What town in the USA is the poorest?

I know there are many factors (per capita income, RE values, etc) that could earn such a label, but my Google search turned up various places with no clear winner. In fact the ones that claim to be the poorest seem extremely well off.

When I was a kid in the 70’s I remember footage on TV of people living in corrugated tin shacks and eating pine cones (well, not pine cones but they always had pots of whatever boiling outside their shacks). Did we eliminate poverty in this country to the point of not having a poor town exist anymore?

The problem may be in your definition of a “town.”

There are easily findable areas of dire poverty. Most of these, however, are inside of larger entities of cities, counties, towns, or other political boundaries. Any site that is purely and completely poverty-stricken is likely to be so small that it would be hard to notice.

There are no large or even semi-large municipalities in the U.S. that are nothing but shacks. And you could always find urban ghetto areas - even single blocks - that are larger in population and worse off.

Not havingy done any research and being heavily biased by european media, I’d say New Orleans. (Or if I felt the need to make friends: Bagdad & Kabul)

In Mississippi in 2005, 21.3% of the population lived below the poverty line. The U.S. average was 13.3%. New Hampshire had the lowest, at 7.5%

44.9% of the population of Puerto Rico lived below the poverty line in 2005.

If “you could always find urban ghetto areas” then I will accept that as an answer.

I can’t find one of those either except in my memory of decades past. Cabrini Green comes to mind but that was leveled AFAIK.

All I request is a location.

ding ding ding . . . We have a winner, er I mean a loser: Camden, New Jersey!
At least according to Wikipedia

Camden appears to leave East St Louis, IL in the dust so to speak. Again from Wikipedia

I am starting to think I asked a really dumb question.

Our poorest place in the US - Camden, NJ: http://www.eticomm.net/~kelta/images/camstorm.jpg

How do we explain this to the revolutionaries who demand communism?

To paraphrase a common idiom: capitalism is a terrible economic system, but it’s better than all the others. :slight_smile:

What’s your definition of a ‘town,’ DevNull?

Keystone, WV is the first place that came to my mind when I saw the thread title. At a per capita income of $7,033, it is indeed poorer than Camden, NJ. I consider Keystone to be a ‘town’ since it is incorporated with a mayor and all eventhough the 2000 census population was only 453. I drove through it once a few years ago. The town, which is dark and dusty from the coal trucks that pass through, sits tightly packed between steep mountain ridges such that direct sunlight only hits it for about 4-5 hours a day at the most in the summer.

However, by my definition of ‘town,’ I’m sure there are those poorer than Keystone in the US.

I hang loose with that definition.

I only wish to find something poorer than this:

That is a 2004 picture from Keystone. Nice digs. Not poor enough for me. Friedo knows what I am saying :slight_smile:

I’ve seen a few of those old towns in Montana–Monarch, in the Belt Mountains comes to mind. Unfortunately, I can’t find any decent pictures of them. :frowning:

Oh man, you want ‘poor’? Look up “ghost towns”!

According to Wikipedia, the Census Bureau indicated that, as of 2000, 49.9% of the population of Mayersville, MS lived below the poverty line.

I’m providing no more than a free-association answer, but your question reminded me of a town (which will remain nameless to protect the innocent) I saw almost daily in my childhood. When I think of a poor town, it immediately comes to mind. You can barely find it in Google, as it now consists of, I think, a house and a demolished grain elevator next to a railroad tracks.

When I was a kid, though, there were enough people living there that our school bus stopped there. It became especially populated in the spring when farm workers came from Mexico to work the fields of the area farmers. Migrant “quarters” at the time consisted of either cinderblock cells, wooden shacks, or some combination thereof. This was a migrant town and besides the one (farmer’s) house and grain elevator, it consisted entirely of dirt-floor, third world style hovels. Chickens, dogs, and little kids wandered in and out of the doorless, windowless shacks.

At the time I accepted it as somehow normal although extremely disturbing (and it was legal or at least standard operating procedure for ALL the area farmers). I do know that looking back, I can only conceptualize the place in terms of slave quarters. Although these people weren’t slaves, they were definitely impoverished and exploited workers. The entire system was overthrown by worker organizing in the late 70s and these practices became a thing of the past.

Oh, I’d add demographics, but I can’t find any in Google. I doubt the town even exists anymore. I’m guessing at 12 cents a bushel, each worker received roughly $8.64 for a day’s work.

You’re not going to find exactly what you want, DevNull, but if you want to call attention to poverty you can’t do better than the Pine Ridge Indian Reservation

You can check an image on this page, which also says:

Happy now?

I can do better :cool: . Tobin, California has a per capita income of $2,584. “The of lowest of all statistically measured locations in the United States.”

But with some help from the U.S. Census Bureau we can go even lower: Cuevitas CDP, Texas, with a per capita income of $1,703. 100% of the (admittantly small) population is below the poverty line. Cite (pdf warning).

The buildings are mostly empty but not leveled. One of my closest friends lives at North Ave and Larrabee and, I gotta say, it’s quite a hip area. And not in a ‘look how close to the ghetto we’re living’ way. Here’s a 3.5 year old story about the plans.

I checked out the town of Pine Ridge, SD


The median income for a household in the CDP was $21,089, and the median income for a family was $20,170. Males had a median income of $26,875 versus $25,516 for females.

With criteria like that then we can all just single out the projects in certain towns and get a winner.
Thank you all for your answers. I was looking for tin shacks and people wearing barrels like in the old fashioned cartoons but all I found was small pockets of slightly-less-well-off people who live right alongside prosperous people. Pine Ridge was a great example of what I now know. Towns of people are never poor in the USA. Only certain people are poor for whatever reason. We do live in a land where poverty is a choice. If there is a “poor town” there is a bigger, richer town within it’s own borders.

Unless anyone wants to yell at me for being an insensitive snob then I will state that I consider my question answered expertly. Thanks again.

I was amazed by this factoid about this rural West Virginia town: 72.85% African American

Wikipedia list the poorest counties

The regions appear to be:
[li]Indian Reservations[/li][li]Mississippi River Delta[/li][li]Cumberland Gap area[/li][li]Colonias in Texas[/li][/ul]

For crappiest cities, there have been lists throughout this MB. However every list seems to include “the big three”:
[li]Gary, Indiana[/li][li]East St Louis, Illinois[/li][li]Camden, New Jersey[/li][/ul]

According to the documentary on the quilt-makers it is Gee’s Bend, Alabama.

Where I live is pretty poor - Pop. 6651, Per Capita income $8842, 36.8% below the poverty line…

Woodlake, CA