP benefits: 40.3% (Arkansas: 11.3%)
> Median home value: $75,700 (Arkansas: $142,100)
> Population: 3,660
> No. of towns considered in ranking: 189

California: Thermal
> Median household income: $14,500 (California: $84,097)
> Adults with a bachelor’s degree or higher: 0.0% (California: 35.3%)
> Households receiving SNAP benefits: 20.6% (California: 9.5%)
> Median home value: $119,300 (California: $573,200)
> Population: 1,198
> No. of towns considered in ranking: 725

 

Colorado: Rocky Ford
> Median household income: $29,822 (Colorado: $80,184)
> Adults with a bachelor’s degree or higher: 13.7% (Colorado: 42.8%)
> Households receiving SNAP benefits: 37.7% (Colorado: 7.4%)
> Median home value: $81,900 (Colorado: $397,500)
> Population: 3,876
> No. of towns considered in ranking: 180

Connecticut: Canaan
> Median household income: $28,873 (Connecticut: $83,572)
> Adults with a bachelor’s degree or higher: 24.5% (Connecticut: 40.6%)
> Households receiving SNAP benefits: 28.8% (Connecticut: 11.5%)
> Median home value: $170,300 (Connecticut: $286,700)
> Population: 1,243
> No. of towns considered in ranking: 126

Delaware: Laurel
> Median household income: $34,615 (Delaware: $72,724)
> Adults with a bachelor’s degree or higher: 11.3% (Delaware: 33.6%)
> Households receiving SNAP benefits: 47.2% (Delaware: 10.5%)
> Median home value: $150,100 (Delaware: $269,700)
> Population: 3,886
> No. of towns considered in ranking: 50

Florida: Gifford
> Median household income: $22,353 (Florida: $61,777)
> Adults with a bachelor’s degree or higher: 14.1% (Florida: 31.5%)
> Households receiving SNAP benefits: 46.1% (Florida: 13.2%)
> Median home value: $115,300 (Florida: $248,700)
> Population: 4,477
> No. of towns considered in ranking: 590

Georgia: Glenwood
> Median household income: $19,625 (Georgia: $65,030)
> Adults with a bachelor’s degree or higher: 3.7% (Georgia: 33.0%)
> Households receiving SNAP benefits: 16.7% (Georgia: 11.9%)
> Median home value: $82,500 (Georgia: $206,700)
> Population: 1,116
> No. of towns considered in ranking: 322

 

Hawaii: Hawaiian Ocean View
> Median household income: $25,402 (Hawaii: $88,005)
> Adults with a bachelor’s degree or higher: 13.7% (Hawaii: 34.3%)
> Households receiving SNAP benefits: 41.3% (Hawaii: 10.7%)
> Median home value: $168,300 (Hawaii: $662,100)
> Population: 3,851
> No. of towns considered in ranking: 113

Idaho: Glenns Ferry
> Median household income: $29,219 (Idaho: $63,377)
> Adults with a bachelor’s degree or higher: 10.6% (Idaho: 29.1%)
> Households receiving SNAP benefits: 19.6% (Idaho: 8.7%)
> Median home value: $104,200 (Idaho: $266,500)
> Population: 1,197
> No. of towns considered in ranking: 87

Illinois: Alorton
> Median household income: $19,605 (Illinois: $72,563)
> Adults with a bachelor’s degree or higher: 5.3% (Illinois: 36.2%)
> Households receiving SNAP benefits: 54.0% (Illinois: 12.6%)
> Median home value: $44,600 (Illinois: $212,600)
> Population: 1,864
> No. of towns considered in ranking: 618

Indiana: Austin
> Median household income: $27,008 (Indiana: $61,944)
> Adults with a bachelor’s degree or higher: 10.8% (Indiana: 27.8%)
> Households receiving SNAP benefits: 27.4% (Indiana: 9.0%)
> Median home value: $74,200 (Indiana: $158,500)
> Population: 3,921
> No. of towns considered in ranking: 306

Iowa: Oelwein
> Median household income: $38,325 (Iowa: $65,429)
> Adults with a bachelor’s degree or higher: 14.2% (Iowa: 29.7%)
> Households receiving SNAP benefits: 20.7% (Iowa: 9.6%)
> Median home value: $86,900 (Iowa: $160,700)
> Population: 5,961
> No. of towns considered in ranking: 262

 

Kansas: Chetopa
> Median household income: $21,843 (Kansas: $64,521)
> Adults with a bachelor’s degree or higher: 14.5% (Kansas: 34.4%)
> Households receiving SNAP benefits: 16.1% (Kansas: 7.1%)
> Median home value: $54,200 (Kansas: $164,800)
> Population: 1,113
> No. of towns considered in ranking: 188

