Poorest Town in Every State

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Source: shannonpatrick17 / Flickr

16. Belleville, Kansas
> Town median household income: $31,885
> State median household income: $53,571
> Town poverty rate: 13.9%
> Town population: 1,831

The typical household in Belleville earns just $31,885 a year, the least of any town in Kansas. Despite the low incomes, relatively few residents earn poverty wages or depend on government assistance for basic necessities. Just 13.9% of area residents live below the poverty line, compared with the 13.3% state poverty rate and the 15.1% U.S. poverty rate. Similarly, the 9.2% SNAP benefit recipiency rate in Belleville is in line with the 9.1% statewide rate and below the 13.0% national recipiency rate.

Source: Stephen Drake / Flickr

17. Glasgow, Kentucky
> Town median household income: $28,362
> State median household income: $44,811
> Town poverty rate: 26.9%
> Town population: 14,338

Glasgow is the only town in Kentucky where the typical household earns less than $30,000 a year. Glasgow’s 26.9% poverty rate is also higher than any other town in the state and well above the 18.8% poverty rate statewide — itself one of the higher poverty levels compared with other states.

A high school diploma is a prerequisite for almost any job. In Glasgow, 78.2% of the adult population have a high school diploma, compared to 84.6% of adults statewide.

Source: Jimmy Emerson, DVM / Flickr

18. Ville Platte, Louisiana
> Town median household income: $18,679
> State median household income: $45,652
> Town poverty rate: 38.4%
> Town population: 7,338

Several towns in Louisiana have a low enough median household income to qualify as the poorest town in most other states. Ville Platte is the only town in Louisiana where the typical household earns less than $20,000 a year. The town’s median household income is nearly a third of the national median income of $55,322, and less than half the statewide median income of $45,652.

Source: Doug Kerr / Flickr

19. Eastport, Maine
> Town median household income: $33,836
> State median household income: $50,826
> Town poverty rate: 18.8%
> Town population: 1,390

Eastport is the poorest town in Maine and the third poorest town in all of New England. The typical area household earns just $33,836 a year, or about $17,000 less than the median across Maine as a whole.

As is the case in most poor American towns, a relatively large share of Eastport residents depend on government assistance to afford food. Some 23.5% of the town’s population receives SNAP benefits compared to 16.3% of people in Maine as a whole.

Source: Acroterion / Wikimedia Commons

20. Cumberland, Maryland
> Town median household income: $31,855
> State median household income: $76,067
> Town poverty rate: 24%
> Town population: 20,290

With a median annual household income of $76,067, Maryland is the wealthiest state in the country. However, not all parts of the state are high income. In Cumberland, the typical household earns $31,855 a year — less than half the statewide median income and well below the $55,322 the typical American household earns.

The area’s low incomes are reflected in low property values. The typical home in Cumberland is worth $87,700, or less than a third the median home value of $290,400 across Maryland.