What are the poorest cities in the United States?
The United States has the largest economy in the world and has held this position since 1871. In 2018, the U.S. economy was at $20.49 trillion in nominal terms. The United States economy is referred to as an economic superpower and constitutes almost 25% of the global economy.
Despite being one of the wealthiest countries in the world, the United States has a significant income inequality gap, and several towns around the country are plagued by financial hardship and poverty. Poverty in the United States defines the group of people that are in a state of deprivation, lacking the usual or socially acceptable amount of money or material possessions, often not enough to sustain a good standard of living.
Poverty in the United States is set by the “poverty threshold,” which is a government-set estimate of the point below which a household of a given size has a pre-tax income insufficient to meet minimal basic needs. The poverty threshold for a family of four is $25,700. According to the U.S. Census, the poverty rate in 2018 was 11.8%, an estimated 38.1 million people.
To measure which cities in the United States are the poorest, data from the U.S. Census’s 2013-2017 American Community Survey was pulled. Three factors were considered: the number of residents living in poverty, income rank, and the percentage of the population that is unemployed. The 293 largest cities in the United States with populations over 100,000 were evaluated.
Based on this, the poorest cities in the United States are:
- Detroit, MI
- Cleveland, OH
- Dayton, OH
- Hartford, CT
- Rochester, NY
- Newark, NJ
- Jackson, MS
- Syracuse, NY
- Birmingham, AL
- Springfield, MA
The highest median income on this list is $37,118. For comparison, the median household income in the United States was $63,179 in 2018.
According to this data, Detroit, Michigan is the poorest city in the United States with a median income of $27,838. The poverty rate in Detroit is 37.9% and the unemployment rate is 19.8%, the highest of anywhere else in the nation and more than five times higher than the national unemployment rate. Urban renewal, highway construction, and discriminatory loan policies have contributed to the migration to the suburbs, leaving behind a poor population and contributing to a loss of revenue for the city.