Poorest Town in Every State

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Source: Jeffrey Beall / Wikimedia Commons

6. Sterling, Colorado
> Town median household income: $36,282
> State median household income: $62,520
> Town poverty rate: 20.4%
> Town population: 13,976

In Sterling, the poorest town in Colorado, about one in every five residents live in poverty, nearly double the statewide poverty rate of 11.0%. The typical household in the town earns just $36,282 a year, or about $26,000 less than the typical Colorado household and $19,000 less than the typical American household.

Income levels track closely with education levels. Just 15.5% of adults in Sterling have a bachelor’s degree, less than half the comparable shares nationwide and statewide.

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7. Willimantic, Connecticut
> Town median household income: $34,211
> State median household income: $71,755
> Town poverty rate: 29.7%
> Town population: 17,339

The median household income in Connecticut is $71,755 a year, well above the income the typical American household earns. Not every town in the state is high earning, however. In Willimantic, the typical household earns just $34,211 a year, less than half the statewide median. With a large low-income population, a disproportionate share of Willimantic residents rely on government assistance to afford groceries. Over a third of Willimantic households receive SNAP benefits, well above the recipiency rates for the nation and every other town in Connecticut.

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8. Smyrna, Delaware
> Town median household income: $53,941
> State median household income: $61,017
> Town poverty rate: 8.3%
> Town population: 11,081

The typical household in Smyrna earns $53,941 a year, the lowest median income of any town in Delaware. Despite ranking as the poorest town in the state, Smyrna’s income levels are comparable with the U.S. as a whole in terms of income. The median annual household income in the town is only about $600 less than the median income nationwide of $53,322.

Compared the poorest town in most states, a smaller than typical share of Smyrna residents live in poverty. Smyrna’s 8.3% poverty rate is below the 15.1% poverty rate across Delaware.

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9. Brownsville, Florida
> Town median household income: $19,796
> State median household income: $48,900
> Town poverty rate: 42.4%
> Town population: 15,860

The typical annual household in Brownsville, Florida, which is located within the Miami metro area, is just $19,796, or less than half the comparable median income of $48,900 across the state as a whole. Likely because of the low incomes, a relatively large share of area residents rely on government assistance to buy groceries. An estimated 48% of households in Brownsville received SNAP benefits last year, more than double the 14.8% of Florida households.

Source: Michael Rivera / Wikimedia Commons

10. Cordele, Georgia
> Town median household income: $23,294
> State median household income: $51,037
> Town poverty rate: 49.6%
> Town population: 11,015

In Cordele, the poorest town in Georgia, the typical household earns just $23,294 a year, or less than half the statewide median income of $51,037. With the lowest income in the state, Cordele also has the highest poverty rate. About half of the town’s 11,015 residents live below the poverty line, well more than double the comparable 17.8% poverty rate across Georgia.

As in many low-income regions, a relatively low proportion of adults in Cordele have a college degree. An estimated 11.5% of adults in the area have a bachelor’s degree or higher. In comparison, 29.4% of adults in Georgia and 30.3% of American adults nationwide have a bachelor’s degree.