I will admit that I'm not much of a numbers person. Math was never my strong suit. But, sometimes numbers do tell a story and in the case of Missouri's poorest town, that is definitely true. Nearly half of the residents live in poverty. The data is stunning.

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There is a new breakdown of the poorest towns in each state by 24/7 Wall St. Their study includes 5 major factors to decide how poor a town is:

  • Median household income
  • Poverty rate
  • Adults with a bachelor’s degree or higher
  • Median home value
  • Population

All of the numbers come from the most recent full year of data which is obviously 2022 as of this writing.

What is Missouri's poorest town?

Van Buren, Missouri

Here's where the numbers will drop your jaw especially one in particular. The median household income on average in Missouri is around $65,000. In Van Buren, the median household income is only $22,000. Only 5.8% of the town has a bachelor's degree or higher. Home values in Van Buren are about half the average in Missouri. But, the one number that stands out above all others is this one:

41.9 % of Van Buren, Missouri residents live in poverty. 

Since it's birth way back in 1833, Van Buren, Missouri has never been a very big place. Population at peak was almost 1,000, but has been steadily dwindling since the 1980's with only 747 calling Van Buren home in the last census.

It's sad considering all the beauty that surrounds Van Buren in southern Missouri. Big Spring is nearby not to mention the Current River. Here's hoping the residents in that part of Missouri can find a way to an easier way of life where that poverty word will never be so prominent again.

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