Poorest Town in Every State

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Source: Mike Kalasnik / Wikimedia Commons

46. Hillsville, Virginia
> Town median household income: $30,943
> State median household income: $66,149
> Town poverty rate: 21.1%
> Town population: 2,683

Virginia is one of 18 states with a town that has a median household income less than half the statewide median income. In Hillsville, the typical household earns just $30,943 a year, while the typical Virginia household earns $66,149 annually. The poorest town in Virginia, Hillsville is also one of only four towns in the state where more than one in every four residents live below the poverty line.

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47. Chewelah, Washington
> Town median household income: $30,998
> State median household income: $62,848
> Town poverty rate: 17.6%
> Town population: 2,601

In Chewelah, the poorest town in Washington state, the typical household earns $30,998 a year, less than half the median income across the state as a whole of $62,848 a year. Poor parts of the country tend to have fewer residents with a higher education, and Chewelah is no different. Just 16.1% of adults in Chewelah have a bachelor’s degree or higher, less than half the 33.6% of adults who do statewide.

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48. Weston, West Virginia
> Town median household income: $31,739
> State median household income: $42,644
> Town poverty rate: 26.2%
> Town population: 4,085

West Virginia is the third poorest state in the country, with a median household income of $42,644 a year — $12,678 below the national median. Generally, the lowest-income states tend to have the poorest cities in the country, but West Virginia is an exception. The typical household in Weston, the state’s lowest-income town, earns $31,739 each year. While this is certainly low, it is far from the lowest in the country. Well over 100 towns and cities across the country are poorer than Weston.

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49. Whitewater, Wisconsin
> Town median household income: $30,934
> State median household income: $54,610
> Town poverty rate: 38.2%
> Town population: 14,840

Whitewater has both the lowest median household income and the highest poverty rate of any town in Wisconsin. The typical Whitewater household earns $30,934 a year, significantly lower than the median income across the state of $54,610. Additionally, 38,2% of Whitewater residents live in poverty compared to 12.7% of Wisconsin residents. Despite the low incomes, a relatively small share of Whitewater residents depend on government assistance to afford food. Just 12.6% of Whitewater households receive SNAP benefits, in line with the 12.7% recipiency rate across the state.

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50. Thermopolis, Wyoming
> Town median household income: $45,668
> State median household income: $59,143
> Town poverty rate: 12.7%
> Town population: 2,918

Though it is the poorest town in Wyoming, Thermopolis is not as poor as many other towns on this list. The median annual household income in the area of $45,668 is about $10,000 less than the national median household. That income is more than double that of some of the poorest towns in other states, however. Additionally, just 12.7% of the town population lives below the poverty line, slightly higher than the 11.6% state poverty rate but well below the 15.1% U.S. poverty rate.