Special Report

The 50 Poorest Places in the Country

Source: Ammodramus / Wikimedia Commons

25. St. Francis, South Dakota
> Poverty rate: 65.7%
> Median household income: $15,833
> Adults with a bachelor’s degree: 11.7%
> Total population: 654

St. Francis, South Dakota, is a small town of about 650 located in the Rosebud Indian Reservation. The local poverty rate stands at nearly 66%, and most households in the area earn less than $16,000 a year.

Like many of America’s poorest communities, St. Francis has a large Native American population, a population disproportionately shoulders the economic hardship — both locally and nationwide. In St. Francis, the typical Native American household earns just $13,125 a year, while the typical white household earns $37,500 annually.

Source: Courtesy of Google Maps 2013

24. New Square, New York
> Poverty rate: 65.9%
> Median household income: $23,730
> Adults with a bachelor’s degree: 3.7%
> Total population: 8,373

New Square, New York, is a primarily Hasidic Jewish village in Rockland County, about 30 miles north of Midtown Manhattan. One of only three communities in New York state to rank on this list, New Square has a poverty rate of 65.9%.

Source: John Moore / Getty Images

23. Hargill, Texas
> Poverty rate: 66.0%
> Median household income: $24,095
> Adults with a bachelor’s degree: 5.3%
> Total population: 963

Hargill is a small Census designated place in southern Texas with a population of about 1,000 people. Not including college towns, the area is one of only 24 nationwide with a poverty rate of 66% or higher.

Most of the population identify as Hispanic or Latino, and like many demographically similar communities in southern Texas, educational attainment rates are low in Hargill. Hispanic and Latino populations often face considerable social and economic hurdles to education, which ultimately limit their employment opportunities. In Hargill, just 41.2% of adults have a high school diploma and 5.3% have a bachelor’s degree.

22. Cibecue, Arizona
> Poverty rate: 66.1%
> Median household income: $15,417
> Adults with a bachelor’s degree: 2.6%
> Total population: 2,173

Cibecue, Arizona, is an unincorporated community of about 2,200 located in the Fort Apache Indian Reservation. The local poverty rate stands at a near nation-leading 66.1%.

As is the case in many low-income areas with large Native American populations, economic opportunities are scarce in Cibecue. Only 39.6% of the 16 and older population participate in the labor force, compared to 63.4% of all Americans in the same age group, and the local five year average unemployment rate stands at 23.5%.

21. Fort Totten, North Dakota
> Poverty rate: 66.3%
> Median household income: $22,917
> Adults with a bachelor’s degree: 2.0%
> Total population: 1,247

Fort Totten, North Dakota, located in the Spirit Lake Reservation, has a poverty rate of 66.3% — the highest in the state. Additionally, most households in Fort Totten earn less than $23,000 a year.

Like many of the poorest communities in the United States, Fort Totten’s residents are largely Native American — one of the most economically disadvantaged demographics in the United States. One reason is a lack of economic opportunities on Indian reservations. In Fort Totten, an average of 15.2% of the labor force have been unemployed in the last five years, nearly triple the comparable national average.

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