Kentucky: Clay City
> Median household income: $19,643 (Kentucky: $55,454)
> Adults with a bachelor’s degree or higher: 2.7% (Kentucky: 25.7%)
> Households receiving SNAP benefits: 32.2% (Kentucky: 12.7%)
> Median home value: $67,000 (Kentucky: $155,100)
> Population: 1,097
> No. of towns considered in ranking: 213

Louisiana: Many
> Median household income: $18,148 (Louisiana: $53,571)
> Adults with a bachelor’s degree or higher: 17.0% (Louisiana: 25.5%)
> Households receiving SNAP benefits: 33.5% (Louisiana: 15.7%)
> Median home value: $122,900 (Louisiana: $174,000)
> Population: 2,337
> No. of towns considered in ranking: 246

Maine: Machias
> Median household income: $20,333 (Maine: $63,182)
> Adults with a bachelor’s degree or higher: 18.9% (Maine: 33.6%)
> Households receiving SNAP benefits: 38.6% (Maine: 12.1%)
> Median home value: $105,000 (Maine: $212,100)
> Population: 1,396
> No. of towns considered in ranking: 99

Maryland: Federalsburg
> Median household income: $31,532 (Maryland: $91,431)
> Adults with a bachelor’s degree or higher: 8.3% (Maryland: 41.6%)
> Households receiving SNAP benefits: 46.0% (Maryland: 10.4%)
> Median home value: $123,400 (Maryland: $338,500)
> Population: 2,824
> No. of towns considered in ranking: 271

 

Massachusetts: Ware
> Median household income: $43,783 (Massachusetts: $89,026)
> Adults with a bachelor’s degree or higher: 16.8% (Massachusetts: 45.2%)
> Households receiving SNAP benefits: 29.9% (Massachusetts: 12.2%)
> Median home value: $183,900 (Massachusetts: $424,700)
> Population: 6,339
> No. of towns considered in ranking: 152

Michigan: Baldwin
> Median household income: $22,593 (Michigan: $63,202)
> Adults with a bachelor’s degree or higher: 12.3% (Michigan: 30.6%)
> Households receiving SNAP benefits: 41.3% (Michigan: 12.6%)
> Median home value: $79,100 (Michigan: $172,100)
> Population: 1,036
> No. of towns considered in ranking: 375

Minnesota: Aurora
> Median household income: $32,287 (Minnesota: $77,706)
> Adults with a bachelor’s degree or higher: 18.6% (Minnesota: 37.6%)
> Households receiving SNAP benefits: 28.4% (Minnesota: 7.5%)
> Median home value: $67,600 (Minnesota: $250,200)
> Population: 1,709
> No. of towns considered in ranking: 311

Mississippi: Rosedale
> Median household income: $15,955 (Mississippi: $49,111)
> Adults with a bachelor’s degree or higher: 11.3% (Mississippi: 23.2%)
> Households receiving SNAP benefits: 38.3% (Mississippi: 14.0%)
> Median home value: $75,800 (Mississippi: $133,000)
> Population: 1,915
> No. of towns considered in ranking: 169

Missouri: Versailles
> Median household income: $22,786 (Missouri: $61,043)
> Adults with a bachelor’s degree or higher: 10.1% (Missouri: 30.7%)
> Households receiving SNAP benefits: 26.7% (Missouri: 10.1%)
> Median home value: $87,700 (Missouri: $171,800)
> Population: 2,492
> No. of towns considered in ranking: 341

 

Montana: Plains
> Median household income: $24,844 (Montana: $60,560)
> Adults with a bachelor’s degree or higher: 11.8% (Montana: 33.7%)
> Households receiving SNAP benefits: 34.8% (Montana: 9.0%)
> Median home value: $153,400 (Montana: $263,700)
> Population: 1,156
> No. of towns considered in ranking: 88

Nebraska: Falls City
> Median household income: $37,712 (Nebraska: $66,644)
> Adults with a bachelor’s degree or higher: 22.2% (Nebraska: 32.9%)
> Households receiving SNAP benefits: 10.3% (Nebraska: 8.0%)
> Median home value: $72,900 (Nebraska: $174,100)
> Population: 4,130
> No. of towns considered in ranking: 113

Nevada: Tonopah
> Median household income: $33,144 (Nevada: $65,686)
> Adults with a bachelor’s degree or higher: 14.3% (Nevada: 26.1%)
> Households receiving SNAP benefits: 11.2% (Nevada: 11.8%)
> Median home value: $154,000 (Nevada: $315,900)
> Population: 1,895
> No. of towns considered in ranking: 43

