These Are The Most Distressed U.S. Cities State By State

Though America has a massive economy, there are many cities that have especially high poverty rates. Even some of the wealthiest states in the country have cities where the median household income is half what it is at a national level. For instance, the poorest town in New York has a staggering 64.4% poverty rate. On the flip side, you may be shocked to find that Alaska outdoes Hawaii in terms of wealth. Read on to see how the poorest cities in each state compare.

California: Clearlake

Roberto Nickson/Unsplash
Roberto Nickson/Unsplash

California is known for being the home of the rich and famous people in Hollywood. Still, there are plenty of Californians who struggle to make ends meet. The poorest city in this state is Clearlake, where the median household income is a mere $27,034.

This low income has lead to a 35.9% poverty rate in the city, which is more than double the poverty rate statewide. The median home value in Clearlake is less than $100,000, compared to the $443,400 median home value across the state.

New York: New Square

Mario Tama/Getty Images
Mario Tama/Getty Images

Another hotspot for the rich and famous is New York. Though the city of New Square sounds like it’d be as glamorous as the Big Apple, it’s actually the most impoverished town in the state. The poverty rate in the city is a devastating 64.4%, which is more than four times the statewide poverty rate.

The median household income in this city is about a third of what it is statewide, coming in at $23,924. What’s worse is that the median home value in this city is a whopping $338,200, which is even higher than the statewide median home value!

Hawaii: Hawaiian Paradise Park

Skyline, Honolulu, Oahu, Hawaii
Carol M. Highsmith/Buyenlarge/Getty Images
Carol M. Highsmith/Buyenlarge/Getty Images

With a statewide median household income of $74,923, Hawaii is one of the wealthiest states in the country. Even their poorest city, Hawaiian Paradise Park, has a median household income of $51,908.

The statewide poverty rate is a measly 10.3%, but it’s double that in Hawaiian Paradise Park. The median home value in this city is also more than half what it is statewide, but is still a substantial quarter of a million dollars. Still, the high cost of living has one in five residents falling below the poverty line in this “paradise” town.

Illinois: Centreville

Pedro Lastra/Unsplash
Pedro Lastra/Unsplash

Despite being home to the booming city of Chicago, Illinois is also where the poorest city in the United State can be found. In Centreville, nearly half of the residents are impoverished with a median household income of merely $17,441.

Of the 5,094 residents who live in this town, 36.9% of them rely on food stamps to pay for groceries. The median home value in Centreville is only $47,900, or about a quarter the statewide median home value.

Florida: Belle Glade

Miami Beach Coast, Florida
Hoberman Collection/Universal Images Group via Getty Images
Hoberman Collection/Universal Images Group via Getty Images

Florida’s poorest city is Belle Glade, where the median household income is $25,873, or about half of what it is statewide. The poverty rate in this town is 39.1%, and about one in every four households bring in less than $10,000 a year.

Despite the city’s overall low income, the median home value is $111,400. That’s not terrible considering that Florida’s statewide median home value is only $178,700, but it does show the disparity in that city compared to others.

Nevada: Laughlin

Nick Fewings/Unsplash
Nick Fewings/Unsplash

Nevada may be home to Las Vegas, but it still has a statewide poverty rate of 14.2%. The state’s poorest city is Laughlin, which has a poverty rate that’s only slightly higher than that of the state, coming in at 18.4%.

Laughlin’s food stamp benefit rate is also only about 4% higher than that of the state, coming in at 16.8% compared to the 12.3% statewide. The city’s median home value is $143,100, where the statewide median home value is $216,400.

Louisiana: Bastrop

mana5280/Unsplash
mana5280/Unsplash

The median household income in the state of Louisiana is relatively low, coming in at $46,710, or about $10,000 less than the national average. The poorest city within the state is Bastrop, where the median household income is only $21,364.

At 43.5%, the poverty rate in Bastrop is more than double what it is statewide. Of the city’s 10,643 residents, over a third of them rely on food stamps. As with the poverty rate and the median household income, the median home value in Bastrop is about half that of the state, landing at a mere $73,000.

