…tops the list of the 10 most impoverished areas in the United States.
McAllen-Edinburg-Mission, Texas, Metro Area
Per capita income: $13,742 a year
Income of bottom one-fifth: $5,975 a year
People earning below 50% of poverty line: 17%
Food stamp recipients: 29%
Public health care recipients under age 65: 185,958
2008 unemployment: 7.3%
Of all the metropolitan and even micropolitan areas in the country, McAllen has the highest percentage of food stamp recipients, the second highest portion of the population living below half the poverty line and the third lowest per capita income.
Coincidentally, this area is also #4 in the nation for creating/sustaining economic growth. When I moved back here 6 months ago, I was astounded at all the new shopping centers and chain restaurants. But the poverty is still here. Drive 15 minutes south of where I live, and you’ll come across a number of colonias.
30 minutes east, the Harlingen-Brownsville area comes in second:
Brownsville-Harlingen, Texas, Metro Area
Per capita income: $13,689 a year
Income of bottom one-fifth: $6,160 a year
People earning below 50% of poverty line: 14%
Food stamp recipients: 25%
Public health care recipients under age 65: 91,603
2008 unemployment: 6.8%
Just east of McAllen, the Brownsville-Harlingen region has similar demographics. Per capita income is the second lowest in the nation. Unemployment is slightly lower than in McAllen, and there are fewer food stamp recipients.