Wealth isn’t really evenly distributed, which means there are a lot of places that don’t have much income, like the poorest cities in America in 2017.
I’m fortunate enough to have a job in a city that has a fairly decent annual median salary. While New York has a higher salary than other places, the cost of living is still relatively high, which is something to factor in when you’re thinking about money, but there’s still a great chance that a salaried position will ensure you’re able to be relatively comfortable. When you live somewhere that doesn’t have a lot going on and, in general, pays less, you’re likely to not have as much opportunity.
Most of these cities are smaller and, therefore, have less industry, so it, unfortunately, makes sense that these places don’t offer high salaries. I’d assume that the cost of living in these places is also pretty low. If you’re interested in learning more about the scope of American neighborhoods and cities, you should take a look at the most dangerous neighborhoods in America. Cities like the ones on this list are lacking in a lot of privilege and resources, so it’s important to recognize their location and available industries.
In order to create this list, we took a look at some of the latest published statistics from World Atlas, AOL, and Biz Journals. We took the cities from each of those sources and ranked them according to the annual median income. The lower the income, the higher the city ranks on our list, which is the most sensible way to look at this data.
Without further ado, let’s take a look at the poorest cities in America in 2017.
25. Bay City, MI
Annual median income: $27,198
While Bay City doesn’t have a high median salary, it has a rich and colorful culture with amenities and attractions.
24. Pueblo, CO
Annual median income: $27,003
Pueblo is not as big or bright as other cities we know of, but there are museums, festivals, and more.
23. El Centro, CA
Annual median income: $26,960
El Centro is the biggest city in Imperial County and its strongest industries are food processing and farming. There are county fairs and rodeos here as well.
22. St. George, UT
Annual median income: $26,631
This city is one of the most visited places in the state. The weather is beautiful and consistent year-round.
21. Lakeland-Winter Haven, FL
Annual median income: $26,559
It’s strange that this city is one of the poorest in the US considering it’s the home of Disney World and Lego Land. The city has a 5.7 percent rate of unemployment and a low median income.
20. Laredo, TX
Annual median income: $26,437
Laredo has a ton of fun events and festivals that lure tourists every now and then.
19. Gettysburg, PA
Annual median income: $26,398
Gettysburg is famous for Lincoln’s Gettysburg Address. The population is diverse and there are a lot of festivals and events even though the income is low.
18. Gadsden, AL
Annual median income: $26,041
Gadsden is among one of the least known cities in Alabama because it’s quite peaceful. The city has beautiful surroundings and a fun festival every now and then.
17. Hammond, LA
Annual median income: $25,991
Hammond isn’t necessarily tourism-strong, but the beautiful surroundings and great climate make it a livable city. The unemployment rate is 8.1 percent.
16. Madera, CA
Annual median income: $25,699
Madera is a lot of parks and trails, so it’s evident that the natural attractions drive people to the city. The unemployment rate is a high 8.1 percent, which contributes to its position on the list of the poorest cities in America in 2017.
15. Visalia-Porterville, CA
Annual median income: $25,449
This is one of the most populated cities in California. The unemployment rate is an alarming 10.8 percent, so jobs don’t really come easily here.
14. Port St. Lucie, FL
Annual median income: $24,332
Port St. Lucie is livable because of the nearby beach cities and its relaxed, laidback vibe.
13. Yuma, AZ
Annual median income: $23,656
Yuma is near the Californian and Mexican borders and the unemployment rate is a super high 12.8 percent. It’s a tourist attraction because of the desert and the city enjoys sunshine 300 days out of the year.
12. Merced, CA
Annual median income: $23,153
Merced is a city that has a lot of agricultural. There haven’t been many developments or progress here in quite some time and the unemployment rate is a high 10 percent.
11. Grants Pass, OR
Annual median income: $22,015
Jobs are said to be growing at a positive, steady pace in the next few years, but Grants Pass still has a low average income.
10. Deltona-Daytona Beach-Ormond Beach, FL
Annual median income: $21,913
Daytona Beach doesn’t seem to be a poor city, but based on the income it is among that group. The unemployment rate is around 5.2 percent, but workers are paid less than average.
9. Ocala, FL
Annual median income: $21,019
Ocala is a small city that doesn’t really have much industry, so there’s less opportunity for a higher income.
8. Prescott, AZ
Annual median income: $20,049
Prescott is a prosperous city, but back in the day, it was known as a retirement community. Older homes and Victorian structures still dominate the city, which may contribute to the lower income.
7. Brownsville-Harlingen, TX
Annual median income: $20,047
The high population and high unemployment rate is not an ideal combination. Low education and property crimes are also common here.
6. McAllen-Edinburg-Mission, TX
Annual median income: $19,846
McAllen has a low cost of living, so despite the low income, jobs are fairly easy to come by here.
5. Homosassa Springs, FL
Annual median income: $19,739
The unemployment rate here is 6.8 percent and job growth is negative. Homosassa Springs has a shaky economy and poor real estate market, so it has a lot of work to do to catch up to other places.
4. Punta Gorda, FL
Annual median income: $18,962
Punta Gorda has a small town feel and it’s not as touristy as neighboring cities. Even so, future job growth is said to be positive.
3. The Villages, FL
Annual median income: $17,476
This small city has a strong agricultural industry, though most jobs are available in the manufacturing sector. The old town feel attracts people to live here.
2. Lake Havasu City-Kingman, AZ
Annual median income: $17,370
Kingman’s unemployment rate is 7.4 percent, but future job growth is positive. It has a low cost of living, so it balances with the very low income.
1. Sebring, FL
Annual median income: $17,123
Sebring has a low population and negative projected job growth, which contributes to its spot on the list. The real estate market is just about the only positive thing here.
That concludes our list of the poorest cities in America in 2017. Did you guess any of these places?