Special Report

The 50 Poorest Places in the Country

20. Rosebud, South Dakota
> Poverty rate: 67.1%
> Median household income: $19,453
> Adults with a bachelor’s degree: 8.1%
> Total population: 1,703

Rosebud, South Dakota, located in the Rosebud Indian Reservation, is one of only 21 places in the United States — excluding college towns — where more than two in every three residents live below the poverty line.

Poverty in Native American communities is often a product of historical and contemporary factors that have resulted in high unemployment and low educational attainment. In Rosebud, only 8.1% of the adult population have a bachelor’s degree, compared to 32.1% of American adults nationwide, and likely due to a lack of opportunity, working-age residents are less than half as likely to be working or looking for work as the typical American nationwide in the same age group.

Source: flissphil / Flickr

19. Nazlini, Arizona
> Poverty rate: 67.4%
> Median household income: $9,542
> Adults with a bachelor’s degree: 9.3%
> Total population: 522

Nazlini is a predominantly Native American community in Apache County, Arizona. One of the poorest places in the United States, the local poverty rate stands at 67.4%, and most households earn less than $10,000 a year.

Native Americans are among the most economically disadvantaged groups in the United States, and economic opportunities are scarce in Nazlini. Only 25.9% of the 16 and older population are working or looking for work, well below the 63.4% national labor force participation rate.

Source: nemacolin.com

18. Farmington, Pennsylvania
> Poverty rate: 67.5%
> Median household income: $66,063
> Adults with a bachelor’s degree: 21.0%
> Total population: 964

Farmington is a small unincorporated community in southwestern Pennsylvania. The local poverty rate of 67.5% is five times higher than the comparable national average.

As is often the case in high-poverty areas, labor force participation is low in Farmington. Just 20.7% of the 16 and older population are either working or looking for work, about one-third the 63.4% national labor force participation rate.

Source: Danny20111993 / Wikimedia Commons

17. Indian Hills, Texas
> Poverty rate: 68.6%
> Median household income: $23,117
> Adults with a bachelor’s degree: 0.0%
> Total population: 3,001

Indian Hills is one of several Census designated places in southern Texas to rank on this list. The local poverty rate of 68.6% is one of the highest in the United States.

Indian Hills is a largely Hispanic and Latino community, and social and economic barriers to education faced by those demographics likely help explain the widespread poverty. A high school education is fundamental to employment opportunities, and in Indian Hills, only 27.6% of the 25 and older population have a high school diploma.

Source: kenlund / Flickr

16. Breckinridge Center, Kentucky
> Poverty rate: 69.1%
> Median household income: $43,750
> Adults with a bachelor’s degree: 1.3%
> Total population: 2,109

Breckinridge Center is an unincorporated community in western Kentucky. The local poverty rate of 69.1% is the highest in the state, not counting college and university towns, and over five times the comparable national poverty rate.

As is often the case in the poorest communities in the United States, economic opportunities are few and far between in Breckinridge Center. More than one in every four members of the labor force are unemployed.