America is pretty diverse. There’s rich people, poor people and in-between people (most of us)
Even within a major city, you can turn a corner and go from nice to blight in less than a block.
We’re not judging. We’re just being observant is all.
But where do you go if you want to see the poorest people in the nation? We’re not talking about individuals. We mean, specifically, which parts of the country.
The general assumption is going to be large city centers with a lot of blight and crime. Yes, we took that into account, but you also have to assume the poorest cities in America are going to be where people don’t have jobs, and where people who DO have jobs earn meager salaries – at least for the most part.
So, what’s the poorest big city in America according to the data? Per the most recent ACS data, the poorest city in America is Detroit, MI.
The richest city in America? That would be Pearland, TX.
To see exactly how we calculated these rankings, read on.
Or if you’re simply not interested in reading about crime and blight, and you don’t care about this list, check out:
How We Determined The Poorest Large Cities in The US For 2019
When we analyze a place to live, we study the statistics you can find anywhere on the web. You can get just about any demographic out there.
For this analysis we used the — U.S. Census’s 2013-2017 American Community Survey.
For this study, we considered the following categories:
- # of residents living in poverty
- Income rank
- % of population unemployed
The census just updated their data, so we can take a fresh look at it.
And, to be clear, we measured the 293 largest cities in America with populations over 100,000. So, while your little small town might be broke, we’re only looking at the most populated areas.
To score the cities, we ranked each one from 1 to 293 where 1 is the “poorest” for that category. We then averaged the three rankings into a poor score with the lowest overall score being named poorest city in America.
Here’s a look at the top ten.
The 10 Poorest Cities In America For 2019
No surprise here. Although it’s slowly recovering, Detroit is atop every ‘crummy’ list that ranks places to live in America.
Detroit has the highest unemployment rate – almost 20% – than anywhere else in the nation. That’s the main reason people here are living in poverty at such a high rate.
If you’ve ever been to Cleveland, you’d understand how it ranks highly on the list of poorest cities in the U.S. While there are now some parts of downtown making a recovery, it’s pretty much an unhappy, broke place.
Tip: When heading east on I-90 outside of Cleveland, don’t get off the highway until you’re well past the suburbs. You’ve got a pretty decent chance of being car jacked in the middle of the day.
Dayton, Ohio is just a smaller version of Cleveland. It’s getting more run down every year, and it seems like the constant road construction around town makes it even more depressing.
More than 1 in 3 Dayton residents lives in poverty.
Hartford? Really? It’s true. People in CT are likely nodding in agreement at the ranking.
Hartford ranks in the top 10 in all three categories, and it has a high unemployment rate 16%. Yikes.
Rochester is a surprise. It’s actually a pretty decent place to make home. But the data doesn’t lie.
Rochester residents earn the 9th-lowest incomes of all Americans for cities over 100,000 people.
Newark is just a real pit. Hey – don’t shoot the messenger. That’s what we read on internet forums and on Facebook comments.
Not only is the danger level at a 10, the number of people out of work makes it a tough place to thrive. More than 17% of the population of Newark is counted as being out of work. We’re going to assume that number is actually much higher than that.
Jackson is the first list from the south on here. While the people here may be charming, we’re not measuring personality. We’re measuring sheer wealth..
Wow, upstate New York owns 20% of the cities on this list.
While Syracuse is a hotbed for young, exciting singles, it’s also a poor place where 1 in 3 people lives in poverty.
Birmingham is the only other true southern city to make the top 10.
It’s the 11th-highest for poverty levels, and ranks 21st-lowest for incomes.
We had heard things had gotten worse in Springfield, but didn’t realize it was this bad.
The city rounds out our top ten poorest cities in the US for 2019 after finishing in 11th last year. Poverty and overall low incomes continue to be a problem for this city in South Central Mass.
There You Have It — The Cities Most Down On Their Luck in America For 2019
After all the dust settled and the analysis was over, we crowned Detroit as the poorest city in America for 2019.
While it’s bad news for the cities we mentioned, we have to acknowledge the richest cities in America. If you live in Pearland, TX, Frisco, TX or Centennial, CO, sounds like things are going pretty well right now.
Maybe it’s time for you to look at giving back to the community a bit?
Here’s a look at the richest cities in America:
For more reading, check out: