The 10 Poorest Cities In The United States For 2024

The poorest cities in the United States are Detroit and Cleveland for 2024 based on Saturday Night Science.

Poorest Cities In The United States Map

America is pretty diverse. There are rich people, poor people, and in-between people (most of us)

Today, we are going to look at the poorest cities in the United States using Saturday Night Science to compare Census data on poverty rates.

We’re not judging. We’re just being observant.

As a point of reference for looking at these cities, the United States has 41,502,065 people living in poverty which is 12.50% of the population.

Table Of Contents: Top Ten | Methodology | Summary | Table

The 10 Poorest Cities In The US For 2024

  1. Detroit, MI – 31.5% poverty rate
  2. Cleveland, OH – 31.2% poverty rate
  3. Syracuse, NY – 29.6% poverty rate
  4. Gainesville, FL – 29.0% poverty rate
  5. College Station, TX – 28.5% poverty rate
  6. Rochester, NY – 27.9% poverty rate
  7. Dayton, OH – 27.5% poverty rate
  8. Buffalo, NY – 27.2% poverty rate
  9. Hartford, CT – 26.9% poverty rate
  10. Birmingham, AL – 26.1% poverty rate

According to the data, what’s the poorest big city in the United States? Per the most recent ACS data, the poorest city in America is Detroit, MI.

The richest city in America? That would be Centennial, CO.

To see exactly how we calculated these rankings, read on.

For additional research, see:

The 10 Poorest Cities In America For 2024

Detroit, MI

Source: Wikipedia User User:AE at Quicken Loans | CC BY-SA 1.0
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Population: 636,787
Median Income: $37,761
Average Home Price: $66,544
Unemployment Rate: 14.7%
Poverty Rate: 31.5%
Rank Last Year: 1 (No Change)
People In Poverty: 200,651
More on Detroit: Data | Crime | Cost Of Living

Detroit – what else can we say. You’re literally the poorest, least employed and most poverty stricken place in the nation. And that’s despite the fact, that people keep saying Detroit is getting better. Of course, you could talk about the decline of Detroit starting when car companies pulled out of town. That’s part of it. You could spend an entire article talking about what happened in Detroit, but today, you can buy houses for $1, about 60% of the population is gone, and it’s straight rough in most parts.

Why Detroit? Chicago, Philly, Kansas City, Milwaukee and Cincinnati were all somewhat spared. And other rust belt towns like Pittsburgh and St. Louis – and heck even Cleveland, aren’t doing THAT bad.

Fact is, Detroit has a TON of catching up to do if it wants to somewhat resemble an actual American city at some point down the road.

Review Of Detroit by HomeSnacks User

The crime is horrible there. The schools are some of the worst I have ever seen. Everything is run down there because the people do not take care of themselves or the places around them. It’s like a 3 world country!

There’s nothing there I would say is good. It’s all bad. I feel like that place should be completely bulldozed and rebuilt.

Review Detroit

Cleveland, OH

Source: Flickr User Tim Evanson | CC BY-SA 2.0
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Population: 370,365
Median Income: $37,271
Average Home Price: $100,343
Unemployment Rate: 11.9%
Poverty Rate: 31.2%
Rank Last Year: 2 (No Change)
People In Poverty: 115,442
More on Cleveland: Data | Crime | Cost Of Living

Cleveland is straight broke. 31.17% of the city is poverty stricken, and the average family lives just outside of poverty. If you live there, this isn’t new news.

At least the Cleveland sports teams have been taking people’s minds off of being in the poor house. And there’s theaters, nice restaurants opening up and national orchestras in town – despite those being traditionally wealthy forms of entertainment. Can anyone weigh in on if a majority of Cleveland residents can afford to do these things?

Apparently, though, the more you look online, the more optimistic you see Clevelanders talking about how their city is improving each year. That’s great news, Cleveland. Like the other cities on this list, we’re pulling for ya. And best of all, Cleveland – at least you’re not Detroit.

Review Of Cleveland by HomeSnacks User

I grew up here. It is completely segreated in terms of living. Some areas are really nice and classy while others are barren and proverty filled. Everything seems to have an invisible barrier when it comes to socialization, by that I mean some classes only associate themselves with their own and not too much outside. The weather is primarily cold, so there is not enough sunny days. I think the poor air quality and proverty effects the people too, the poorer physically look un healthier than those who are careful and can afford better care, but I think it depends on ones thinking.

The museums like the Rock and roll hall of fame, Art museum, and Children’s Museum.

