America's Richest & Poorest Cities

The United States may be the wealthiest country in the world, but all that money is far from distributed evenly. Poverty has a foothold in many U.S. cities.

Rich and Poor Cities in America

richest and poorest cities in the US

Some people may be worried about China overtaking the United States. Others still shudder at the once mighty, though now humbled, economy of Japan. Despite perceptions, the United States remains the wealthiest country in the world, with a healthy Gross Domestic Product of $14.9 trillion.

American Cities Facing Challenges

That doesn’t mean that problems don’t exist. The national unemployment rate is still high, although not as high as the 9.6 percent rate in 2010. Too many people are out of work or underemployed. This explains why the economic recovery feels so bad to so many people.

The picture is no better concerning home foreclosures. According to online foreclosure company, the U.S. saw 2.8 million foreclosure filings last year. That’s an all-time record. RealtyTrac’s numbers this year suggest that, though the country won’t set another record, the country will see far too many housing foreclosures in the years ahead.

And don’t forget about bankruptcy filings. The American Bankruptcy Institute reports that the number of consumers filing for Chapter 7 and Chapter 13 bankruptcy protection continues to rise, although reaching the levels seen in 2005 remains unlikely.

So, yes, things are far from economically rosy in the United States.But here’s an important fact: Things might be far better depending in which city you live.

San Jose Leads the Way

Certain U.S. cities remain gripped by poverty while others continue to attract multitudes of millionaires. Take a look at the differences between San Jose, Calif., and McAllen, Texas.

San Jose ranked as the wealthiest cityin the United States, boasting of a median household income of $76,354. Meanwhile, McAllen is the poorest, with a median household income of just $13,742. This compares to a national average income of around $50,000.

Of course, this doesn’t tell the whole story. The cost of living in San Jose is higher than in McAllen. Homes are more expensive, private schools charge higher tuitions, and shopping centers know that they can charge their customers more for everything from winter coats to dog food to shoes.

San Jose might rank as the richest city in the country but that doesn’t mean that the residents there are feeling good about the economy. California has been hit hard by falling housing prices, which has eliminated much of the wealth that many California homeowners once enjoyed. Californians may receive empathy from some, but for the others, apathy is more like it considering the value of the homes.

San Jose has a far higher median household income than the rest of the country, but it doesn’t mean that the residents there aren’t waiting just as anxiously for the national economy’s recovery to finally show some stronger signs of life.

Millionaire Central

Even those with substantial net worth are struggling in today’s dismal economy. They’re losing money on their investments and their real estate holdings, and while the perception is that they have a lot, losses are losses, not matter the starting point. Where do millionaires reside? If you’d like the magic of millionaires to rub off on you, consider moving to New York City. New York, not surprisingly considering its huge population, is home to the most millionaires in the country. More than 667,000 people with net worth’s exceeding 1 million dollars live in New York City. Los Angeles, although not in first place, welcomes more than 235,000. In the Midwest, Chicago leads the way, with more than 198,000 millionaires calling the Windy City home.

Unfortunately, chasing wealth across the United States doesn’t mean that you, too, will become rich. You can live among the millionaires of New York City and Los Angeles and never learn a bit about making big money. Or you can set up shop in McAllen, Texas and make a small fortune.

What matters is your ideas, skills and drive to earn a hearty living.

Location, location, location? That only matters for real estate. So where will you go next? Click on the infographic and see what you can expect to earn there!

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