The Name of Iowa’s Poorest Town Has Been Revealed

Fayette, Iowa, has been identified as the poorest town in the state, according to a recent analysis by 24/7 Wall St., a financial news website. This analysis used data from the U.S. Census Bureau’s American Community Survey for 2017 to 2019, focusing on key indicators such as median household income, poverty rate, unemployment rate, educational attainment, and health insurance coverage.

Key Socioeconomic Indicators

  1. Median Household Income: Fayette’s median household income stands at $32,500, significantly lower than the state median of $68,718.
  2. Poverty Rate: The town has a poverty rate of 29.4%, more than double Iowa’s rate of 11.2%.
  3. Unemployment Rate: The unemployment rate in Fayette is 6.1%, higher than the state’s 3.1%.
  4. Education: Only 16.9% of Fayette residents have a bachelor’s degree or higher, compared to 30.5% statewide.
  5. Health Insurance: About 8.8% of Fayette’s population lacks health insurance, against a state rate of 4.7%​​.

Challenges and Potential

Despite its economic challenges, Fayette is a town with a rich heritage and potential for growth. Located in a rural area, Fayette faces issues like limited job opportunities and poor health outcomes. However, it is home to Upper Iowa University, the largest employer in the town, which creates a distinct dynamic between the local and academic communities.

Fayette also boasts a vibrant history dating back to the 19th century, being a former hub for the railroad and woolen industry. The town has several historic buildings and landmarks and is actively working to revitalize its downtown, attract new businesses, and improve the overall quality of life. Events, festivals, and community activities contribute to its lively culture​​.


Fayette’s status as Iowa’s poorest town highlights significant socioeconomic challenges, including low income and high poverty rates. However, the town’s rich history and ongoing efforts to revitalize and improve itself demonstrate a resilient and hopeful spirit. Fayette’s story is one of a community facing economic hardships while striving towards a brighter future

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