Georgia Has Two of the Country’s 10 Poorest Cities
Georgia has the dubious distinction of laying claim to two of the country’s 10 poorest cities.
Valdosta, Ga. was ranked the 3rd poorest city in the nation with a median household income of $ 32,446, followed by Albany, Ga. at 4th, with a median household income of $32,775, according to 24/7 Wall St., citing data from the 2011 Census Bureau American Community Survey.
Nationally, median income was $50,502, marking a decline for the second straight year and representing more than an 8 percent dip below the pre-recession peak in 2007.
McAllen-Edinburg-Mission, Texas was the poorest city in the country, with median household income of $31,077. Other cities in the bottom five included Brownsville-Harlingen, Tex. and Gadsden, Ala.
From 24/7 Wall St.:
4. Albany, Ga.
- Median household income: $32,775
- Population: 161,617 (122nd lowest)
- Unemployment rate: 10.4% (77th highest)
- Pct. households below poverty line: 28.4% (7th highest)
A stunning 11.8% of households in Albany earned less than $10,000 in 2011, the largest percentage of any metropolitan area in the nation. Additionally, 28.4% of Albany residents lived below the poverty level, a considerable increase from the 21.5% who lived in poverty in 2007. The area’s unemployment also jumped, doubling between 2007, when it was just 5.2% of the labor force, to 2011, when it was 10.4%. Last year, the median home value in Albany was just $103,800, or nearly $70,000 less than the U.S. median, while 18.9% of homes were worth less than $50,000.
3. Valdosta, Ga.
- Median household income: $32,446
- Population: 140,599 (87th lowest)
- Unemployment rate: 9.2%(140th highest)
- Pct. households below poverty line: 27.6% (9th highest)
From 2007 to 2011, the unemployment rate in Valdosta increased by 130%, from 4% of workers to 9.2%. The number of employed workers declined by more than 6,000 during that time. Those jobs remaining often pay a lower salary. Last year, nearly 17% of the workforce were employed in the generally low-paying retail industry, the sixth-highest percentage of all metro areas. In 2007, just 11.3% of the labor force worked in retail. Valdosta, however, has an improving and active housing market. Home prices rose nearly 12% between 2007 and 2011. Despite these positives, 14.4% of housing units were vacant last year, higher than the national vacancy rate of 13.1%. Also, 15.3% of homes were worth less than $50,000 versus 8.8% nationwide.