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The 20 Poorest Cities in the United States

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America is one of the best countries in the world as far as opportunity and development are concerned. Sure, the nation’s deficit as a whole is unimpressive and actually quite shocking, but the people who live here are doing fairly well for themselves. This free country allows residents to chase their dreams without anything standing in your way. In many countries across the world, this is not something that certain people have the freedom to accomplish. But just because Americans are wealthier than so many other people from so many other countries does not mean everyone here is doing well. The country has a number of cities that are very poor and we have those right here for you to see. Check out the list of poorest cities in the country to see if your city made the list.

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Las Vegas

You might think that it’s glitz and glamour all the way, but Las Vegas is actually quite the poor city. It has a relatively low number of affluent people in comparison to the number of people living below the poverty line. For example, of the hundreds of thousands of families living here, approximately 23% of those families earn less than $25,000 per year. These are residents that primarily rely on government assistance to make ends meet, allowing them to pay for groceries and childcare so they can survive.

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Phoenix

This is an area that many people do not see as being so poor, but it is. More than a quarter of the people who live in Phoenix live well below the poverty line. However, there are also many who live well above it, which is why this is not such a dramatic area. It’s not high on the list of crime-tastic or dangerous cities in the country, and drugs are not as much of a problem here as they are in so many other cities across the US.

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Alburquerque

This New Mexico city is just kind of sad when you take into consideration the fact that more than 26% of the people who live here make less than $25,000 per year between the entire family living in one household. It’s not a bad city, though, in comparison to many of the cities on this list. The crime rate, drug rates and danger rate here is nowhere near as high as it is in the other cities on this list, which actually makes it a nice place to live.

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New York

It seems like one of the most affluent cities in the world, and it certainly does have a tremendous cost of living. With that in mind, imagine living somewhere in which a small studio apartment with less than 900 square feet might cost you as much as $3000 per month and then consider the fact that more than 27% of the families living in the Big Apple make less than 25k per year. It’s a struggle for so many people, and it’s not something many pay much attention to.

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Los Angeles

We know you’re shocked to see this one on the list. However, not everyone who lives in LA is a movie star. In fact, 27% of the people who live here are actually people who make less than $25,000 per year as a household – not even each. It’s a sad number and it’s just the reality in a city that gets a lot of attention for certain aspects of its lifestyle and not nearly enough for other aspects of life. It’s got a high poverty level, but most people pay no attention to that.

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Columbus

Ohio has the highest concentration of cities on this list. The state was hit so hard by the crash of the economy in 2008, and not in just one place. The state has been hit hard across the board, with Columbus boasting more than 28% of its residents living well below the poverty line. The city is struggling as far as jobs and opportunities, and people are unable to find work, income and to provide for their families around here. Unfortunately, they also cannot find the money to leave and find better jobs, which is sad.

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San Antonio

It might seem like this Texas city has a lot to offer, and it does. However, more than 27% of the people who reside in San Antonio struggle tremendously. They do not make even $25k per year, and the city has one of the largest poverty rates in the country. Unlike some of the other cities on this list, however, it is not one of the more dangerous cities in which to live. But it is one that does have a lot of poverty and a lot of destitute families in need of help.

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St. Louis

With nearly 29% of its residents living well below the poverty line, it only makes sense that St. Louis would make this list. The city is one with a high crime rate and it’s a big drug haven. These things are often things that work together thanks to those who feel they have no way out of their current lifestyle unless they make desperate changes, and that’s often how these people end up sick, in trouble and living even worse off than they were before.

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Toledo

More than 30% of the people who live in Toledo do so well below the poverty line. This means that households here are not making enough money to cover their expenses and make ends meet. Many struggle just to get by and many are in the market for employment. There is a high rate of crime and drug abuse here, and much of that is tied in with the level of poverty found in this city. It’s sad, but so many people who live here struggle, and it could be why so many turn to drugs and crime.

