Poorest Town in Every State
Inflation began surging in the United States in early 2021. And while the consumer price index has been steadily falling for nearly a year, inflation remains stubbornly high at 4.9% – more than double the Federal Reserve’s 2% target rate. In this economic environment, American households are poorer now than they were two years ago, despite rising incomes.
While the rising cost of living has spared no one, low-income households are disproportionately feeling the effects. Americans with lower incomes spend a larger share of their earnings on basic necessities, such as food, transportation, and housing, and therefore have fewer opportunities to cut spending.
A recent survey from the U.S. Census Bureau found that 33% of households earning less than $35,000 a year found it very difficult to pay for usual household expenses in the last week, more than double the 15% share of all U.S. households reporting similar challenges. Additionally, nearly two-thirds of households earning less than $35,000 found rising prices to be “very stressful,” compared with less than half of all U.S. households.
This period of historic inflation is taking a considerable toll – both economically and psychologically – on many of the country’s most vulnerable communities.
Using five-year estimates from the U.S. Census Bureau’s 2021 American Community Survey, 24/7 Wall St. identified the poorest town in each state. We considered any city, town, or unincorporated community with a population between 1,000 and 25,000 people, and ranked them by median household income.
Among the places on this list, the typical household earns anywhere from $43,800 to just $9,100 annually. For reference, most American households earn over $69,000 a year. With such low incomes, the residents of these places are more likely to depend on government assistance to afford basic necessities. In all but two communities on this list, the share of households who receive SNAP benefits, or food stamps, exceeds the respective statewide recipiency rate. (Here is a look at the city in each state with the most people on Food Stamps.)
Low incomes in these communities are often reflected in the local housing market. In over half of the places on this list, the typical home is worth less than $100,000. (Here is a look at the cheapest cities to buy a home.)
Click here to see the poorest town in every state.
Click here to see our detailed methodology.
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