Review Cleveland

Syracuse, NY

Source: Wikipedia User John Marino from Pittsburgh | CC BY 2.0
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Population: 146,134
Median Income: $43,584
Average Home Price: $175,959
Unemployment Rate: 8.6%
Poverty Rate: 29.6%
Rank Last Year: 3 (No Change)
People In Poverty: 43,197
More on Syracuse: Data | Crime | Cost Of Living

Our 3rd poorest city in America is Syracuse, New York, where 1 in 3 people lives in poverty – the 3rd highest rate in the US. Syracuse has actually become more poor than any other major city. A few years back, Syracuse was the 10th poorest, and now it’s the 3rd poorest. Across America, poverty rates have ticked up in major cities, but overall, poverty rates have gone down overall, by quite a bit – about 10 percent more people are less poor nowadays.

On top of the poverty issue here in upstate New York, Syracuse actually gets more snowfall than any other place in America – with slightly more snow that Wooster Mass and nearby Buffalo. As such, Syracuse residents pay about 25% of their homeownership costs on utilities, with a big portion of that going to their heating bills. So for many months, it’s extra tough to get to one of four Syracuse area Super Walmarts, or one of four area Syracuse Targets. Since Targets groceries are about 15% more expensive than Walmarts, it’s safe to assume the poorer folks patronize Walmart.

Look at how many dollar stores are in the greater Syracuse region. Makes sense.

Review Of Syracuse by HomeSnacks User

Rochester IS a GREAT PLACE to live ! Trust me I lived in Syracuse – the armpit of the universe. Rochester is cosmopolitan – non-judgmental, progressive. Cant comment on cost of living RE: retirement. Namaste – David

Review Syracuse

Gainesville, FL

Source: Wikipedia User Ebyabe | GFDL
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Population: 142,414
Median Income: $43,783
Average Home Price: $289,220
Unemployment Rate: 5.5%
Poverty Rate: 29.0%
Rank Last Year: 6 (Up 2)
People In Poverty: 41,328
More on Gainesville: Data | Crime | Cost Of Living

As the 4th poorest city in the United States, Gainesville grapples with a poverty rate of 29.02%, leaving 41,328 residents navigating financial hardships. Despite a median income of $43,783 and an unemployment rate of 5.53%, a relatively large share of the population still struggles with poverty.

Gainesville is in the center of Florida and is home to the University of Florida’s main campus.

Review Of Gainesville by HomeSnacks User

Bad schools, lots of bugs, not much to do, full of judgemental people, crackheads, and lots of college students. Highly suggest not moving here.

Lots of homeless and maybe not as much crime as other places

Review Gainesville

College Station, TX

Source: Wikipedia User Pmelton87 | GFDL
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Population: 120,451
Median Income: $52,397
Average Home Price: $333,157
Unemployment Rate: 4.7%
Poverty Rate: 28.5%
Rank Last Year: 8 (Up 3)
People In Poverty: 34,280
More on College Station: Data | Crime | Cost Of Living

College Station faces economic challenges, ranking as the fifth poorest city in the U.S. With a median income of $52,397 and an average home price of $333,157, the city grapples with real estate accessibility issues. A 28.46% poverty rate, affecting 34,280 individuals, highlights the economic hurdles.

The one quirk of the data is that a large percentage of the city’s population is Texas A&M University. University students tend to fall below the poverty level because they are younger and not employed full-time.

Rochester, NY

Source: Flickr User яіску ѕнояє | CC BY 2.0
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Population: 210,992
Median Income: $44,156
Average Home Price: $202,931
Unemployment Rate: 8.5%
Poverty Rate: 27.9%
Rank Last Year: 4 (Down 2)
People In Poverty: 58,930
More on Rochester: Data | Crime | Cost Of Living

Our next stop is in upstate New York. This time, we’re going to Rochester. One Rochester resident says, and I’ll paraphrase: Rochester used to be the headquarters for several large companies back in the 70s and 80s, and then a heavy tax burden businesses in the area. Now, a lot of the larger companies have left, taking the local economy with them.

Apparently, most of that is true – the language is kinda rough, but yes, Rochester was once a thriving city. It used to be a place where you could get your GED and make a pretty decent salary in what was considered a low-skilled job. Now, low high school graduation rates in Rochester make it tough to find the skills needed to entice companies. But they’re trying. The area is luring in new companies to the area these days.

Let’s all root for Rochester!

Rochester residents make a little less money than their Syracuse peers, but essentially, both have mostly poor to middle class residents. I wondered what type of music Rochester would listen to. And other poor communities. Apparently, there’s an answer for just about everything on the web. Poorer people like to listen to golden oldies, disco and rap. Richer people like classical, opera and rock.

Who listens to Taylor Swift then? 12 year olds?

