Rising income inequality in the United States has been a central economic major for years, as more income is captured by the top 20% wealthiest households every year. According to a Pew Research report from 2020, the income the top quintile has brought in has risen from 43% in 1968 to 52% in 2018.
This economic disparity plays out differently across the country, and each state has rich and poor areas. (These are America’s cities with the widest income gaps.)
To determine the poorest town in every state, 24/7 Wall St. reviewed the median household income for towns and places in every state using data from the U.S. Census Bureau’s 2020 American Community Survey. Towns are defined as having populations between 1,000 and 25,000.
The median household incomes in the 50 towns on this list range from as low as just over $12,000 annually in Urania, Louisiana, to no more than a little over $41,000 in Lusk, Wyoming. The median household income nationwide, meanwhile, was $67,521 in 2020.
Median home values in these poor communities range from $23,600 in the western Alaska community of Mountain Village to $300,600 in Weeki Wachee Gardens, Florida. Home equity is especially important for lower-income households that have little to no access to other tools, such as portfolio managers or 401k accounts.
The gap in median household income also varies greatly among the poorest towns in America and their respective states. Households in the southern New Jersey town of Seabrook Farms earn $66,495 less than the statewide median of $85,245, the widest gap among these communities.
The median home value in Hawaii Ocean View, the poorest town in the Pacific islands state, is $480,600 less than the statewide median home value of $636,400, the widest gap in property value among the poorest towns in every state. Among the towns with the narrowest margin is the western Alabama community of Livingston, where the median home price is only $19,700 less than the statewide median of $149,600.
The largest of these 50 towns is Central Falls, Rhode Island, with 19,437 people, and the smallest Linton, North Dakota with just 1,010 residents. (These are states where the most children live in poverty.)
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