Poorest Town in Every State

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Source: SWInsider / Getty Images

New Mexico: Deming
> Median household income: $25,428 (state: $46,718)
> Poverty rate: 34.3% (state: 20.6%)
> Median home value: $87,200 (state: $163,900)
> Population: 14,339

Deming is the poorest town in one of the poorest states. The typical Deming household earns just $25,428 a year, compared to the median annual household income of $46,718 across the state as a whole — which itself is about $11,000 less than what the typical American household earns in a year. Serious financial hardship is common in Deming, as 20.0% of area households live on less than $10,000 a year, more than double the 9.5% share of households across the state as a whole. Nationwide, only 6.7% of households earn so little.

Source: Courtesy of Google Maps 2013

New York: New Square
> Median household income: $23,924 (state: $62,765)
> Poverty rate: 64.4% (state: 15.1%)
> Median home value: $338,200 (state: $293,000)
> Population: 7,995

Home to some of the wealthiest and some of the poorest towns in the United States, New York has the worst income inequality of any state. In New Square, a small town in southern New York, most households earn $24,000 a year or less. Meanwhile, less than 60 miles away, in the Long Island neighborhood of East Hills, the typical household earns $199,000 a year. New Square also has a poverty rate of 64.4% — the highest in both the state and the country.

Source: Upstateherd / Wikimedia Commons

North Carolina: Forest City
> Median household income: $24,383 (state: $50,320)
> Poverty rate: 37.4% (state: 16.1%)
> Median home value: $88,500 (state: $161,000)
> Population: 7,250

The typical household in Forest City, North Carolina, earns just $24,383 a year, less than half the median annual household income of $50,320 across the state as a whole. Forest City also has the state’s highest poverty rate and SNAP benefit recipiency rate, at 37.4% and 37.7%, respectively.

Incomes tend to rise with educational attainment, and in Forest City, just 14.6% of adults have a bachelor’s degree or higher, compared to 29.9% of adults in North Carolina.

Source: afiler / Flickr

North Dakota: Devils Lake
> Median household income: $43,791 (state: $61,285)
> Poverty rate: 17.1% (state: 11.0%)
> Median home value: $96,600 (state: $174,100)
> Population: 7,313

The typical household in Devils Lake, North Dakota, earns just $43,791 a year, well below the statewide median income of $61,285. In addition to low incomes, the town also has a relatively high share of extremely poor residents. In Devils Lake, 11.4% of households live on less than $10,000 a year, the largest share of any town in the state and nearly double the 5.9% share of households statewide living on such low incomes.

Real estate values often reflect what area residents can afford — and Devils Lake is the only town in North Dakota where most homes are worth less than $100,000.

Source: timevanson / Flickr

Ohio: East Cleveland
> Median household income: $21,184 (state: $52,407)
> Poverty rate: 40.5% (state: 14.9%)
> Median home value: $56,800 (state: $135,100)
> Population: 17,375

Half of all households in East Cleveland earn $22,000 or less per year, and over a quarter of all area households earn less than $10,000 a year. Additionally, 40.5% of town residents live on poverty level incomes, and 41.9% rely on SNAP benefits — each well more than double the corresponding statewide rates.

Higher educational attainment typically leads to higher incomes, and in East Cleveland, just 11.9% of adults have a bachelor’s degree or higher, less than half the 27.2% share of adults in Ohio with a bachelor’s degree.