Iowa’s Worst Ranked City to Live in Has Poverty Rate Over 25%
The United States is known as a world economic powerhouse. In fact, it's attributed with over 25% of global economic activity. Beneath that impressive economic feat lies the outliers – not all parts of the country benefit equally from that level of prosperity. Data from the World Bank reveals that income inequality in the United States is more pronounced than in many other developed countries with similar democratic and free-market values. While the United States does boast the highest GDP in the world, more than 41 million Americans, or 12.8% of the population, struggle to make ends meet and live below the federal poverty line.
A recent study conducted by 24/7 Wall St.com dove into the issue, using data from the Census Bureau, the FBI, and the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention to identify the worst cities to live in each state. The study considered a weighted index of 22 measures that fell into three primary categories: economy, quality of life, and community. These indicators encompass employment growth, unemployment rates, median household income, poverty rates, education levels, housing values, healthcare quality, access to essential services, and several others.
One common thread across these cities is economic hardship. In most cases, household incomes fall significantly below the state average, and a substantial portion of the population lives below the poverty line. The opioid epidemic has also taken a heavy toll on several of the communities, with drug-induced mortality rates often significantly higher than state averages. This crisis further exacerbates the already challenging living conditions.
Notably, the housing market reflects the low quality of life, with property values far below state averages. For residents, this means not only economic challenges but also limited opportunities for wealth accumulation and stability.
While each city on the list ranks as the worst place to live within its state, it's essential to acknowledge that living conditions can vary significantly even within these cities. Addressing these challenges requires targeted efforts, including economic development initiatives, improved access to healthcare and education, and strategies to combat the opioid epidemic. Closing the economic gap and improving the quality of life in these communities remains a critical goal for the nation's ongoing development.
So, what is the worst city in Iowa and why?
- Poverty rate: 25.2% (state: 11.0%)
- Median home value: $91,000 (state: $160,700)
- Median household income: $45,204 (state: $65,429)
- Drug-induced mortality: N/A
- Total population: 8,323
Denison does offer several locations listed on the National Register of Historic Places including the Carey House, Clarence D. Chamberlin House, Crawford County Courthouse, Park Motel, William A. McHenry House, and Yellow Smoke Park Bridge.
Denison, IA's "claim to fame" includes:
- Kyle Borland, NFL player
- Charles Congden Carpenter, naturalist and herpetologist
- Clarence Duncan Chamberlin, aviation pioneer
- James Perry Conner (1851–1924) five-term US Representative from 1900 to 1909
- Chuck Darling, member of 1956 Summer Olympics basketball gold medalists, First team All-American at University of Iowa
- Jim Garrison, New Orleans District Attorney who investigated Kennedy assassination conspiracy theories
- Arthur C. Greene (1881-1958), member of the Iowa House of Representatives
- James E. Hansen, head of NASA's Goddard Institute for Space Studies
- Donna Reed, Academy Award-winning actress; Donna Reed Foundation's headquarters are in Denison
- Brandon Scherff, offensive guard for the NFL's Washington Commanders and Jacksonville Jaguars
- L.M. Shaw (1848–1932) 17th Governor of Iowa and United States Secretary of the Treasury
Photos That Show the Beauty of Iowa
Gallery Credit: Courtlin