Poorest Town in Every State

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1. Selma, Alabama
> Town median household income: $23,283
> State median household income: $44,758
> Town poverty rate: 41.4%
> Town population: 19,650

The poorest town in Alabama, Selma also ranks among the 10 poorest towns in the United States. The typical household in the town earns just $23,283 annually, about half the income a typical household in the state as a whole earns. Some 41.4% of Selma’s 20,000 residents live below the poverty line, more than double the statewide poverty rate of 18.4% and the U.S. rate of 15.1%.

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2. Ketchikan City, Alaska
> Town median household income: $53,937
> State median household income: $74,444
> Town poverty rate: 13.6%
> Town population: 8,189

With a median annual household income of $74,444 — nearly $20,000 more than the median income nationwide — Alaska is a relatively wealthy state. Even in the state’s poorest town, Ketchikan, the typical household earns $53,937 a year, in line with the typical American household income. Ketchikan’s 13.6% poverty rate is below the 15.1% U.S. poverty rate.

Source: Dan DeLuca / Wikimedia Commons

3. South Tucson, Arizona
> Town median household income: $20,241
> State median household income: $51,340
> Town poverty rate: 48.9%
> Town population: 5,627

South Tucson is the poorest town in Arizona and the fifth poorest town in the United States. The typical household in the town earns $20,241 a year, and nearly half of all town residents live in poverty. The town is one of only three in the United States in which over half of all households receive government assistance to afford groceries in the form of SNAP benefits.

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4. Camden, Arkansas
> Town median household income: $25,581
> State median household income: $42,336
> Town poverty rate: 34%
> Town population: 11,515

The typical household in Camden earns $25,581 a year, the least of any town in Arkansas. Property values in an area often reflect incomes, and the median home value in Camden is just $70,900. In comparison, the typical American home is worth $184,700, and the median home across Arkansas is valued at $114,700.

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5. Clearlake, California
> Town median household income: $25,426
> State median household income: $63,783
> Town poverty rate: 38.1%
> Town population: 15,070

With a median annual household income of $25,426, Clearlake is the poorest town in California. Higher education can open doors to higher paying jobs, and areas with fewer college-educated adults often have lower income levels. Just 9.1% of adults in Clearlake have a four-year college degree, less than a third of the statewide bachelor’s degree attainment rate of 32.9%.