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Newark

Nearly 30% of the people who reside in Newark live below the poverty level. It might not seem like a high number, but it really is. The city is one very close to New York City, which is known for high-paying jobs and affluent neighborhoods, and while some of the people who live in Newark are doing quite well, it’s a sad city with a high crime rate and it’s considered among the most dangerous cities in the country. Though high poverty rates, high crime rates and high drug rates often go hand in hand.

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El Paso

More than 30% of households in El Paso earn more than $25k a year as a family. And that’s about right for this very southern Texas city. Right on the border of one of the most dangerous Mexican drug cities in the country, El Paso is huge into the drug trade. The crime rate here is staggeringly high and the people who live here are often involved in activities considered illegal or at least desperate just to make ends meet to care for their families.

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Buffalo

More than 31% of the people who live here do so below the poverty line. It’s one of the cities in the state that has the most people on government assistance, the crime rate is a bit higher than other cities in the area and it is no longer considered nearly as desirable as it once was. The city has a high level of poverty and people that struggle just to get by, and it’s because the lack of opportunity to be found here.

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Fresno

This California city has a large population, which is what makes it even poorer. More than 31% of the households in this city earn less than $25k per year, which is absolute poverty – especially in a California city. It’s known for being one of the poorest cities in the country, but it’s also known as being mixed in between some of the biggest and most affluent communities in the country. It’s a far cry from other towns and cities in California where residents make 10 times this on average.

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Miami

It might surprise many to see such an affluent city on this list. However, it’s not surprising to those of us who live in Florida. Yes, there are a large number of people who live in Miami that do have big bucks and it is a gorgeous city. However, there are always places you just don’t get to see. In Miami, many of the residents do not speak English, they are not able to hold a job, the drug trade here is quite large and the city is considered fairly dangerous. And more than 31.7% of the residents of Miami live below the poverty line.

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Cincinnati

Ohio cities are abundant on this list of very poor cities in the US. Cincinnati has a big population and an even bigger percentage of people who live below the poverty line. In fact, more than 34% of the people who live here are not making ends meet as far as their income is concerned, and the city has a very high level of crime likely as a result of the desperation that so many people feel just to survive and provide for their families.

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Memphis

When more than 35% of the people who live here barely break the $25,000 per year income mark in the entire household, you know it’s a poor city. Despite being a more famous city in the state of Tennessee, Memphis is high on the list of most things that people do not find desirable. For example, it’s high on the list of cities that have the highest crime rate, it’s high on the list of most dangerous cities and it’s high on the list of poorest cities. What we see here is that many places with high poverty levels are more prone to crime than others.

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Milwaukee

Wisconsin isn’t known for being an affluent state that people are just dying to visit and live, but it is known for being a nice place to go. It’s not all destitute in Milwaukee, but that doesn’t prevent this city from being one of the poorest in the country. More than 36% of the people who live here are well below the poverty line earning less than $25k per household. It’s a sad number and even fewer people who live here have a basic college education.

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Cleveland

More than 36% of the people who live in Cleveland are low income residents. This means that they are living well below the poverty line. It’s not surprising in a city that was hit very hard by the economical downfall of 2008, and it’s something that so many people have suffered. The city has a very high crime rate, though some believe that LeBron James’ return to the Cavaliers will somehow bring a better economy back into the area. We are still asking ourselves just how a basketball player is going to do that, but we like the enthusiasm.

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Philadelphia

It might be the city of brotherly love, but that doesn’t mean you want to live in Philly. It’s a poor city. Nearly 36.4% of people living here don’t even bring home $25,000 per year as a household – not as individuals. And the city has a high crime rate, it’s dangerous and it’s listed as one of the worst cities in which to reside in terms of comfort and safety. It’s just not desirable as a whole, and it’s easy to see why with statistics such as these.

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Detroit

When you do the math, more than 48% of the people who live in Detroit earn less than $25,000 per year, and we are not talking about individually. When we throw this number out there, it’s not per person; it is per household. This is an extremely destitute number and it is likely a big part of the reason so many people here live below the poverty line, suffer from drug abuse and it’s a big part of the reason the city is considered one of the most dangerous in the country.

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Written by Tiffany Raiford