The Poorest Town in California Has Been Revealed

California, renowned as the Golden State for its diverse landscapes, lively cities, and the allure of Hollywood, also grapples with regions facing economic challenges. Amidst the state’s affluence, Thermal emerges as a town struggling economically.

Thermal: California’s Poorest Town

With a population of 1,198, Thermal has earned the distinction of being the poorest town in California. The average household income in Thermal is a mere $14,500 annually, marking an 82.8% difference from the statewide median household income. This stands in stark contrast to California’s overall median household income of $84,097.

A significant 20.6% of households in Thermal rely on government assistance, highlighting the economic hardships faced by residents. Despite these challenges, the community remains resilient, navigating their daily lives amidst economic constraints.

Poverty in California: A Broader View

The issue of poverty extends beyond Thermal, affecting various towns and cities in California. For example, Salinas, the largest city in Monterey County, grapples with economic difficulties, boasting one of the lowest per capita incomes in the state at $18,060. Similarly, Clearlake, with a population exceeding 16,468, ranks as the 23rd highest in poverty incidence in the state.

The poverty rate among foreign-born Californians is 17.6%, compared to 11.5% for US-born residents. Notably, education correlates with poverty rates, with 6.4% of college graduates aged 25–64 and 22.3% of adults aged 25–64 without a high school diploma living in poverty.


The revelation of Thermal as California’s poorest town highlights the economic disparities within the state. It underscores the necessity for targeted policies and interventions to alleviate poverty and enhance the quality of life for residents in economically disadvantaged areas. While California remains a land of opportunities for many, ensuring prosperity reaches every corner of the state is crucial.


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