Special Report

Poorest Town in Every State

Addressing the Senate Banking Committee earlier this week, Federal Reserve Chairman Jerome Powell testified that a full economic recovery in the wake of the pandemic is uncertain. As CARES act unemployment benefits are set to expire next month, and as federal lawmakers have yet to agree on a new round of stimulus, Powell’s remarks offer little consolation for the nearly 40 million Americans who have filed for unemployment since mid-March. Here is a look at every state’s unemployment claims since COVID-19 shut the economy down

The new economic reality of reduced income — and even poverty —  for many Americans is already all too familiar in many parts of the United States. For decades, small towns and cities across the country have been devastated by deindustrialization and job losses. In these places, incomes are generally low, poverty rates are high, and many residents depend on government assistance, like SNAP (food stamps), to afford basic necessities. 

In nearly every state, even relatively wealthy states, there is at least one town where incomes are far lower than the median nationwide. 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%. All data on income, education, poverty, and demographics are five-year estimates from the U.S. Census Bureau’s 2018 American Community Survey.

One of the strongest correlations with income in the United States is education. According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, Americans with a bachelor’s degree are far less likely to be unemployed than Americans with lower education, and they earn 67% more than those with only a high school diploma. Nationwide, 31.5% of adults have a bachelor’s degree. In the vast majority of places on this list, less than 20% do. Here is a look at the most educated city in every state.

Click here to see the poorest town in every state