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These cities have the most financial stress

Five of the most stressed cities are in the nation’s Southeastern region.
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Story at a glance


  • SmartAsset analyzed the 150 largest U.S cities across eight metrics to determine which cities experience the most financial stress. 

  • The poverty line exceeds 20 percent in seven of the 10 cities experiencing the most financial stress.

  • Augusta, Georgia topped the list.

Financial concerns are creating stress for Americans nationwide as inflation continues to pinch pockets, but residents in some cities feel the weight more acutely than others, according to a new report. 

The financial technology company SmartAsset analyzed the 150 largest U.S cities across eight metrics, including unemployment and poverty rates, and housing and food concerns, to determine which cities experience the most financial stress. 

SmartAsset’s analysis found five of the most stressed cities are in the nation’s Southeastern region, led by Augusta, Georgia. 

Augusta, which sits along the state border with South Carolina, has experienced the lowest median household income change in the U.S. over a four-year period. Here, close to one in four residents live below the poverty line, while one in six face food insecurity. 

The poverty line exceeds 20 percent in seven of the 10 cities experiencing the most financial stress. 

New Orleans, which had the third-highest unemployment rate in the nation in June, came in second on the list. Close to a quarter of New Orleans residents have experienced recent food insufficiency.  

Labor Department data released in September shows consumer prices rising 8.3 percent over last year with some of the highest price increases seen in the nation’s grocery aisles. 

Birmingham and Mobile, Alabama came in third and fourth on SmartAsset’s most financially stressed cities. Birmingham ranks 11th worst in four-year median income growth, while one in five mobile residents live in poverty. 

Tallahassee, Florida completes the top five. While the Florida capital is the only city in the state listed among SmartAsset’s financially stressed cities, it has the 10th highest percentage of severely cost burdened households. 

Data released Friday shows the U.S. unemployment rate ticked down slightly in September to 3.5 percent as the U.S. economy added 263,000 jobs. Yet wage growth cooled, rising by 0.3 percent. 

Here are the 10 U.S. cities with the most financial stress, according to SmartAsset.  

  1. Augusta, Ga.  
  1. New Orleans, La.  
  1. Birmingham, Ala. 
  1. Mobile, Ala. 
  1. Tallahassee, Fla.  
  1. Lubbock, Texas 
  1. Corpus Christie, Texas 
  1. San Antonio, Texas 
  1. Shreveport, La. 
  1. Memphis, Tenn.