Arizona: South Tuscon

Phoenix, Arizona
Harvey Meston/Archive Photos/Getty Images
Harvey Meston/Archive Photos/Getty Images

The most impoverished city in Arizona is South Tuscon, where almost half of the population falls below the poverty line. 15% of the residents in this town make less than $10,000 a year, and the median household income is only $21,160.

Though the state’s median household income is just below the national average at $53,510, South Tuscon is one of the poorest cities in the nation. The median home value in this town is $77,700, compared to the state’s median home value of $193,200.

Colorado: Federal Heights

Denver Cityscapes And City Views
Raymond Boyd/Getty Images
Raymond Boyd/Getty Images

About one in five residents of Federal Heights are impoverished as the city has twice the poverty rate as the entire state of Colorado. The median household income is about half that of the state, coming out to $38,328.

Though Federal Heights’ median household income isn’t as low as some of the states we’ve seen, the city’s median home value is a measly $47,700. That’s roughly a sixth of the statewide median home value, which is $286,100.

Georgia: Brunswick

Atlanta Cityscapes And City Views
Raymond Boyd/Getty Images
Raymond Boyd/Getty Images

Georgia’s poorest city is Brunswick, which is also the state’s only town where half of the residents make less than $25,000 a year. The median household income in Brunswick is $24,417, which is over half that of the state.

Of the almost 16,000 residents in Brunswick, 39% of them fall below the poverty line. A third of the city’s residents also rely on food stamps. The median home value in Brunswick is $91,800, compared to Georgia’s $158,400 median home value.

Texas: San Benito

Loop Images/Universal Images Group via Getty Images
Loop Images/Universal Images Group via Getty Images

San Benito is the only city in Texas where the majority of households bring in less than $30,000 a year. The median household income in this state is less than half that of the state, coming in at $26,583.

San Benito’s median home value is a third that of the state at only $55,100. Of the city’s 24,474 residents, 37.4% fall below the poverty line. Texas’ wealthiest city is University Park where the median household income is eight times that of San Benito.

Pennsylvania: Johnstown

Philadelphia Skyline and Highway 76 with Schuylkill River Park Boardwalk in summer at night, Philadelphia, Pennsylvania
Jumping Rocks/Universal Images Group via Getty Images
Jumping Rocks/Universal Images Group via Getty Images

Johnstown’s median household income is almost exactly half that of the state of Pennsylvania. Meanwhile, the city’s poverty rate is almost triple that of the state, and the median home value is a measly quarter that of Pennsylvania’s overall median home value.

Of Johnstown’s almost 20,000 residents, 37.9% of them fall below the poverty line. The homes in this area, which is about an hour south of Pittsburgh, go for only $41,500 on average, and the typical household brings in $23,636.

Utah: South Salt Lake

Universal Images Group via Getty Images
Universal Images Group via Getty Images

The poorest city in Utah is South Salt Lake, not to be confused with it’s popular Salt Lake City. Almost one in four residents in South Salt Lake fall below the poverty line, which is twice the poverty rate of Utah as a whole.

The median household income in this town is $41,457, which is significantly higher than in other cities we’ve seen, but still about $24,000 less than that of the state. The median home value in South Salt Lake is $184,200.

Tennessee: Camden

Nashville Cityscapes And City Views
Raymond Boyd/Getty Images
Raymond Boyd/Getty Images

Tennessee’s poorest city is Camden, where the median household income is $28,750, about $20,000 less than that of the state. Of the 3,554 Camden residents, about one in every four falls below the poverty line.

The median home value in Camden is $92,000, compared to Tennessee’s $151,700 median home value overall. Camden is the only city in Tennessee where the majority of households earn less than $30,000 a year, and its poverty rate is about 9% higher than that of the state.

Oregon: Coquille

George Rose/Getty Images
George Rose/Getty Images

At $56,119, Oregon’s median household income is just below the national average. In Oregon’s city of Coquille, however, the median household income drops down to $31,220.