Review Of Rochester by HomeSnacks User

I may not live in Rochester any more, but it will always be home!

Review Rochester

Dayton, OH

Source: Wikipedia User | GFDL
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Population: 137,305
Median Income: $41,443
Average Home Price: $110,664
Unemployment Rate: 10.0%
Poverty Rate: 27.5%
Rank Last Year: 5 (Down 2)
People In Poverty: 37,772
More on Dayton: Data | Crime | Cost Of Living

There once was a guy from Dayton
His life he tried to straighten
In 2003,
He got a degree
Did he get a good job? He’s still waiting’

We’re almost to our poorest place in the USA, and we’ll take a couple quick stops in Ohio. Here in Dayton, things are a real mess. 1 in 3 residents lives in poverty, and people barely crack the $30k mark annually for salaries.

Review Of Dayton by HomeSnacks User

I’m from Cincinnati and driving through Dayton is like going thru a small ghost town/war zone. I have family there and they even say it’s depressing. Sad part is most people from Dayton go to Columbus, Middletown, Cincinnati or elsewhere to have fun. Funny thing is Rooster’s is like a club for local folks, yea I said Rooster’s Restaurant.

The terrible a** roads and a lot of empty houses

Review Dayton

Buffalo, NY

Source: Wikipedia User | GFDL
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Population: 276,688
Median Income: $46,184
Average Home Price: $215,169
Unemployment Rate: 7.0%
Poverty Rate: 27.2%
Rank Last Year: 9 (Up 1)
People In Poverty: 75,176
More on Buffalo: Data | Crime | Cost Of Living

Another rust belt city, Buffalo ranks as the 8th poorest city in the United States for 2024. The poverty rate is 27.17%, and average incomes are $46,184.

Buffalo has seen its population fall since the 1970s but has picked up a bit in recent years as jobs start to come back to the city.

Review Of Buffalo by HomeSnacks User

Buffalo now has a beautiful waterfront. It is a great place to raise a family and homes are reasonably priced.

Pros: Waterfront, Albright Knox Art Gallery, Food, Affordability, NHL hockey, NFL football

Cons: We all know about the snow, but it is manageable.

Review Buffalo

Hartford, CT

Source: Public domain
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Population: 121,057
Median Income: $41,841
Average Home Price: $171,873
Unemployment Rate: 10.6%
Poverty Rate: 26.9%
Rank Last Year: 7 (Down 2)
People In Poverty: 32,540
More on Hartford: Data | Crime | Cost Of Living

Hartford is in the top ten in all three categories we measured, and it has a high unemployment rate at 10.63%. And its poverty rate is twice the national average. Yikes.

A pretty in depth article talked about Hartford’s fall from grace – noting that at one point, Hartford was very popular. To sum, Hartford is more expensive to live than lots of other places, people are leaving Hartford in droves these days, and crime is really high. When manufacturing left, so did the jobs, talent, and enthusiasm.

Hartford used to have a hockey team, but they moved to Raleigh. They have a baseball team called…the Yard Goats? Why are they called that? Anyways, I’m surprised Hartford residents have any supplemental income to go watch baseball games.

Review Of Hartford by HomeSnacks User

Hartford is a miserable crime riddled city without any positive attributes. The restaurants are sub-par. The crime rate is through the roof. It is not uncommon to see prostitutes and pimps. You can’t drive more than a couple blocks before you see a drug deal. The mayor is an idiot and is doing nothing to turn his awful city around. Now, the City of Hartford thinks the State of Connecticut should bail them out.

There is nothing worthwhile in this city. The baseball team is a complete joke. The restaurants are sub-par. The parks are heroine needle filled. The roads are full of potholes. The hospitals frequently treat people with gun shot wounds and stabbings. Avoid Hartford, Connecticut at all costs.

Review Hartford

Birmingham, AL

Source: Flickr User argusfoto | CC BY-ND 2.0
Overall SnackAbility


Population: 200,431
Median Income: $42,464
Average Home Price: $102,370
Unemployment Rate: 7.5%
Poverty Rate: 26.1%
Rank Last Year: 14 (Up 4)
People In Poverty: 52,292
More on Birmingham: Data | Cost Of Living

Birmingham, Alabama — here, the residents earn on average, $42,464 a year, and the poverty rates one of the lowest in the country, too. Alabama’s other poorest city, Mobile, isn’t quite as poor, where people make a more reassuring $40k a year.

Speaking of maps, where would a resident of Birmingham go for fun? Like, what do poor people do for entertainment? There wasn’t an exact answer, but after searching the internet for like 2 minutes, it was clear that poorer Americans go to public parks and pools, fish, attend church and spend time with friends and family. And guess what? Those things cost nothing.

