Poorest Town in Every State

May 24, 2016 by Mike Sauter

Incomes in the United States are far from uniform. A typical household in Scarsdale, New York earns nearly a quarter of a million dollars a year, or more than 13 times the income of a typical household in Macon, Mississippi of $18,232.

Incomes also vary within each state. No matter how rich a state is on average, it has some very poor towns — towns where incomes are much lower than incomes of not only the state’s richest towns, but also than the median income statewide. In every state, there is at least one town with a median annual household income thousands of dollars lower than the state’s median. 24/7 Wall St. reviewed the poorest town in each state.

In general, towns in wealthier states tend to be wealthier, and towns in poorer states tend to be poorer. Mississippi, the poorest state in the country, is home to the poorest town. Incomes in the poorest towns in Alaska and Hawaii, each among the five wealthiest states, are only slightly less than the national median of $53,657 a year.

Click here to see the poorest town in every state.

Some states have much more economic diversity. Many of the wealthiest states are also home to the poorest places not just in the state, but also in the country. Median incomes in Cumberland, Maryland and Camden, New Jersey are more than $40,000 lower than the typical household annual income across the state.

The vast majority of the poorest towns in the country have a disproportionately high share of eligible workers who are jobless. In 40 states, the unemployment rate in the poorest town is greater than statewide jobless rate. A high share of households that are not currently earning a salary likely drives down the median income for an area. A weaker economy in general, where more people are unemployed, can also drive down salaries in a number of ways — even for those residents with jobs.

Socioeconomic indicators such as low educational attainment rates can also help explain the low incomes in many of these towns. One important measure is the college attainment rate. A more educated population is more likely to be employed and to have access to higher-paid jobs. The poorest towns in only three states have a college attainment rate that exceeds the national rate of 30.1%.

To identify the poorest town in each state, 24/7 Wall St. reviewed median household incomes in every town with a population of 25,000 or less in each state from the U.S. Census Bureau’s American Community Survey (ACS). Due to relatively small sample sizes for town-level data, all social and economic figures are based on five-year estimates for the period of 2010-2014. Still, data can be subject to sampling issues. We did not consider towns where the margin of error at 90% confidence is greater than 10% of the point estimate of both median household income and population. Towns were compared to both the state and national figures. We considered the percentage of residents who have at least a bachelor’s degree, the towns’ poverty rates, and the workforce composition — all from the ACS. The percentage of housing units that owned by their occupants — referred to as the homeownership rate — also comes from the ACS. Because poverty rates can be skewed in areas with high shares of college students who frequently have very low incomes, college towns were also excluded. College towns are defined as towns where more than 40% of the population is enrolled in undergraduate or graduate school.

These are the poorest towns in each state.

Prichard, Alabama
Source: Wikimedia Commons

1. Prichard, Alabama
> Town median household income:
$21,860
> State median household income: $42,830
> Town poverty rate: 37.9%
> Town population: 22,475

Ketchikan Gateway Borough, Alaska
Source: Wikimedia Commons

2. Ketchikan, Alaska
> Town median household income:
$52,765
> State median household income: $71,583
> Town poverty rate: 15.3%
> Town population: 8,173

Operation Copper Cactus
Source: Wikimedia Commons

3. Nogales, Arizona
> Town median household income:
$27,567
> State median household income: $50,068
> Town poverty rate: 35.2%
> Town population: 20,699

Hope, Arkansas
Source: Wikimedia Commons

4. Hope, Arkansas
> Town median household income:
$24,423
> State median household income: $41,262
> Town poverty rate: 36.3%
> Town population: 10,033

Clearlake, California
Source: Thinkstock

5. Clearlake, California
> Town median household income:
$25,532
> State median household income: $61,933
> Town poverty rate: 34.8%
> Town population: 15,121

Sterling, Colorado
Source: Wikimedia Commons

6. Sterling, Colorado
> Town median household income:
$36,204
> State median household income: $61,303
> Town poverty rate: 21.4%
> Town population: 14,709

Rockville, Connecticut
Source: Wikimedia Commons

7. Rockville, Connecticut
> Town median household income:
$36,790
> State median household income: $70,048
> Town poverty rate: 21.5%
> Town population: 7,348

Dover, Delaware 2
Source: Thinkstock

8. Elsmere, Delaware
> Town median household income:
$47,023
> State median household income: $59,716
> Town poverty rate: 9.4%
> Town population: 6,149

Florida City, Florida
Source: Wikimedia Commons

9. Florida City, Florida
> Town median household income:
$26,539
> State median household income: $47,463
> Town poverty rate: 46.2%
> Town population: 11,853

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Thomson, Georgia
Source: Wikimedia Commons

10. Thomson, Georgia
> Town median household income:
$21,211
> State median household income: $49,321
> Town poverty rate: 38.3%
> Town population: 6,682

Schofield Barracks, Hawaii
Source: Wikimedia Commons

11. Schofield Barracks, Hawaii
> Town median household income:
$51,584
> State median household income: $69,592
> Town poverty rate: 11.1%
> Town population: 19,525

Homedale, Idaho
Source: Wikimedia Commons

12. Homedale, Idaho
> Town median household income:
$24,250
> State median household income: $47,861
> Town poverty rate: 40.1%
> Town population: 2,595

Illinois Welcome Sign
Source: Thinkstock

13. Charleston, Illinois
> Town median household income:
$26,844
> State median household income: $57,444
> Town poverty rate: 35.0%
> Town population: 22,065

Connersville, Indiana
Source: Wikimedia Commons

14. Connersville, Indiana
> Town median household income:
$31,299
> State median household income: $49,446
> Town poverty rate: 23.4%
> Town population: 13,267

Keokuk, Iowa
Source: Wikimedia Commons

15. Keokuk, Iowa
> Town median household income:
$33,040
> State median household income: $53,712
> Town poverty rate: 24.2%
> Town population: 10,742

Pittsburg, Kansas
Source: Wikimedia Commons

16. Pittsburg, Kansas
> Town median household income:
$32,655
> State median household income: $52,504
> Town poverty rate: 29.6%
> Town population: 20,336

Franklin, Kentucky
Source: Wikimedia Commons

17. Franklin, Kentucky
> Town median household income:
$30,398
> State median household income: $42,958
> Town poverty rate: 26.2%
> Town population: 8,563

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Natchitoches, Louisiana
Source: Wikimedia Commons

18. Natchitoches, Louisiana
> Town median household income:
$26,848
> State median household income: $44,555
> Town poverty rate: 35.1%
> Town population: 18,460

Waterville, Maine
Source: Wikimedia Commons

19. Waterville, Maine
> Town median household income:
$31,995
> State median household income: $49,462
> Town poverty rate: 22.8%
> Town population: 15,886

20. Cumberland, Maryland
> Town median household income:
$31,750
> State median household income: $73,971
> Town poverty rate: 23.7%
> Town population: 20,557

North Adams, Massachusetts
Source: Wikimedia Commons

21. North Adams, Massachusetts
> Town median household income:
$37,654
> State median household income: $69,160
> Town poverty rate: 18.9%
> Town population: 13,563

Benton Harbor, Michigan
Source: Wikimedia Commons

22. Benton Harbor, Michigan
> Town median household income:
$19,359
> State median household income: $49,847
> Town poverty rate: 47.4%
> Town population: 10,056

Brainerd, Minnesota
Source: Wikimedia Commons

23. Brainerd, Minnesota
> Town median household income:
$32,169
> State median household income: $61,481
> Town poverty rate: 24.3%
> Town population: 13,521

Macon, Mississippi
Source: Wikimedia Commons

24. Macon, Mississippi
> Town median household income:
$18,232
> State median household income: $39,680
> Town poverty rate: 49.9%
> Town population: 2,687

25. Pine Lawn, Missouri
> Town median household income:
$26,632
> State median household income: $48,363
> Town poverty rate: 33.3%
> Town population: 3,335

Libby, Montana
Source: Wikimedia Commons

26. Libby, Montana
> Town median household income:
$25,797
> State median household income: $46,328
> Town poverty rate: 17.4%
> Town population: 2,667

Broken Bow, Nebraska
Source: Wikimedia Commons

27. Broken Bow, Nebraska
> Town median household income:
$35,553
> State median household income: $52,686
> Town poverty rate: 13.1%
> Town population: 3,525

Laughlin, Nevada
Source: Wikimedia Commons

28. Laughlin, Nevada
> Town median household income:
$35,590
> State median household income: $51,450
> Town poverty rate: 24.6%
> Town population: 7,567

Berlin, New Hampshire
Source: Wikimedia Commons

29. Berlin, New Hampshire
> Town median household income:
$36,358
> State median household income: $66,532
> Town poverty rate: 17.4%
> Town population: 9,710

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George Washington Bridge, New Jersey
Source: Thinkstock

