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This year the impact of inflation on our finances is undeniably burdensome. If you find yourself struggling to maintain the same level of financial comfort that was achievable just a few years ago, you’re not alone in facing this challenge.

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The U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics recently announced that the consumer price index rose 3.7% in September 2023 from a year ago. While the latest CPI data is a marked improvement from the multi-decade high of 9.1%, reported in June 2022, inflation is still nearly double the Federal Reserve’s 2% target rate.

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In today’s world, we’re all striving to maximize the value of our money, and in Indiana, there are specific areas where the financial strain is more pronounced.

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A recent survey from the U.S. Census Bureau found that over 85% of households making less than $50,000 a year reported at least some difficulty paying for usual household expenses.

A recent report from 24/7 Wall Street has pinpointed the most economically challenged towns in each state. The situation is particularly dire for one Indiana town.

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The analysis focused on Indiana communities with populations ranging from 1,000 to 25,000 residents, evaluating them based on various factors, including median household income, educational attainment, participation in assistance programs and more.

Which town in Indiana claims the unfortunate title of the poorest?

Out of the 306 cities analyzed, Austin stands as the most economically challenged.

Indiana: Austin

> Median household income: $27,008 (Indiana: $61,944)

> Adults with a bachelor’s degree or higher: 10.8% (Indiana: 27.8%)

> Households receiving SNAP benefits: 27.4% (Indiana: 9.0%)

> Median home value: $74,200 (Indiana: $158,500)

> Population: 3,921

> No. of towns considered in ranking: 306

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Austin is a city in Jennings Township, Scott County.

The average income in Austin is a $27,008 whereas the average for the state is $61,944. Additionally, only 10% of Austin’s residents hold a college degree, significantly lower than the 27% statewide average. Notably, 27% of Austin residents rely on food assistance from SNAP, whereas the state’s average is 9%.

While Austin is a relatively small town with just under 4,000 residents, they face considerable challenges and limited opportunities to improve their financial situation in a world where most of us are already grappling with tight budgets.