100 Poorest Cities in America By GDP

In the economic landscape of the United States, disparities in wealth and prosperity are evident in the varying fortunes of cities across the nation. While some cities thrive and boast impressive Gross Domestic Product (GDP) figures, others struggle with economic challenges that leave them among the poorest in the country.

In this article, we delve into the data to present an extensive list of the 100 poorest cities in America based on their GDP. Join us as we shed light on the economic struggles faced by these communities and explore the factors contributing to their current economic status.

100 Poorest Cities in America By GDP

1. Detroit, MI

According to World Population Review, Detroit, Michigan, has the lowest median income of any major city in the United States, at just $27,838, and is considered the poorest city in America. Detroit has the worst poverty rate in the country (37.9%) and the highest unemployment rate (19.8%) in the country (more than five times the national average).

The metropolis of Detroit dominates Michigan, the largest state in the Midwest. The Detroit Industry Murals, painted by Diego Rivera in the neoclassical Detroit Institute of Arts, are a local icon, as they were inspired by the city’s ties to the car industry and helped earn Detroit the moniker of “Motor City.” Hitsville, U.S.A., the original home of Motown Records, is located in Detroit and showcases the label’s Grammy Award-winning heritage.

There are more than 5.9 million people, 2.6 million people actively employed in the economy, and around 347,000 enterprises in the ten-county metro area that includes Detroit, Michigan.

The six-county Metropolitan Statistical Area that includes Detroit is home to about 4.3 million people, generates $200.9 billion annually in the gross metropolitan product, and employs around 2.1 million people. There are around 3.9 million people living in the metropolitan area of Detroit. A PricewaterhouseCoopers research from 2005 predicted a GDP of $203 billion for the Detroit metropolitan area.

One-fifth of Detroit’s workforce, or about 180,500 employees, is based in the central business district. Metro Detroit is largely responsible for Michigan’s rising prominence in burgeoning technology sectors like life sciences, IT, and advanced manufacturing; the state employs 568,000 people in the high-tech sector, including 70,000 in the car industry, and ranks fourth in the U.S.

Statewide, Michigan’s research and development spending consistently places it in the top four of all 50 states. Jobs in the fields of architecture and engineering can be found in plenty in the Greater Detroit Area. When it comes to American vehicle production, Detroit and its surrounding area are unrivaled.

One out of every ten employees in the United States is directly or indirectly tied to the production, sale, or use of new motor vehicles, according to the Alliance of Automobile Manufacturers in 2003.

2. Cleveland, OH

Ohio‘s county capital, Cleveland, is also the largest city in the state and one of the poorest cities in US. It is about 60 miles west of Pennsylvania and is located in the northeastern portion of the state on the southern side of Lake Erie, across the United States maritime border from Canada.

Healthcare, banking, finance, education, insurance, manufacturing, sports, and technology constitute the backbone of Greater Cleveland’s varied economy. More than 2 million people call the Cleveland metro region home, making it the 33rd biggest in the United States.

3. Dayton, OH

Situated in western Ohio is the city of Dayton. The National Museum of the United States Air Force is found in this city. One can see a Wright Brothers plane, as well as 19th-century structures and vintage railways, at Carillon Historical Park. The Boonshoft Museum of Discovery features interactive science displays and a petting zoo for children. Dayton Art Institute features exhibits of world-class art.

Dayton, Ohio, is strategically located within 500 miles (800 km) of nearly 60% of the United States population and manufacturing base, making it a key node for the logistics industry. Industrial, aeronautical, and astronautical engineering are just a few of the other branches of engineering that have seen substantial development in Dayton, leading to several technical advances.

Wright-Patterson Air Force Base’s prominence in the area is a major factor in the area’s propensity for innovation. Since the demise of the city’s heavy manufacturing industry, Dayton’s businesses have expanded into the insurance, legal, healthcare, and government service sectors.

Healthcare, along with defense and aerospace, is a major contributor to Dayton’s economy. The Greater Dayton area’s hospitals contribute an estimated $3.2 billion annually to the economy and employ roughly 32,000 people.