30. Crestwood Village, New Jersey
> Town median household income:
$28,644
> State median household income: $71,919
> Town poverty rate: 10.5%
> Town population: 7,703

Truth and Consequences, New Mexico
Source: Wikimedia Commons

31. Truth or Consequences, New Mexico
> Town median household income:
$25,536
> State median household income: $44,803
> Town poverty rate: 22.5%
> Town population: 6,337

Statue of Liberty, New York
Source: Thinkstock

32. Salamanca, New York
> Town median household income:
$29,858
> State median household income: $58,878
> Town poverty rate: 28.5%
> Town population: 5,717

Mount Olive, North Carolina
Source: Wikimedia Commons

33. Mount Olive, North Carolina
> Town median household income:
$25,727
> State median household income: $46,556
> Town poverty rate: 34.1%
> Town population: 4,693

Devil's Lake, North Dakota
Source: Wikimedia Commons

34. Devils Lake, North Dakota
> Town median household income:
$39,002
> State median household income: $59,029
> Town poverty rate: 16.3%
> Town population: 7,218

East Cleveland, Ohio
Source: Thinkstock

35. East Cleveland, Ohio
> Town median household income:
$20,660
> State median household income: $49,308
> Town poverty rate: 42.1%
> Town population: 17,619

Hollis, Oklahoma
Source: Wikimedia Commons

36. Hollis, Oklahoma
> Town median household income:
$28,327
> State median household income: $47,529
> Town poverty rate: 27.4%
> Town population: 2,110

Prineville, Oregon
Source: Wikimedia Commons

37. Prineville, Oregon
> Town median household income:
$29,249
> State median household income: $51,075
> Town poverty rate: 27.9%
> Town population: 9,184

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Johnstown, Pennsylvania
Source: Wikimedia Commons

38. Johnstown, Pennsylvania
> Town median household income:
$25,376
> State median household income: $53,234
> Town poverty rate: 34.0%
> Town population: 20,576

Central Falls, Rhode Island
Source: Wikimedia Commons

39. Central Falls, Rhode Island
> Town median household income:
$28,842
> State median household income: $54,891
> Town poverty rate: 31.7%
> Town population: 19,406

Parker, South Carolina
Source: Wikimedia Commons

40. Parker, South Carolina
> Town median household income:
$29,164
> State median household income: $45,238
> Town poverty rate: 35.3%
> Town population: 11,987

Winner, South Dakota
Source: Wikimedia Commons

41. Winner, South Dakota
> Town median household income:
$34,200
> State median household income: $50,979
> Town poverty rate: 25.9%
> Town population: 2,871

New Tazewell, Tennessee
Source: Wikimedia Commons

42. New Tazewell, Tennessee
> Town median household income:
$21,265
> State median household income: $44,361
> Town poverty rate: 43.8%
> Town population: 2,994

Austin Capital of Texas
Source: Thinkstock

43. San Benito, Texas
> Town median household income:
$27,880
> State median household income: $53,035
> Town poverty rate: 37.3%
> Town population: 24,447

South Salt Lake, Utah
Source: Wikimedia Commons

44. South Salt Lake, Utah
> Town median household income:
$37,238
> State median household income: $60,922
> Town poverty rate: 28.0%
> Town population: 24,315

Bellows Falls, Vermont
Source: Wikimedia Commons

45. Bellows Falls, Vermont
> Town median household income:
$30,343
> State median household income: $54,166
> Town poverty rate: 17.5%
> Town population: 2,766

46. Pulaski, Virginia
> Town median household income:
$36,057
> State median household income: $64,902
> Town poverty rate: 21.9%
> Town population: 8,993

Chewelah, Washington
Source: Wikimedia Commons

47. Chewelah, Washington
> Town median household income:
$30,541
> State median household income: $61,366
> Town poverty rate: 17.7%
> Town population: 2,608

Beckley, West Virginia
Source: Wikimedia Commons

48. Beckley, West Virginia
> Town median household income:
$33,616
> State median household income: $41,059
> Town poverty rate: 24.6%
> Town population: 17,529

Marinette, Wisconsin
Source: Wikimedia Commons

49. Marinette, Wisconsin
> Town median household income:
$34,602
> State median household income: $52,622
> Town poverty rate: 16.5%
> Town population: 10,890

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Sheridan, Wyoming
Source: Wikimedia Commons

50. Sheridan, Wyoming
> Town median household income:
$49,314
> State median household income: $57,055
> Town poverty rate: 10.8%
> Town population: 17,699