And sadly, poorer people don’t have as much time to do that, as research suggests there’s about a 10-12 year gap in life expectancy between the rich and poor.

Review Of Birmingham by HomeSnacks User

This place is very racist and not good at all its like a ghost town.

Its very racist and not a good place to live.

Review Birmingham

Methodology: How We Determined The Poorest Large Cities in The US For 2024

The first thing that comes to most people’s minds when they think about determining the poorest cities in the United States is simply the poverty rate. That is, the number of people living below a federally established income level for a household of a specific size.

We used Saturday Night Science to look at the poverty level from the newly released 2018-2022 American Community Survey:

And, to be clear, we measured the 314 largest cities in America with populations over 100,000. So, while your little small town might be broke, we only look at the most populated areas.

To score the cities, we ranked each one from 1 to 314 where one is the “poorest” and has the highest poverty level. We updated this article for 2024. This report is our tenth time ranking the Poorest cities in America.

Summary: The Poorest Cities in The Us For 2024

After all the dust settled and the analysis was over, we crowned Detroit as the poorest city in America for 2024.

The cities in the United States with the highest poverty level are .

While it’s bad news for the cities we mentioned, we must acknowledge America’s richest cities. If you live in Centennial, CO, Frisco, or Overland Park, , sounds like things are going pretty well right now.

It may be time for you to consider giving back to the community.

For more reading, check out:

Poverty Rate By City In The United States For 2024

Rank City Population Poverty Rate Median Income People In Poverty
1 Detroit, MI 636,787 31.5% $37,761 200,651
2 Cleveland, OH 370,365 31.2% $37,271 115,442
3 Syracuse, NY 146,134 29.6% $43,584 43,197
4 Gainesville, FL 142,414 29.0% $43,783 41,328
5 College Station, TX 120,451 28.5% $52,397 34,280
6 Rochester, NY 210,992 27.9% $44,156 58,930
7 Dayton, OH 137,305 27.5% $41,443 37,772
8 Buffalo, NY 276,688 27.2% $46,184 75,176
9 Hartford, CT 121,057 26.9% $41,841 32,540
10 Birmingham, AL 200,431 26.1% $42,464 52,292
11 Brownsville, TX 186,999 26.1% $46,735 48,769
12 Jackson, MS 153,271 25.9% $42,193 39,743
13 Edinburg, TX 100,964 25.7% $54,139 25,988
14 Springfield, MA 155,305 25.3% $47,677 39,323
15 New Haven, CT 135,736 25.3% $54,305 34,300
16 Provo, UT 114,400 24.9% $57,943 28,474
17 Cincinnati, OH 308,870 24.8% $49,191 76,723
18 Waco, TX 140,545 24.8% $47,421 34,812
19 Toledo, OH 269,962 24.6% $45,405 66,302
20 Newark, NJ 307,355 24.4% $46,460 75,117
21 Tallahassee, FL 198,259 24.3% $52,899 48,117
22 Columbia, SC 136,754 24.2% $54,095 33,162
23 Baton Rouge, LA 225,500 24.0% $50,155 54,165
24 Milwaukee, WI 573,299 23.9% $49,733 136,846
25 Paterson, NJ 157,864 23.7% $52,092 37,445
26 Dearborn, MI 108,414 23.6% $64,600 25,639
27 Memphis, TN 630,027 23.6% $48,090 148,686
28 Shreveport, LA 186,183 23.4% $45,967 43,604
29 Ann Arbor, MI 122,216 23.3% $78,546 28,525
30 Las Cruces, NM 111,273 23.1% $51,013 25,726
31 Tuscaloosa, AL 105,797 23.1% $47,257 24,449
32 New Orleans, LA 380,408 22.9% $51,116 87,189
33 Bridgeport, CT 148,470 22.9% $54,440 33,999
34 Akron, OH 190,273 22.7% $46,596 43,249
35 Philadelphia, PA 1,593,208 22.7% $57,537 361,976
36 South Bend, IN 103,084 22.5% $49,056 23,173
37 Chico, CA 102,790 22.2% $65,932 22,860
38 Rockford, IL 148,173 22.2% $50,744 32,894
39 Boulder, CO 106,598 22.1% $80,243 23,547
40 Fresno, CA 541,528 22.1% $63,001 119,623
41 Waterbury, CT 114,480 21.9% $51,451 25,082
42 Allentown, PA 125,292 21.4% $52,449 26,812
43 Columbia, MO 126,172 21.4% $60,455 26,937
44 Providence, RI 189,715 21.3% $61,365 40,447
45 Montgomery, AL 199,819 21.1% $54,166 42,261
46 McAllen, TX 142,722 21.0% $56,326 29,943
47 Laredo, TX 255,293 21.0% $60,928 53,509
48 Knoxville, TN 191,857 20.7% $48,309 39,791
49 Mobile, AL 186,316 20.7% $48,524 38,530
50 Pueblo, CO 111,430 20.6% $52,794 22,954
51 Beaumont, TX 114,573 20.4% $53,745 23,361
52 Springfield, MO 168,873 20.3% $43,450 34,314
53 San Bernardino, CA 221,041 20.2% $61,323 44,606
54 St. Louis, MO 298,018 20.2% $52,941 60,140
55 Miami, FL 443,665 20.0% $54,858 88,688
56 Lansing, MI 112,986 20.0% $50,747 22,574
57 Houston, TX 2,296,253 19.6% $60,440 450,065
58 Baltimore, MD 584,548 19.6% $58,349 114,396
59 Tucson, AZ 541,033 19.6% $52,049 105,826
60 Peoria, IL 113,054 19.5% $58,068 22,079
61 Richmond, VA 227,171 19.5% $59,606 44,230
62 Worcester, MA 204,191 19.5% $63,011 39,735
63 Pittsburgh, PA 303,843 19.4% $60,187 59,036
64 Eugene, OR 176,755 19.3% $61,481 34,096
65 Lubbock, TX 258,190 19.3% $58,734 49,727
66 Lafayette, LA 121,706 19.2% $58,850 23,379
67 Victorville, CA 134,417 19.1% $65,746 25,740
68 Grand Rapids, MI 198,096 19.0% $61,634 37,717
69 Savannah, GA 147,583 19.0% $54,748 27,996
70 El Paso, TX 677,181 18.9% $55,710 128,258
71 El Cajon, CA 105,721 18.9% $64,128 19,938
72 New Bedford, MA 100,620 18.8% $54,604 18,876
73 Fayetteville, NC 208,697 18.8% $53,424 39,130
74 Columbus, GA 204,572 18.7% $54,561 38,234
75 Evansville, IN 116,906 18.6% $49,853 21,697
76 Winston-Salem, NC 249,571 18.4% $54,416 45,946
77 Tulsa, OK 411,938 18.2% $56,648 74,849
78 Columbus, OH 902,449 18.1% $62,994 163,614
79 Greensboro, NC 297,202 18.1% $55,051 53,644
80 Pasadena, TX 150,620 18.0% $64,698 27,081
81 Hialeah, FL 222,996 17.8% $49,531 39,715
82 Wilmington, NC 116,933 17.8% $58,908 20,802
83 Wichita Falls, TX 102,482 17.8% $55,584 18,211
84 Atlanta, GA 494,838 17.7% $77,655 87,734
85 San Antonio, TX 1,445,662 17.7% $59,593 256,171
86 Norman, OK 127,701 17.7% $62,849 22,628
87 Berkeley, CA 121,385 17.7% $104,716 21,497
88 Lancaster, CA 171,465 17.6% $71,367 30,246
89 Dallas, TX 1,300,642 17.5% $63,985 228,132
90 Boston, MA 665,945 17.5% $89,212 116,340
91 Kansas City, KS 155,438 17.4% $56,120 26,999
92 Corpus Christi, TX 317,804 17.3% $64,449 54,916
93 New York, NY 8,622,467 17.2% $76,607 1,483,064
94 Glendale, AZ 248,083 17.2% $66,375 42,670
95 Chicago, IL 2,721,914 16.9% $71,673 460,820
96 El Monte, CA 108,682 16.9% $59,929 18,388
97 Chattanooga, TN 181,288 16.9% $57,703 30,673
98 Norfolk, VA 236,973 16.9% $60,998 39,953
99 Madison, WI 268,516 16.9% $74,895 45,271
100 Tampa, FL 388,768 16.9% $66,802 65,507
About Chris Kolmar

Chris Kolmar has been in the real estate business for almost ten years now. He originally worked for Movoto Real Estate as the director of marketing before founding HomeSnacks.

He believes the key to finding the right place to live comes down to looking at the data, reading about things to do, and, most importantly, checking it out yourself before you move.

If you've been looking for a place to live in the past several years, you've probably stumbled upon his writing already.

You can find out more about him on LinkedIn or his website.

2 thoughts on “The 10 Poorest Cities In The United States For 2024

  1. Thanks Rick, didn”t realize you were in the Indy area. Must try to get together next year or maybe at the Dayton show on April 7, 2018.

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