Premier Health Partners, a hospital network, is anticipated to inject almost $2 billion annually into the local economy through its operations, payroll, and capital investments. According to HealthGrades, Dayton was the third-best U.S. city for healthcare quality in 2011.

Dayton is especially well-known in the aviation world because it was here that Orville Wright was born. Some other notable natives include poet Paul Laurence Dunbar and businessman John H. Patterson. Dayton is well-known for its numerous patents, innovations, and innovators; the Wright brothers’ development of powered flight is perhaps the city’s most well-known innovation.

Dayton, Ohio, was one of America’s top 100 cities in 2007. Site Selection magazine named Dayton the top mid-sized metro area in the United States for economic development in 2008, 2009, and 2010. In 2010, Dayton was also recognized as one of the finest U.S. cities for recent college grads to find employment.

Fifteen tornadoes hit the Dayton area on Memorial Day of 2019, making it one of the hardest-hit areas in the country. One was a devastating EF4 that ripped through the center of the city and was half a mile wide (700 meters)

4. Hartford, CT

The state capital of Connecticut is Hartford. The Mark Twain Museum and House can be found there. There are thousands of relics in the 1874 mansion, including the desk at which Twain penned several of his most famous writings.

There is a Victorian home with period furnishings and a garden at the Harriet Beecher Stowe Center. The Wadsworth Atheneum Museum of Art has an extensive collection that spans from the Renaissance to the Impressionist era.

For a number of years after the American Civil War, Hartford ranked as the wealthiest city in the country. The current poverty rate in this city is 3 out of every 10 families, making it one of the poorest in the United States. In stark contrast, in 2015, the Greater Hartford MSA rated just 32nd out of 318 MSAs for total economic output and 8th out of 280 MSAs for per capita income.

Hartford has earned its moniker as the “Insurance Capital of the World” for good reason. The city is home to the headquarters of numerous insurance companies, the primary economic driver of the state. The service, academic, and medical sectors are also highly visible. Hartford’s Knowledge Corridor Economic Partnership handles several regional development issues shared by the cities of Hartford and Springfield.

5. Rochester, NY

Rochester, New York, is located on the southern shore of Lake Ontario. Near the High Falls on the Genesee River are a collection of dilapidated factories. The Strong National Museum of Play is based around a massive collection of toys and dolls.

The early 1900s estate of Kodak’s creator, George Eastman, now houses a museum dedicated to his life’s work and legacy, including photographic displays, film archives, and landscaped gardens. There are interactive exhibits and a planetarium at the Rochester Museum & Science Center.

Technology and education have been the backbone of Rochester’s economy (aided by a highly educated workforce, research institutions, and other strengths born in its past).

While the city did experience population loss as a result of deindustrialization, it was much less severe than in most Rust Belt metro areas thanks to strong growth in the education and healthcare sectors bolstered by elite universities and the slower decline of bedrock companies like Eastman Kodak and Xerox (as opposed to the rapid fall of heavy industry with steel companies in Buffalo and Pittsburgh).

After New York City and Buffalo-Niagara Falls, the Rochester metropolitan area has the state’s third-largest regional economy. When compared to Albany and Syracuse, Rochester’s GDP is $50.6 billion more, although it still trails Buffalo.

6. Newark, NJ

New Jersey’s largest airport is located in Newark, the state capital. Big-name concerts, dance performances, and other productions can be seen at the New Jersey Performing Arts Center (NJPAC). Paintings and sculptures by American artists are among the many on display in Newark Museum. There are walking trails, lakes, and a plethora of cherry trees at Branch Brook Park. Construction on the massive Cathedral Basilica of the Sacred Heart began in 1898 and continued for decades.

Newark is the largest employment center in the state, with more than 100,000 individuals making the daily drive there for white-collar positions in industries like insurance, finance, import/export, healthcare, and government. There are more than a thousand law firms located there since it is a key courthouse site for federal, state, and county courts.

