America’s Poorest Cities

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The U.S. Census Bureau released its annual report on income and poverty in the United States earlier this week. Encouragingly, income of the typical American household climbed in 2017.

The latest Census release also confirmed the continuation of a longer-term trend: the increasing concentration of wealth at the top of the income distribution. According research conducted by the Economic Policy Institute, a nonprofit nonpartisan think tank, incomes for the top 5% of earners climbed six times faster than incomes for the bottom 20%.

The negative effects of this trend are evident in many of America’s poorest cities.

24/7 Wall St. reviewed 2017 data from the U.S. Census Bureau to identify the 42 metro areas where the typical household earns less than $45,000 annually. In over half of these cities, the median household income declined in 2017, a stark break from the broader U.S. trend.

The cities on this list share several characteristics, including high unemployment, low property values, and low educational attainment. While a handful are in the Midwest and western United States, they are largely confined to the South. None of the cities on this list are in the Northeast.

Click here to see America’s poorest cities.
Click here to read our detailed findings and methodology.