poorest city usa

The Poorest City in the US



mayor poverty some sort
deputy resident city limit
rate kind of poverty line
illegal ashamed get out of here
treaty Hispanic grow/grew/grown
chirp shootout dream (2)
local garbage complain
attract gunshot mafia (2)
try side (2) employment
limit someday opportunity






Escobares, Texas Resident, female one: There’s not much of a future here.

Ruperto Escobar, Deputy Mayor, Escobares: “The border between the United States and Mexico is this. This is it.”

Escobares, Texas. City Limit. Pop 1188. The poorest city in America.

Sixty-two percent (62%) of residents in Escobares, Texas, live under the poverty line. That’s the highest rate of any city with over one-thousand (1,000) people in the US.

Female one: “It’s kind of difficult because of the jobs. There’s not so many in Escobares, so we’re kind of going down.”

Male Resident: “You have to get out of here to get a better job. I work as a garbage collector. It’s a hard job, but I’m not ashamed of it.

The city doesn’t grow because of business — grows because of mafia and crime. Right here where I’m standing, someone was killed.”

The city is 98% Hispanic. And lies on the US-Mexico border.

Ruperto Escobar, Deputy Mayor, Escobares: “This is the border between the United States and Mexico. See how peaceful it is now. You can hear the birds chirping.

It wasn’t always the border. It is now because of some treaty that happened somewhere in our history.

And every time you have a border, you’re going to have some problems because people on this side are going to say ‘it’s illegal to bring this and this and that.’ And the people on the other side are going to say, ‘well it’s illegal to bring those things over here.’

This is what it’s like to live here on the border.”

Escobares only became a city in 2005. Becoming a city gave it control over local spending and services.

But change has been slow.

Female Resident Two: We became a city, but life hasn’t changed much. There is a lot of poverty here, and a lot of crime: you can hear gunshots, shootouts.

Female three: There hasn’t been a change here — everyone complains that there are no jobs. There’s nothing to eat, but thank God, my family gives us food.”

Escobares is trying hard to attract business.

“The employment opportunities are very limited. We don’t have any big industries here. We hope someday, somebody will see the opportunity to come here, and set up a big company of some sort, where our people can have a job.

That is our biggest dream.”


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1. Are the residents optimistic or pessimistic about the future?

2. What are some statistics about Escobares, Texas, USA?

3. There are lots of jobs, but people don’t want to work. Is this right or wrong?

4. Is Ecsobares a safe or dangerous place to be?

5. Where is Escobares located? Describe the environment.

6. Are there problems with the town’s location, as a border town?

7. What is the goal or dream of the town?


A. Have you been to a poor town, region or place? What was it like?

B. Why are these places poor?

C. What should the people of Escobares do? What should poor people do?

D. What might happen in the future?

E. Should the government or businesses do anything?

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