Special Report

The Poorest Town in Each State

46. Elkins, West Virginia
> Town median household income:
> State median household income: $41,043 (3rd lowest)
> Town poverty rate: 15.4%
> Town population: 7,189

The median household income in Elkins was among the lowest in the nation, nearly $20,000 lower than the national figure of $53,046. One of the poorest states in the country, West Virginia had the second highest percentage of households earning $10,000 or less annually. In Elkins, the percentage was even higher, at 13.6%. Unlike the poorest town in the vast majority of states, Elkins’ poverty rate of 15.4% was actually lower than West Virginia’s poverty rate of 17.9%.

47. Viroqua, Wisconsin
> Town median household income:
> State median household income: $52,413 (22nd highest)
> Town poverty rate: 8.6%
> Town population: 4,384

Viroqua had a median household income of $33,787. While this was the lowest in the state and among the lower income figures nationwide, other socioeconomic measures of the town were actually quite strong. More than 93% of Viroqua adults had at least a high school diploma, exceptionally high compared the poorest towns in other states, and higher than the attainment rate for Wisconsin. Also, the town’s poverty rate of 8.6% was more than four percentage points lower than the state’s poverty rate, and among the lowest percentages in the country.

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48. Riverton, Wyoming
> Town median household income:
> State median household income: $57,406 (15th highest)
> Town poverty rate: 14.9%
> Town population: 10,810

Less than 1% of Riverton households earned $200,000 or more annually, a far smaller percentage than the comparable state and national percentages. While incomes in the area were low compared to other towns in the state, Riverton’s median household income of $40,847 was far higher than in the poorest town in many other states. Wyoming’s poorest town also had a poverty rate that was over 3 percentage points higher than the rest of the state.

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