This Maryland City Has Been Named the Most Impoverished City in the State


Maryland boasts a thriving economy, culture, and history. Washington, D.C., the nation’s capital, is located near numerous major cities, including Baltimore, Annapolis, and Frederick. Not all of these cities are as prosperous or wealthy.

The 2020 American Community Survey by the United States Census Bureau includes poverty rate statistics for 54 Maryland communities with a population of 25,000 or more. Hagerstown is undoubtedly the least desirable of these locales.

This article will look at the many factors that lead to poverty in Hagerstown and compare it to other Maryland communities in terms of demographics, economics, culture, and general quality of life.

The Poorest City in Maryland

Hagerstown is a city in the western section of the state with a population of over 43,000 people. The history of this location stretches back to the 18th century when German immigrants founded communities along the South Branch of Antietam Creek.

The city grew into a major center for railroads, manufacturing, and trade. Today, it is known for its historic city center, cultural assets, and nearby nature reserves and state parks. Hagerstown’s rich history is overshadowed by barriers, which have resulted in a high poverty rate. According to the Census Bureau, 25.5% of the city’s population lives in poverty, more than any other city in Maryland and more than the national average of 10.5%.

The median household income is $42,965, which is lower than both the state and national median. Hagerstown’s average house value is $160,000, which is below state and national averages.

Factors Causing Poverty in Hagerstown

Factors that exacerbate poverty in Hagerstown include:

  • Hagerstown had an unemployment rate of 6.9%, higher than the state rate of 5.4% and the national average of 6.3%. Unemployment can lead to lower income, more expenses, and fewer chances for educational and professional development.
  • Hagerstown’s high school graduation rate in 2019 was 86.8%, lower than the state average of 88.7% and the national rate of 88.2%. Education influences how much money you can earn, your career alternatives, and your potential to advance in society. Individuals with lesser levels of education may struggle to get decent jobs and earn more money.
  • In recent years, 14.4% of Hagerstown residents lacked health insurance, above the state’s 10.4% and the national average of 8.8%. Health care has an impact on your physical health, productivity, and general well-being. Individuals without insurance may face higher medical treatment costs and a decrease in the provision of preventative and ongoing healthcare services.
  • In 2019, Hagerstown had a violent crime rate of 2,057 per 100,000 residents, which was higher than the state rate of 1,917 per 100,000 and the national average of 2,109 per 100,000. Crime influences personal safety, trust, and communal cohesiveness. Residing in high-crime areas can cause fear, worry, trauma, and loss.

Comparison to Other Cities

Hagerstown has a higher rate of poverty than comparable Maryland cities. Here are some key points taken from data gathered from various sources:

In 2021, the poverty rate in Hagerstown was 25.5%, over 60% higher than Maryland’s national average of 10.3%. In 2019, Hagerstown’s median household income was $42,965, lower than both the state median of $87,063 and the national median of $64,994.

In 2019, the poverty rate for those under 18 in Hagerstown was 11.7%, higher than the state average of 8.6% and the national average of 13.4%. Furthermore, 18.5% of men and 30.2% of females with disabilities in Hagerstown lived below the poverty level. This exceeds the state’s standards of 11.8% and 15.6%.


In summary, Hagerstown is the poorest city in Maryland, with a poverty rate of 25.5%, higher than both the state and national norms. Higher unemployment, poorer educational attainment, increasing crime rates, and a lack of health insurance all have a role. Hagerstown’s economic and social difficulties set it apart from other Maryland communities, highlighting the need for tailored measures to improve the city.

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