Nearly 50,000 students study in the city’s colleges, universities, medical schools, and law schools, making it a major educational hub as well. Newark is the most active transshipment hub on the East Coast of the United States due to its airport, seaport, rail facilities, and road system.

Newark may not be the industrial powerhouse it once was, but the city is still home to a sizable manufacturing sector. Many companies, such as the massive Anheuser-Busch plant that opened in 1951 and distributed 7.5 million barrels of beer in 2007, have sprung up in the southern part of the Ironbound, also known as the Industrial Meadowlands, since World War II. Rail transport delivers grain to the terminal.

The manufacturing sector, long Newark’s main economic engine, is being eclipsed by the service sector, which is experiencing fast expansion. More than 17,000 people in Newark’s workforce were employed in the transportation industry in 2011.

The Newark headquarters of NJ Transit is the third largest insurance hub in the United States, after New York City and Hartford, Connecticut. Numerous insurance companies, including Prudential Financial, Mutual Benefit Life, Fireman’s Insurance, and American Insurance Company, got their starts in Newark; Prudential, in particular, maintains its headquarters there.

IDT Corporation, NJ Transit, Public Service Enterprise Group (PSEG), Manischewitz, Horizon Blue Cross and Blue Shield of New Jersey, and Edison Properties are just a few of the numerous organizations that call the city home for its headquarters.

Millions of dollars were invested in Downtown development through public-private partnerships after Cory Booker was elected mayor, but underemployment is still a major problem in many parts of the city.

Newark’s poverty rate hasn’t gone down, and it’s always been a concern here. Approximately one-third of the city’s residents were living in poverty as of 2010.

7. Jackson, MS

Jackson serves as the state capital of Mississippi. Several important stops along the Mississippi Freedom Trail, which commemorates the state’s role in the civil rights movement, may be found within the city limits of Jackson. The historic Medgar Evers house and the Mississippi State Capitol are two examples. There is an aquarium and hiking paths at the Mississippi Museum of Natural Science in the verdant LeFleur’s Bluff State Park.

Several large businesses call Jackson, Mississippi, home. Products in this category include anything that is either electrically or mechanically powered, as well as processed foods, raw and finished metals, and electrical and mechanical components. Livestock, soy, cotton, and poultry farming are all flourishing in the region.

Employment in the medical field is Jackson’s mainstay. The city is home to several of Mississippi’s largest, most prestigious, and most technologically sophisticated hospitals.

The Fondren District to the north of Downtown Jackson is home to a substantial medical corridor that includes St. Dominic Memorial Hospital, Mississippi Baptist Medical Center, G.V. (Sonny) Montgomery VA Medical Center, and the University of Mississippi Medical Center.

8. Syracuse, NY

Located in New York, Syracuse is a major metropolitan area. The Erie Canal Museum, established in the Weighlock Building in 1850, is located here. The Milton J. Rubenstein Museum of Science & Technology (MOST) is housed in the historic state armory and features hands-on displays and a planetarium. The Everson Museum of Art was designed by I.M. Pei and features works by American artists. The Landmark Theatre, a lavish 1920s venue, is where you can see Broadway shows and concerts.

About 650,000 people call the greater Syracuse area home. It’s located in the middle of New York State. Little progress has been made in the area in terms of population or employment during the past few decades.

Historically, manufacturing was the backbone of the economy of Syracuse, as it was in much of upstate New York; large businesses included names like Carrier, General Electric, and Lockheed Martin.

Despite its continued significance, the service industry is now the primary driver of job growth in the area. The education and healthcare industries, in particular, have been a stabilizing factor, with Upstate Medical University and Syracuse University now being the two largest employers in the region.

9. Birmingham, AL

Jefferson County is the most populated county in Alabama, and Birmingham serves as its county seat, one of the poorest cities in US. Birmingham’s population was estimated to be 197,575 in 2021, down 1% from the previous count in 2020; this would place it as Alabama’s third-most populous city, after Huntsville and Montgomery.

