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The Nation’s Poorest Town is in New York State

A village in upstate New York is the poorest place in the United States.

kiryas joel, new york

When you think about the poorest place in the nation, you probably think of Detroit. At the very least, visions of people living in run-down crack-houses probably flit through your mind. Kiryas Joel, New York is none of those things, but it has still earned the title of the poorest place in the US.

Kiryas holds such a distinction because out of the nation’s 3,700 villages, towns, and cities with more than 10,000 people there are none with a higher proportion of people living in poverty.

The city is 50 miles northwest of the city in Orange County, and is made up of mostly garden apartments and townhouses.

READ MORE: Brooklyn is Most Unaffordable Housing Market in US

According to the Census Bureau, around 70% of the 21,000 residents live in households with a median income below the federal poverty threshold. Nearly half of the town residents earn below $15,000 in annual income. About half of residents are on food stamps, and one-third receive Medicaid or use federal vouchers to pay for housing costs.

Kiryas Joel’s status is owed in large part to religion and culture. The village is predominantly Ultra-Orthodox Satmar Hadisic, who moved there from Williamsburg in the 1970s.

The community is generally made up of hard workers, who live quiet, religious lives. The town has little to no crime, no drug-treatment programs, and no juvenile delinquency programs, so while it may be fiscally poor, the quality of life isn’t bad.

kiryas joel, new york

kiryas joel, new york

kiryas joel, new york

kiryas joel, new york

kiryas joel, new york

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Gary Adrian Randall

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