The Poorest Town in Each State

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11. Moscow, Idaho
> Town median household income:
$33,164
> State median household income: $46,767 (13th lowest)
> Town poverty rate: 11.4%
> Town population: 24,141

Higher education does not always translate to a higher salary, as is evident in the case of Moscow. As many as 54.4% of town adults had at least a bachelor’s degree — more than double the corresponding statewide rate of 25.1% and nearly double the national rate of 28.8%. Despite the town’s high educational attainment rate, Moscow still had the lowest median household income of any town in Idaho.

12. Cairo, Illinois
> Town median household income:
$16,490
> State median household income: $56,797 (16th highest)
> Town poverty rate: 43.4%
> Town population: 2,740

For the most part, many of the country’s poorest towns are located in the country’s poorest states. One notable exception is Cairo, which is located in Illinois — a state with a median household income of $56,797, the 17th highest in the country. Yet Cairo is not just the poorest town in the state, it is also one of the poorest in the country, with a median annual household income of just $16,490. Nearly a third of Cairo’s households earned less than $10,000 per year, compared to just 7.1% of the state’s households.

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13. Knox, Indiana
> Town median household income:
$30,300
> State median household income: $48,248 (16th lowest)
> Town poverty rate: 20.5%
> Town population: 3,680

Populations with lower educational attainment levels are much more likely to have a lower median income. Knox, the poorest town in Indiana, is no exception. Just 5.5% of adults had a bachelor’s degree or higher, compared to the statewide rate of 23.2% and the national rate of 28.8%. The town’s median household income of $30,300 was more than $75,000 less than the median household income of Indiana’s wealthiest town, Zionsville.

14. Keokuk, Iowa
> Town median household income:
$34,466
> State median household income: $51,843 (24th highest)
> Town poverty rate: 17.1%
> Town population: 10,765

While 6.2% of Iowa households earned less than $10,000 per year from 2009 through 2013, 12.6% of households in Keokuk earned less than $10,000 in the same time period. Iowa’s wealthiest town, Johnston City, had a median annual income of $93,571, more than double the income of Keokuk.

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15. Coffeyville, Kansas
> Town median household income:
$31,537
> State median household income: $51,332 (24th lowest)
> Town poverty rate: 20.5%
> Town population: 10,138

Kansas’ median household income of $51,332 was roughly in line with the national median of $53,046. In Coffeyville, the median household income was nearly $20,000 below the state’s median. In Coffeyville, which is close to the state’s border with Oklahoma, more than one in five residents lived below the poverty line, compared to roughly one in seven Kansans.