In 2020, 1,115,289 people lived in the greater Birmingham metropolitan area, making it the most populated metro region in Alabama and the 50th most populous in the United States. The cities of the Deep South, Piedmont, and the Appalachians all have ties to Birmingham because of their central location in the region.

Birmingham served as the South’s principal industrial hub from its inception until the end of the 1960s. The city of Birmingham, Alabama, gained notoriety as “The Magic City” and “The Pittsburgh of the South” due to its rapid expansion from 1881 to 1920.

Birmingham, like Pittsburgh, was a major producer of iron and steel, and it also played a significant role in the railroading business by producing both rails and railroad cars. When it comes to railroads, the 1860s marked the beginning of Atlanta and Birmingham’s long-standing roles as the Deep South’s two most important centers.

During the second half of the twentieth century, the economy diversified. Manufacturing is still important to the Birmingham economy, but other sectors, including finance, media, transportation, electricity transmission, healthcare, higher education, and insurance, have grown in prominence in recent years.

However, coal mining remains a significant economic activity in the Birmingham area. Birmingham is not just one of the largest banking centers in the United States but also one of the most important business hubs in the Southeastern United States. In addition, six Fortune 1000 businesses, including one in the Fortune 500 (Regions Financial), have their headquarters in the Birmingham region.

10. Springfield, MA

Western Massachusetts is home to Springfield. Naismith Memorial Basketball Hall of Fame is a beautiful monument to the sport that sits on the banks of the Connecticut River. The Springfield Museums house an extensive collection of art and artifacts from throughout the world, including works by American artists, as well as displays of science and technology and Asian art. The Incredible Dr. Seuss honors the great children’s author. A military history spanning two hundred years is preserved at Springfield Armory.

The city has grown to become the largest in western New England and the cultural, economic, and media center of the Pioneer Valley in Massachusetts, so named for its location in the valley of the Connecticut River.

Springfield is known as “Hoop City” because Canadian James Naismith invented basketball there in 1891 and as “The City of Firsts” because of the many innovations developed there (including the first American dictionary, the first American gas-powered automobile, and the first machining lathe for interchangeable parts).