Of the almost 4,000 Coquille residents, about one in five falls below the poverty line compared to the state’s 14.9% poverty rate. The city’s median home value is $134,500, which is about half that of the state. Coquille has a 12.1% bachelor’s degree attainment rate, compared to the 32.3% nationwide.

Washington: Chewelah

George Rose/Getty Images
George Rose/Getty Images

Washington’s small town of Chewelah only has 2,601 residents and is the poorest city in the state. One in five of the city’s occupants fall below the poverty line, which is about 8% more than the statewide average.

The median home value in Chewelah is $136,200, more than half the median home value of Washington as a whole. The median household income in this city is also about half that of the state at $31,858.

Alabama: Selma

Birmingham Skyline
Carol M. Highsmith/Buyenlarge/Getty Images
Carol M. Highsmith/Buyenlarge/Getty Images

Alabama’s statewide median household income is $46,472, which is relatively low compared to the national average. Still, the state’s poorest city, Selma, has a median household income of about half what it is at the state level.

Selma also has a poverty rate that’s a whopping 20% higher than the statewide 18% poverty rate. It is also Alabama’s only town where over half the residents make less than $25,000. The median home value in Selma is $89,100.

Delaware: Claymont

Riverfront on the Christina River, Wilmington, Delaware, USA
Jumping Rocks/Universal Images Group via Getty Images
Jumping Rocks/Universal Images Group via Getty Images

Though Delaware’s poorest city is technically Claymont, that isn’t saying much given the fact the city’s poverty rate is almost the same as that of the state. Both are a hair over 12%, which is also 2% lower than the national average.

Claymont’s median household income is also relatively moderate at $52,277, compared to Delaware’s $63,036 median household income. The median home value in Claymont is $200,600, or exactly $38,000 less than the statewide average.

Connecticut: Willimantic

Skyline view of Hartford, Connecticut
Carol M. Highsmith/Buyenlarge/Getty Images
Carol M. Highsmith/Buyenlarge/Getty Images

Connecticut boasts a median household income of well over the national average at $73,781. Still, their poorest city has a median household income of about $40,000 less than that, coming in at $33,564.

The poverty rate in Willimantic is just under 30%, which is three times Connecticut’s overall poverty rate. About a third of the city’s 17,550 residents rely on food stamps and the median home value is $140,400, almost half what it is statewide.

Alaska: Ketchikan

Ketchikan, Alaska, city view from bay.
Education Images/Universal Images Group via Getty Images
Education Images/Universal Images Group via Getty Images

You may be surprised to hear that Alaska is among the wealthiest states in America, with a median household income of $76,114. Even their poorest city, Ketchikan, has a median household income that’s on par with the national average at $56,372.

The poverty rate in Ketchikan is 12.4%, only two percent higher than the state’s relatively low 10.2% poverty rate. The median home value in this town is $237,000, compared to the $261,900 median home value statewide.

Idaho: Bonners Ferry

Mitchell Kmetz/Unsplash
Mitchell Kmetz/Unsplash

About one in five residents of Bonners Ferry, Idaho fall below the poverty line. The small town only has about 2,500 occupants, many of whom work in forestry and lumber production.

The median household income in this city is $30,971, which is about $20,000 less than the statewide average. Idaho’s overall median home value is $176,800, but in Bonners Ferry, that number drops to $148,200. The state poverty rate is close to that of the nation at 14.5% but spikes up to 22.5% in this town.

Indiana: Knox

The Canal Walk in downtown Indianapolis Indiana
Education Images/Universal Images Group via Getty Images
Education Images/Universal Images Group via Getty Images

Indiana’s poorest city is Knox, a Northern town consisting of only 3,520 residents. The median household income in Knox is $33,709, or about $18,500 less than that of the state.

Knox’s poverty rate of 21.5% indicates that about one in every five residents falls below the poverty line, significantly more than the statewide 14.6%. The median home value in this town is a mere $76,600, which is well below Indiana’s modest $130,200 median home value.

Massachusetts: North Adams

Beacon Hill & Massachusetts State House
Spencer Grant/Getty Images
Spencer Grant/Getty Images

Massachusetts is another state that’s among America’s most wealthy, with a median household income of $74,167. However, the median household income in the city of North Adams is almost half that at $38,774.

