Special Report

Poorest Town in Every State

Source: Courtesy of Google Maps 2013

New York: New Square
> Median household income: $23,578 (state: $65,323)
> Poverty rate: 63.3% (state: 14.6%)
> Median home value: $376,400 (state: $302,200)
> Population: 8,133

New Square is a Hasidic Jewish village located in Rockland County some 25 miles north of midtown Manhattan. According to data from the Census Bureau, the typical New Square household earns just $23,578 a year, the least of any similarly-sized place in New York state and less than half the state median household income of $65,323.

While incomes in New Square are the lowest in the state, fewer families may struggle financially than in areas with similarly low income. Despite the low incomes, the typical home in New Square is worth $376,400 — far more than the median home value statewide of $302,200.

North Carolina: Laurinburg
> Median household income: $29,388 (state: $52,413)
> Poverty rate: 34.0% (state: 15.4%)
> Median home value: $102,400 (state: $165,900)
> Population: 15,253

Laurinburg is the poorest place in North Carolina. Most households in the area earn less than $30,000 a year, and more than one in every three residents live below the poverty line.

As is often the case among the places on this list, Laurinburg is losing residents faster than it is drawing them in. Over the last five years, the Laurinburg population contracted by 4.1%, even as North Carolina’s population grew by 5.2%. The statewide population growth was likely driven in part by rapid growth in higher-income places like Huntersville and Wake Forest.

North Dakota: Valley City
> Median household income: $49,194 (state: $63,473)
> Poverty rate: 11.4% (state: 10.9%)
> Median home value: $110,000 (state: $185,000)
> Population: 6,487

Valley City is a small city of approximately 6,500 located in Barnes County, North Dakota. The typical household in Valley City earns $49,194 a year, less than both the state median household income of $63,473 and the national figure of $60,293.

While incomes in Valley City are the lowest in the state, the share of residents living below the poverty line is lower than it is nationwide. Some 11.4% of Valley City residents live below the poverty line, slightly more than the 10.9% state poverty rate yet far below the 14.1% national figure.

Source: jauretsi / Flickr

Ohio: East Cleveland
> Median household income: $21,439 (state: $54,533)
> Poverty rate: 38.9% (state: 14.5%)
> Median home value: $57,800 (state: $140,000)
> Population: 17,321

East Cleveland is the poorest place in Ohio and one of the poorest places in the United States. Decades of deteriorating economic conditions and difficult circumstances in the majority-black community, including racist housing policies and deindustrialization, have contributed to widespread poverty and lack of high-paying employment opportunities.

Most households in East Cleveland earn less than $22,000 a year, and more than one-quarter of households earn less than $10,000. Nearly 40% of East Cleveland residents live below the poverty line, more than double the 14.5% state poverty rate.

Source: Michael Barera / Getty Images

Oklahoma: Hugo
> Median household income: $24,548 (state: $51,424)
> Poverty rate: 41.5% (state: 16.0%)
> Median home value: $64,400 (state: $130,900)
> Population: 5,184

Hugo is a city of some 5,200 residents located in Choctaw County, Oklahoma. The typical household in Hugo earns just $24,548 a year, less than half the $51,424 state median household income and far less than the $60,293 national figure.

One of the largest determinants of income is educational attainment. In Hugo, just 9.3% of adults have a bachelor’s degree, less than half the 25.2% state college attainment rate and less than one-third of the 31.5% national figure.

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