100 Poorest Cities In United States By Annual Median Household Income

Rank Place State
or territory
2013-2017 Annual
Median Household
Income
Population (2013-2017
ACS estimates)
1 Little River CDP California $3,194 82
2 Villanueva CDP New Mexico $4,638 111
3 Nottoway Court House CDP Virginia $5,685 137
4 Lower Santan Village CDP Arizona $5,857 395
5 Comerío Zona Urbana Puerto Rico $6,242 4,312
6 Anon Raices Comunidad Puerto Rico $7,206 122
7 Wounded Knee CDP South Dakota $7,292 521
8 Barceloneta Zona Urbana Puerto Rico $7,897 3,920
9 Sabana comunidad Puerto Rico $8,687 1,093
10 Haivana Nakya Arizona $8,750 143
11 Palmarejo comunidad (Lajas Municipality) Puerto Rico $8,839 1,563
12 Chula Vista CDP (Cameron County) Texas $8,846 486
13 Ravalli CDP Montana $8,882 41
14 Pajonal comunidad Puerto Rico $8,889 495
15 Valley Ford CDP California $8,947 198
16 Long Hollow CDP South Dakota $9,063 242
17 Santa Clara comunidad Puerto Rico $9,063 1,037
18 Rincon Zona Urbana Puerto Rico $9,107 949
19 Whitley City CDP Kentucky $9,234 1,231
20 Boqueron comunidad (Las Piedras Municipality) Puerto Rico $9,238 1,139
21 Aguada Zona Urbana Puerto Rico $9,255 2,615
22 Sabana Eneas comunidad Puerto Rico $9,409 1,204
23 Oak Hill town Alabama $9,464 11
24 Suarez comunidad Puerto Rico $9,524 1,931
25 Tecolote CDP New Mexico $9,538 235
26 Norristown CDP Georgia $9,583 59
27 Upper Santan Village CDP Arizona $9,659 391
28 Fuig comunidad Puerto Rico $10,067 1,108
29 Adjuntas Zona Urbana Puerto Rico $10,257 4,302
30 South Greenfield village Missouri $10,278 131
31 Boligee town Alabama $10,313 602
32 El Tumbao comunidad Puerto Rico $10,396 1,802
33 Sarah Ann CDP West Virginia $10,450 262
34 Buena Vista comunidad (Humacao Municipality) Puerto Rico $10,455 816
35 South Acomita Village New Mexico $10,500 57
36 Maria Antonia comunidad Puerto Rico $10,526 1,115
37 Naranjito Zona Urbana Puerto Rico $10,532 1,593
38 Juncal comunidad Puerto Rico $10,608 631
39 El Ojo comunidad Puerto Rico $10,625 1,329
40 Miranda comunidad Puerto Rico $10,640 1,717
41 Maricao Zona Urbana Puerto Rico $10,667 662
42 Pueblito del Carmen comunidad Puerto Rico $10,882 692
43 White Mesa CDP Utah $10,972 132
44 Caban comunidad Puerto Rico $11,039 3,408
45 Pole Ojea comunidad Puerto Rico $11,113 1,644
46 Ceiba comunidad Puerto Rico $11,150 2,524
47 Palomas comunidad (Yauco Municipality) Puerto Rico $11,156 2,083
48 Camuy Zona Urbana Puerto Rico $11,163 3,816
49 La Ochenta comunidad Puerto Rico $11,207 729
50 Oak Hill city Kansas $11,250 73
51 Lomas comunidad Puerto Rico $11,280 1,253
52 Aguadilla Zona Urbana Puerto Rico $11,441 11,581
53 Barranquitas Zona Urbana Puerto Rico $11,573 1,945
54 La Yuca comunidad Puerto Rico $11,591 525
55 Farrell CDP Mississippi $11,696 264
56 Playita Cortada comunidad Puerto Rico $11,714 1,273
57 LaGrange town Arkansas $11,750 63
58 Bayside CDP Virginia $11,753 224
59 Santa Rita CDP Montana $11,808 212
60 Homestead Base CDP Florida $11,824 843
61 Morovis Zona Urbana Puerto Rico $11,847 2,198
62 San Sebastian Zona Urbana Puerto Rico $11,858 8,614
63 Loiza Zona Urbana Puerto Rico $11,889 3,439
64 Playa Fortuna comunidad Puerto Rico $11,960 1,375
65 Quebrada comunidad Puerto Rico $11,964 993
66 La Alianza comunidad Puerto Rico $11,995 1,793
Si’ufaga village American Samoa $12,000 175
67 Allen CDP South Dakota $12,083 470
68 Franklin CDP Maryland $12,117 263
69 Vieques comunidad Puerto Rico $12,147 2,648
70 Calzada comunidad Puerto Rico $12,188 184
71 Acietunas comunidad Puerto Rico $12,215 1,706
72 Palmer comunidad Puerto Rico $12,266 1,108
73 Llano del Medio CDP New Mexico $12,344 136
74 Casa Blanca CDP Arizona $12,396 1,189
75 Pageton CDP West Virginia $12,411 147
San Antonio village Northern Mariana Islands $12,414 1,149
76 Playita comunidad (Yabucoa Municipality) Puerto Rico $12,448 1,561
77 La Playa comunidad Puerto Rico $12,467 2,349
78 Brecon CDP Ohio $12,487 490
Olosega village American Samoa $12,500 172
79 Organ CDP New Mexico $12,500 225
80 Tallaboa Alta comunidad Puerto Rico $12,500 1,934
81 Rawls Springs CDP Mississippi $12,527 866
82 Santa Isabel Zona Urbana Puerto Rico $12,603 6,042
83 Corozal Zona Urbana Puerto Rico $12,691 9,203
84 Mountain Road CDP Virginia $12,791 1,055
85 Jobos comunidad Puerto Rico $12,727 2,132
86 Lares Zona Urbana Puerto Rico $12,742 4,615
87 Patillas Zona Urbana Puerto Rico $12,748 3,826
88 Reader CDP Arkansas $12,788 157
89 Las Ollas comunidad Puerto Rico $12,806 1,772
90 Shageluk city Alaska $12,813 63
91 Morgan City Mississippi $12,857 250
92 Ciales Zona Urbana Puerto Rico $12,914 2,276
93 Buena Vista comunidad (Arroyo Municipality) Puerto Rico $12,957 1,257
94 Liborio Negron Torres comunidad Puerto Rico $12,966 1,482
95 Cidra Zona Urbana Puerto Rico $13,011 5,427
96 Matewan town West Virginia $13,105 460
97 Bajandas comunidad Puerto Rico $13,112 747
98 Alligator town Mississippi $13,125 100
99 Sidon town Mississippi $13,125 456
100 Lluveras comunidad Puerto Rico $13,141 1,228
101 Livingston Alabama $13,272 3,416
102 Manati Zona Urbana Puerto Rico $13,278 13,130
103 Boy River Minnesota $13,281 59
104 Palmas comunidad Puerto Rico $13,288 1,135
105 McKee Kentucky $13,306 1,179