Likewise, the city’s median home value is almost half that of the state, coming in at $147,500 compared to $352,600 for the entire state. The poverty rate in North Adams is 17.8%, which is 6% higher than the statewide poverty rate, but lower than some of the other states we’ve seen.

Kentucky: Glasgow

Louisville Cityscapes And City Views
Raymond Boyd/Getty Images
Raymond Boyd/Getty Images

Kentucky’s median household income is already $10,000 below the national average at $46,533, making it one of the poorest states in the country. In the city of Glasgow, that number drops down to $30,731. The poverty rate in this town is 29.9%.

That’s about 11% higher than Kentucky’s overall poverty rate. At $130,000, Kentucky’s median home value is quite low compared to many other states. In Glasgow, though, the median home value is only $110,600.

Iowa: Onawa

Joe Raedle/Getty Images
Joe Raedle/Getty Images

The poverty rate in Onawa, Iowa is nearly double that of the statewide poverty rate at 25.3%. That means of the less than 3,000 Onawa residents, about a quarter of them fall below the poverty line.

Almost the same number of residents are reliant on food stamps. The median household income in Iowa is close to what it is at a national level at $56,570. In the city of Onawa, that number drops down to $31,089.

New Jersey: Holiday City-Berkeley

Cameron Smith/Unsplash
Cameron Smith/Unsplash

The poorest city in New Jersey is Holiday City-Berkeley, where the median household income is half that of the state. New Jersey does have the second-highest statewide median income in the country at $76,475, but in Holiday City-Berkeley that drops down to $35,204.

What’s incredible is that the poverty rate in this city is only 8.4%, which is even lower than New Jersey’s overall poverty rate of 10.7%. The median home value in Holiday City-Berkeley is over half what it is statewide, coming out to $145,800.

Ohio: East Cleveland

Joe Sohm/Visions of America/Universal Images Group via Getty Images
Joe Sohm/Visions of America/Universal Images Group via Getty Images

The poverty rate in Ohio’s East Cleveland is a staggering 40.5%, almost triple that of the state. Even more of East Cleveland’s 17,375 residents rely on food stamps, with 41.9% utilizing SNAP benefits.

The median household income in this town is $21,184, significantly less than Ohio’s statewide median household income of $52,407. As such, the median home value in East Cleveland is a measly $56,800, compared to the state’s median home value of $135,100.

Wisconsin: Whitewater

Joe Sohm/Visions of America/Universal Images Group via Getty Images
Joe Sohm/Visions of America/Universal Images Group via Getty Images

Wisconsin’s poorest city is Whitewater, where more than 40% of the town’s 14,762 residents fall below the poverty line. By comparison, the state’s overall poverty rate is only 12.3%.

The median household income of Wisconsin is $56,759, but that number drops down to $31,827 in the city of Whitewater. Despite the wealth gap, the median home value is almost the same citywide as it is statewide, coming to $164,400 in Whitewater and $169,300 in Wisconsin.

North Carolina: Forest City

George Rose/Getty Images
George Rose/Getty Images

North Carolina’s poorest city is Forest City, where the poverty rate and SNAP benefit rate are both over 37%. That’s 21% more than North Carolina’s statewide poverty rate.

The bachelor’s degree attainment rate is also half as much in Forest City compared to the state at large, coming in at 14.6%. Likewise, the median household income is $24,383 compared to the $50,320 average statewide. Homes in Forest City have a median value of $88,500, significantly lower than the state’s $161,000 median home value.

Vermont: St. Johnsbury

John Greim/LightRocket via Getty Images
John Greim/LightRocket via Getty Images

Though Vermont’s poorest city is St. Johnsbury, the town’s poverty level is just above the national average at 15%. The median household income in this city is $36,958, more than $20,000 less than that of the state.

The median home value in St. Johnsbury is $148,800, compared to Vermont’s median home value of $220,600. While the city is far from being the wealthiest in the state, few of its 5,789 residents face serious financial hardship.