Home to just 4% of the world’s population and nearly 25% of global economic activity, the United States is one of the richest countries in the world.
Despite the concentration of wealth in the United States, parts of the country have been left behind. In nearly every state, there is at least one town where financial hardship and poverty are the defining characteristics.
24/7 Wall St. reviewed the median annual household income in over 2,600 cities, towns, villages, and Census designated places to identify the poorest town in every state. We only considered areas with populations between 1,000 and 25,000. To ensure accuracy, we only considered places where the margin of error for population and median household income was less than 10%.
Even in wealthy states like Maryland and New Jersey, there are towns where about half of all households earn $35,000 a year or less. In the majority of towns on this list, the share of residents living below the poverty line is more than double the share across the state as a whole. In many of these places, low incomes have forced large segments of the population to depend on government assistance. In the majority of the 50 towns on this list, at least one in every five residents receive SNAP benefits — formerly known as food stamps.
All data on income, education, poverty, and demographics are five-year estimates from the U.S. Census Bureau’s 2017 American Community Survey.