Special Report

This Small Town in Louisiana Has the Lowest Median Income in America

This article was written with the assistance of A.I. technology, and has been edited and fact-checked by Melly Alazraki.

Urania, Louisiana, is the poorest town in America, according to the U.S. Census Bureau’s 2020 American Community Survey five-year averages. The town’s median annual income is just $12,358 and the poverty rate is 40.4%.

This small town in Louisiana is just one of dozens of places across the country where most households are earning only a fraction of the comparable typical American household income of $64,994 annually.

The situation in Urania is representative of the challenges facing many small towns in rural areas of America. Many of these towns once relied on local industries such as coal mining or manufacturing. In the past few decades, however, these industries have been shrinking, often completely abandoning these communities. These places are now often under-resourced and lack the basic amenities that many Americans take for granted.

Some characteristics of small, poor towns can include a lower education level than the national average and an unemployment rate higher than the national rate. Often the available jobs are low wage.

In Urania, while the five-year unemployment rate, at least as of 2020, was relatively low, the percentage of adults with a bachelor’s degree or higher was just 5.4%. For reference, the national bachelor’s degree attainment rate was 32.9%.

Many of the towns with the lowest incomes are in the South, which has a long history of racial and economic inequality. These problems have been exacerbated by the decline of manufacturing and other industries in the region.

Click here to see the poorest towns in America.

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