Special Report

The Poorest City in Every State


To determine the poorest city in every state, 24/7 Wall St. reviewed five-year estimates of median annual household income from the U.S. Census Bureau’s 2019 American Community Survey.

We used Census “place” geographies — a category that includes 29,573 incorporated legal entities and Census-designated statistical entities. Of those, 29,319 had boundaries that fell within one of the 50 states, while the rest were in the District of Columbia or Puerto Rico.

We defined cities based on a population threshold — having more than 25,000 people — and 1,774 of the places fell above this threshold.

Since a city’s median household income can be skewed by a large student population, cities were excluded if 25% or more of the population were enrolled in undergraduate, professional, or graduate school during the same period.

The remaining 1,714 cities were ranked within their state based on median household income. We used mean household income from the ACS to break ties.

No cities within Vermont fit all inclusion criteria, so the state was excluded from the list.

Additional information on poverty, educational attainment, median home value, and population are also five-year estimates from the 2019 ACS.

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