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Poorest Cities

The recession has done a number on many places in the United States, and people are not living as comfortably as they used to. Some places are worse than others, due to mishandling, the rise and fall of the economy, and plain bad luck. Crime rate will also cause the city’s living quality to go down dramatically. There are many factors that will determine how well a city will be doing, and one of the major ones is education.

Low quality education, or the lack of education, will not help you get anywhere. Today’s society will require you to have a degree just for you to be given the time of day- otherwise; you will be stuck with mostly dead end jobs without the chance to move up the ladder.

Here is a list of the poorest cities in America, based on poverty, unemployment and crime rate. The list is not in any specific order.

Poverty and low wages

Just because people have jobs, it does not mean that they are making a living. More often than not, working in one of contenders for the poorest city in America means that you are making just enough to scrape by. This is made even worse if you have a family to take care of. Low wages can be caused by the lack of quality education, especially now when a degree is a determining factor of your future place in society.

1. North Port, Florida

North Port did not do very well during and after the recession. It was not able to hold up with the destruction of the economy, and poverty is on the rise here. Those under the age of 18 are especially susceptible to going down the road of unemployment.

2. Louisville, Kentucky

Louisville, Kentucky, where almost a million people, just under a fifth of the population, is considered to be in poverty. Louisville can’t seem to get out of the hole that it dug itself in during the time of de-industrialization, and the Great Recession had pulled them in deeper, even if they were already in a bad state beforehand. Kentucky is working really hard to remedy these, but it will take a couple of years before the disaster is reversed.

3. El Paso, Texas

The issue with El Paso, Texas, lies mostly with the education of its citizens. Most of the people in El Paso achieve a lower level of education as compared to those living other cities, which results in lower wages and a big lack of opportunities. The percentage of those that acquired a high school diploma does not even reach 80%, and much less for those with a college degree.

4. Baltimore, Maryland

Baltimore was not spared by the recession. Unemployment reached an all time high, with the cost of living skyrocketing paired with low wages- it is just so hard to make a living in Baltimore. Due to such quality of life, a lot of people moved out to find job opportunities rather than staying. Those who used to be able to at least get by are now in poverty.

5. Tucson, Arizona

One of the biggest employment opportunities in Tucson lies in its tourism industry. Unfortunately, the tourism industry does not pay well. While unemployment rate is not as high as it used to be, the quality of living is difficult due to low wages.

6. Winston-Salem, North Carolina

A little over a fifth of the population is living under poverty, but the biggest reason of such surprisingly low quality living lies in the gap of wealth. It is only one of the many cities that are currently struggling in North Carolina.

7. Jonesboro, Arkansas

Also a candidate for poorest city in America due to unemployment, Jonesboro is home to many citizens who are living under the poverty line due to very low wages. A fifth the average households are only able to scrape up under $15,000 a year.

8. Las Cruces, New Mexico

Close to the Rio Grande, Las Cruces is actually powered by a decent agricultural industry. Unfortunately, it lacks a business district and so employment rate is low, and wages are even lower. The middle class is slowly declining, while those in poverty are rising.


Unemployment is, perhaps, one of the biggest factors of the poorest cities in the US. With less people getting job opportunities and more people living off the streets, it is no doubt one of the biggest issues concerning the wealth and quality of a city. Just like it determines poverty and low wages, education, or lack thereof, could also be a cause of unemployment and very few job opportunities.

1. Albany Georgia

Albany was once called «The Good Life City»- it’s alarming how quickly that was turned around. It was once the home of a huge transportation and manufacturing industry, and the deterioration begun when Cooper Tire and Rubber closed during 2008. This caused a sudden mass unemployment which has yet to be remedied.

2. Grand Rapids, Michigan

Grand Rapids was once known as the furniture city, due to being a center of furniture manufacturing. What caused the sudden spike in unemployment is the disappearance of jobs that did not require too much technical or intellectual skill- those employment options have slowly lessened throughout the years, suddenly giving way to unemployment and poverty.

3. Charlotte, North Carolina

When the recession hit, Charlotte became one of the biggest surprises. It is a major hub for the US airways, and is a very impressive banking district. Unfortunately, it had to house three times the population than was planned, and so unemployment suddenly spiked due to both loss of jobs and the sudden increase of the population.

High Crime Rate

Being some of the poorest cities in America is not solely based on unemployment or poverty. Sometimes, the problem lies in the crime rate, where the streets are dangerous and walking through an alley way can cause problems. High crime rates will make a city decline naturally, and so will be a factor in determining just how poorly a city is doing.

1. Laredo, Texas

Laredo is one of the closest cities to the Mexican border. This already provides the city with decent economic benefits. Unfortunately, it also becomes a cause of an unnaturally high crime rate, and an influx of drug trafficking and drug related crimes.

2. Stockton, California

Stockton was once rated as the most miserable cities to live, which is a title that no one would want to bear. Assaults, murders and other violent crimes are contributing to the already depressed city that is also suffering greatly from unemployment.

3. Rockford, Illinois

Despite being a smaller city, Rockford deals with high numbers of cases of assault and murder. This is aggravated by increasing drug trafficking, which further increases violent crimes.

4. New Haven, Connecticut

New Haven had the title of highest crime rates on the East Coast, with assault and murder happening too often for comfort. It has gone far enough that there are considerations for placing security cameras in neighborhoods where shootings are rampant, and intersections that are deemed most dangerous for those walking home.

5. St. Louis, Missouri

St. Louis was called the most dangerous city in the United States. It has one of the highest numbers of both violent and non violent crimes- assault, murder and robbery being at the forefront. Gunshots are often the case involved, and there are a lot of crimes with minors also involved.

6. Flint, Michigan

Flint suffers mostly from murder cases. Homicide is a close second, and so violent crimes are the most rampant in the city. Assaults are also commonplace, the rate of the crime one of the highest in the country. Most of the violence is alluded to the gang mentality, and drug intake and trafficking is also commonly found in Flint.

7. Cleveland, Ohio

Despite being the home of one of the top teams in the NBA, Cleveland suffers a lot from violent crimes as well as robbery. The high amount of poverty as well as unemployment aggravates this, with a low percentage of citizens completing both high school and college. Most of the violent crime happening in Cleveland involved robbery, predictably.

Being the poorest city in the US does not have to mean that the citizens are mostly on the streets, starving. If the quality and level of education is low, it is easy to understand what follows- less job options, lower wages, less chances of moving up. This in turn drives people to crime, especially robbery and assault.

The entire thing is a sad cycle, with one causing the other to a higher or lower extent. In recession, the higher rate of drop outs, the sudden shut down of many companies and the increase of violence all contribute to a city that will slowly deteriorate. While those involved are still trying to improve the city, with some succeeding to some extent, there will still be cities where the citizens will have to try harder and do anything they can to survive.

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