New Hampshire: Ashland
> Median household income: $33,365 (New Hampshire: $83,449)
> Adults with a bachelor’s degree or higher: 17.3% (New Hampshire: 38.2%)
> Households receiving SNAP benefits: 14.1% (New Hampshire: 6.1%)
> Median home value: $160,600 (New Hampshire: $288,700)
> Population: 1,778
> No. of towns considered in ranking: 52

New Jersey: Salem
> Median household income: $26,667 (New Jersey: $89,703)
> Adults with a bachelor’s degree or higher: 10.7% (New Jersey: 41.5%)
> Households receiving SNAP benefits: 35.2% (New Jersey: 8.4%)
> Median home value: $59,100 (New Jersey: $355,700)
> Population: 5,237
> No. of towns considered in ranking: 499

 

New Mexico: Twin Lakes
> Median household income: $21,167 (New Mexico: $54,020)
> Adults with a bachelor’s degree or higher: 3.7% (New Mexico: 28.5%)
> Households receiving SNAP benefits: 42.7% (New Mexico: 17.5%)
> Median home value: $53,800 (New Mexico: $184,800)
> Population: 1,082
> No. of towns considered in ranking: 140

New York: New Square
> Median household income: $24,881 (New York: $75,157)
> Adults with a bachelor’s degree or higher: 2.9% (New York: 38.1%)
> Households receiving SNAP benefits: 70.3% (New York: 14.3%)
> Median home value: $552,200 (New York: $340,600)
> Population: 9,433
> No. of towns considered in ranking: 724

North Carolina: Scotland Neck
> Median household income: $15,985 (North Carolina: $60,516)
> Adults with a bachelor’s degree or higher: 9.4% (North Carolina: 33.0%)
> Households receiving SNAP benefits: 46.0% (North Carolina: 12.1%)
> Median home value: $63,300 (North Carolina: $197,500)
> Population: 2,033
> No. of towns considered in ranking: 396

North Dakota: New Rockford
> Median household income: $35,595 (North Dakota: $68,131)
> Adults with a bachelor’s degree or higher: 22.8% (North Dakota: 31.1%)
> Households receiving SNAP benefits: 17.2% (North Dakota: 6.4%)
> Median home value: $88,400 (North Dakota: $209,900)
> Population: 1,374
> No. of towns considered in ranking: 50

Ohio: Lincoln Heights
> Median household income: $12,183 (Ohio: $61,938)
> Adults with a bachelor’s degree or higher: 12.0% (Ohio: 29.7%)
> Households receiving SNAP benefits: 63.1% (Ohio: 12.4%)
> Median home value: $72,600 (Ohio: $159,900)
> Population: 3,153
> No. of towns considered in ranking: 613

 

Oklahoma: Wetumka
> Median household income: $24,769 (Oklahoma: $56,956)
> Adults with a bachelor’s degree or higher: 15.1% (Oklahoma: 26.8%)
> Households receiving SNAP benefits: 21.6% (Oklahoma: 12.6%)
> Median home value: $61,900 (Oklahoma: $150,800)
> Population: 1,294
> No. of towns considered in ranking: 222

Oregon: Grand Ronde
> Median household income: $27,465 (Oregon: $70,084)
> Adults with a bachelor’s degree or higher: 8.0% (Oregon: 35.0%)
> Households receiving SNAP benefits: 46.2% (Oregon: 14.7%)
> Median home value: $183,900 (Oregon: $362,200)
> Population: 1,334
> No. of towns considered in ranking: 200

Pennsylvania: Braddock
> Median household income: $22,670 (Pennsylvania: $67,587)
> Adults with a bachelor’s degree or higher: 12.8% (Pennsylvania: 33.1%)
> Households receiving SNAP benefits: 40.5% (Pennsylvania: 13.4%)
> Median home value: $33,900 (Pennsylvania: $197,300)
> Population: 1,949
> No. of towns considered in ranking: 917

Rhode Island: Central Falls
> Median household income: $40,235 (Rhode Island: $74,489)
> Adults with a bachelor’s degree or higher: 9.2% (Rhode Island: 35.3%)
> Households receiving SNAP benefits: 33.7% (Rhode Island: 14.7%)
> Median home value: $187,300 (Rhode Island: $292,600)
> Population: 22,192
> No. of towns considered in ranking: 18

South Carolina: Blackville
> Median household income: $19,583 (South Carolina: $58,234)
> Adults with a bachelor’s degree or higher: 11.4% (South Carolina: 29.8%)
> Households receiving SNAP benefits: 45.8% (South Carolina: 10.7%)
> Median home value: $67,500 (South Carolina: $181,800)
> Population: 2,135
> No. of towns considered in ranking: 230

 

South Dakota: Fort Thompson
> Median household income: $24,125 (South Dakota: $63,920)
> Adults with a bachelor’s degree or higher: 5.8% (South Dakota: 30.0%)
> Households receiving SNAP benefits: 44.1% (South Dakota: 8.4%)
> Median home value: $96,900 (South Dakota: $187,800)
> Population: 1,266
> No. of towns considered in ranking: 72

Tennessee: Jamestown
> Median household income: $18,000 (Tennessee: $58,516)
> Adults with a bachelor’s degree or higher: 2.3% (Tennessee: 29.0%)
> Households receiving SNAP benefits: 47.2% (Tennessee: 12.1%)
> Median home value: $68,100 (Tennessee: $193,700)
> Population: 2,058
> No. of towns considered in ranking: 269

Texas: Carrizo Hill
> Median household income: $9,110 (Texas: $67,321)
> Adults with a bachelor’s degree or higher: 0.0% (Texas: 31.5%)
> Households receiving SNAP benefits: 10.3% (Texas: 11.5%)
> Median home value: N/A (Texas: $202,600)
> Population: 1,076
> No. of towns considered in ranking: 874

Utah: East Carbon
> Median household income: $39,583 (Utah: $79,133)
> Adults with a bachelor’s degree or higher: 12.1% (Utah: 35.4%)
> Households receiving SNAP benefits: 25.9% (Utah: 5.9%)
> Median home value: $64,200 (Utah: $339,700)
> Population: 1,524
> No. of towns considered in ranking: 134

Vermont: West Brattleboro
> Median household income: $36,618 (Vermont: $67,674)
> Adults with a bachelor’s degree or higher: 31.9% (Vermont: 40.9%)
> Households receiving SNAP benefits: 26.8% (Vermont: 10.3%)
> Median home value: $178,500 (Vermont: $240,600)
> Population: 2,770
> No. of towns considered in ranking: 42

 

Virginia: Jonesville
> Median household income: $17,344 (Virginia: $80,615)
> Adults with a bachelor’s degree or higher: 14.3% (Virginia: 40.3%)
> Households receiving SNAP benefits: 48.0% (Virginia: 8.0%)
> Median home value: $117,200 (Virginia: $295,500)
> Population: 1,313
> No. of towns considered in ranking: 319

Washington: Oroville
> Median household income: $32,083 (Washington: $82,400)
> Adults with a bachelor’s degree or higher: 9.1% (Washington: 37.3%)
> Households receiving SNAP benefits: 30.3% (Washington: 11.2%)
> Median home value: $142,700 (Washington: $397,600)
> Population: 1,694
> No. of towns considered in ranking: 342

West Virginia: Williamson
> Median household income: $18,640 (West Virginia: $50,884)
> Adults with a bachelor’s degree or higher: 10.6% (West Virginia: 21.8%)
> Households receiving SNAP benefits: 37.9% (West Virginia: 16.4%)
> Median home value: $81,800 (West Virginia: $128,800)
> Population: 3,054
> No. of towns considered in ranking: 138

Wisconsin: Lac du Flambeau
> Median household income: $26,076 (Wisconsin: $67,080)
> Adults with a bachelor’s degree or higher: 14.6% (Wisconsin: 31.5%)
> Households receiving SNAP benefits: 18.1% (Wisconsin: 10.2%)
> Median home value: $77,500 (Wisconsin: $200,400)
> Population: 1,776
> No. of towns considered in ranking: 354

Wyoming: Fort Washakie
> Median household income: $41,944 (Wyoming: $68,002)
> Adults with a bachelor’s degree or higher: 8.8% (Wyoming: 28.5%)
> Households receiving SNAP benefits: 20.6% (Wyoming: 5.2%)
> Median home value: $116,100 (Wyoming: $237,900)
> Population: 1,647
> No. of towns considered in ranking: 52

 

Methodology

To identify America’s poorest towns, 24/7 Wall St. reviewed five-year estimates of median household income from the U.S. Census Bureau’s 2021 American Community Survey five-year estimates.

We used census “place” geographies — a category that includes incorporated legal entities and census-designated statistical entities. We defined towns based on population thresholds — having at least 1,000 people and less than 25,000 people.

Towns were excluded if median household income was not available in the 2021 ACS or if the sampling error associated with a town’s data was deemed too high. The presence of a major college or university can also distort economic realities of a given area, and as a result, places where 25% or more of the population are enrolled in college or graduate school were excluded. 

Additional data on the median home values, educational attainment, SNAP recipiency rate, and population are also from the ACS five-year estimates. 

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