Special Report

The City Where Most People Live Below the Poverty Line in Every State

Globally, the World Bank predicts that the effects of the pandemic will have pushed somewhere between 88 million and 115 million people into extreme poverty some time this year. A number of Americans could certainly be among those falling into poverty this year, and in some parts of the country COVID-19 has had a larger impact. Even before the spread of COVID-19, parts of the country already struggled much more with poverty than the nation overall.

Many Americans owe months of back rent, and many still face an unstable job situation or ongoing unemployment. According to a survey conducted between late May and early June by the Center on Budget and Policy Priorities, 27% of Americans surveyed said that it was somewhat difficult or very difficult to afford their usual expenses.  

To determine the county with the highest poverty rate in every state, 24/7 Wall St. reviewed five-year estimates of the percentage of people who live below the poverty line from the U.S. Census Bureau’s 2019 American Community Survey. For reference, the U.S. Department of Health and Human services sets the official poverty threshold at an annual income of no more than approximately $26,000 for a family of four. It should be noted that there is one state.

People struggling with poverty can be found all over the country, but the places where poverty is especially common are concentrated in 14 states, primarily in the South. The state of Mississippi is home to 11 of the counties on this list. 

While poverty rates do not correspond perfectly with median incomes, counties with lower poverty rates tend to have lower incomes. They of course also tend to have higher shares of residents receiving Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program benefits, formerly known as food stamps.

Click here to see the city where the most people live below the poverty line in every state