The effects of COVID-19 on American workers — unemployment, reduced incomes, and even a falling into poverty for many — are all too familiar in many parts of the United States. And some parts, especially small towns and cities, have been devastated by deindustrialization and job losses for decades. In these places, incomes are generally low, poverty rates are high, and many residents depend on government assistance to afford basic necessities.
In nearly every state, even relatively wealthy states, there is at least one town where incomes are far lower than the median nationwide. To identify the poorest town in every state, 24/7 Wall St. reviewed the median annual household income in cities, towns, villages, and Census designated places with populations of at least 1,000 and less than 25,000.
Even with an upper population limit of 25,000, most of the places on this list are quite small, with fewer than 5,000 residents.
The factor that has one of the strongest correlations with income in the United States is education. Americans with a bachelor’s degree are far less likely to be unemployed or earn lower incomes than Americans with lower levels of education. Nationwide, 31.5% of adults have a bachelor’s degree. In the vast majority of places on this list, less than 20% of adults do. Incomes also tend to correlate with other factors, such as home values and poverty. The towns on this list tend to have very low median home values and very high poverty rates.
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