Special Report

Poorest Town in Every State

Source: traveler1116 / Getty Images

Alabama: Selma
> Median household income: $24,223 (state: $46,472)
> Poverty rate: 38.3% (state: 18.0%)
> Median home value: $89,100 (state: $132,100)
> Population: 19,176

Selma is the only town in Alabama where over half of all households earn less than $25,000 a year. In Jackson, the second poorest town in the state, the typical household earns just over $30,000, and the median annual household income across the state as a whole is $46,472.

Because so many in Selma live on such low incomes, a relatively large share of the population depends on government support to pay for basic necessities. The SNAP, or food stamps, recipiency rate in Selma is 38%, more than double the 15% rate across the state as a whole.

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Alaska: Ketchikan
> Median household income: $56,372 (state: $76,114)
> Poverty rate: 12.4% (state: 10.2%)
> Median home value: $237,000 (state: $261,900)
> Population: 8,195

Alaska is one of the wealthiest states in the country. The median annual household income in Alaska is $76,114, more than in every other state except for New Jersey and Maryland. Even in Ketchikan, the poorest town in the state, the typical household earns $56,372 a year — only slightly less than the national median household income of $57,652.

Ketchikan residents are also less likely to live below the poverty line than most Americans. Ketchikan’s 12.4% poverty rate is considerably lower than the 14.6% national poverty rate.

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Source: Dan DeLuca / Wikimedia Commons

Arizona: South Tucson
> Median household income: $21,160 (state: $53,510)
> Poverty rate: 46.2% (state: 17.0%)
> Median home value: $77,700 (state: $193,200)
> Population: 5,624

South Tucson is the poorest town in Arizona and one of the poorest towns in the United States. The typical South Tucson household earns just $21,160 a year, less than half the median annual household income of $53,510 across Arizona as a whole. Additionally, nearly 15% of South Tucson households earn less than $10,000 a year, more than triple the 4.6% share of all Arizona households.

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Source: Thomas R Machnitzki (thomas@machnitzki.com) / Wikimedia Commons

Arkansas: Helena-West Helena
> Median household income: $21,667 (state: $43,813)
> Poverty rate: 42.5% (state: 18.1%)
> Median home value: $75,400 (state: $118,500)
> Population: 11,210

Trailing only Mississippi, Arkansas is the second poorest state in the country, with a median household income of just $43,813 a year. In Helena-West Helena, Arkansas’s poorest town, over 50% of households earn less than $22,000 a year. Of the area’s 11,200 residents, 42.5% live below the poverty line, more than double the 18.1% poverty rate across the state as a whole.

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Source: lovefishn / Getty Images

California: Clearlake
> Median household income: $27,034 (state: $67,169)
> Poverty rate: 35.9% (state: 15.1%)
> Median home value: $93,900 (state: $443,400)
> Population: 15,061

With a median annual household income of $27,034, the northern California town of Clearlake is the poorest town in the state. Clearlake’s poverty rate of 35.9% is more than double the poverty rate of 15.1% across the state as a whole.

California has some of the most expensive real estate in the country. Home values are often a reflection of what area residents can afford, however Clearlake is the only town in the state where most homes are worth less than $100,000.

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