For the second consecutive year, an annual report has named a town in southern Illinois as the “poorest” in America.
Centreville, Illinois, is tucked between an airport, rail lines and interstates in the Metro East. For the second time in as many years, 24/7 Wall St. has named it the poorest town in America. It took the top spot from Macon, Mississippi, in 2017.
The report used Census data to measure median income, average home value, percentage of population with at least a bachelor's degree, and how much of the town’s population is living below the poverty line.
In Centreville, more than half of the residents, 50.1 percent, were living below the line.
Katie Buitrago, director of research at Heartland Alliance, said a poverty rate of more than 50 percent doesn’t mean that half of Centreville is homeless, but that they have an annual income that’s very low.
“For a family of three, it’s about $19,000 a year,” she said. “There’s actually a significant percentage of people living in poverty who are working.”
Centreville Mayor Marius "Mark" Jackson did not respond to calls for comment about the report.
While many of the poorest towns are in the rural south, a number are located in northern states and near major cities like St.Louis. Brownsville, Florida came in at third; it is just miles from Miami’s downtown. East Cleveland, Ohio, was fourth.
The report only looked at towns with between 1,000 and 25,000 people. Centreville was the only town in Illinois that made the list.