 

United States Economy Today

Since 1871, the United States has had the largest economy in the world. The nominal size of the American economy in 2018 was $20.49 trillion. The economy of the United States is so large (nearly 25% of the total) that it is considered an economic powerhouse.

The United States is one of the wealthiest in the world, yet there is a wide disparity in income, and many communities face problems related to low wages and unemployment.

In the United States, those living in poverty are those who do not have access to adequate financial resources or material goods to maintain a minimum level of living requirements.

The federal poverty threshold is the estimated amount of income before taxes that a family of a certain size must have in order to be considered poor in the United States. For a family of four, the poverty line is set at $25,700 per year. In 2018, the poverty rate in the United States was 11.8% or around 38.1 million people.

Data from the American Community Survey conducted by the United States Census Bureau between 2013 and 2017 was used to determine the poorest cities in the United States. The percentage of unemployed people, the poverty rate, and the income bracket were all taken into account. The 293 U.S. cities with populations over 100,000 were considered.

What Are The Top 10 Poorest Cities In America?

Following are the top 10 poorest cities in America today:

  • Detroit
  • Cleveland
  • Hartford
  • Dayton
  • Newark
  • Rochester
  • Syracuse
  • Jackson

What Is The Poorest City In The United?

The poorest city in the United States right now is Detroit, MI.

What Is America’s Poorest State?

America’s poorest state today is Mississippi.

Where Do The Poor Live In America?

Following are the areas that are predominantly populated by poor people in America:

Mississippi had the highest poverty rate in 2018 (19.7% poverty rate), followed by Louisiana (18.65%), New Mexico (18.55%), and West Virginia (17.10%).

Cities with the Highest Poverty Rates In the United States

Most of these communities have had significant declines in the percentage of their people living below the poverty line during the past five years, which is a positive trend. When comparing the 20 largest cities with the highest poverty rates, only New Haven, Connecticut, had its share of the poor increase from 2014 to 2019, and even that increase was only 0.1%.

Nevertheless, these cities still have concerningly high rates of poverty, ranging from 35.0% in Detroit to 26.2% in Waco, Texas, despite the nationwide decrease in poverty rates.

Conclusion

In most U.S. communities, the percentage of residents living below the poverty line has decreased over the past five years, which is encouraging news. The poverty percentage is shockingly high in many of America’s largest cities, which is bad news.

An average of 17.4 percent of residents in the 50 largest U.S. cities are considered to be living in poverty. This equates to just under 20 percent of the population.

In the United States, cities with populations between 100,000 and 250,000 have the lowest poverty rates. Only in San Jose, California, does less than 10% of the population live in poverty (8.7% in 2019; 11.8% in 2014).

Virginia Beach, which has a population of about 440,000, is another positive outlier because its poverty rate has decreased to 7.3% from 8.3% during the past five years.


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