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5. Kingsport-Bristol, Tenn.-Bristol, Va.

Median household income: $34,741
Percentage below poverty line: 17.3 percent (132nd highest)
Unemployment rate: 8.6 percent
Population: 310,695

The number of people living in poverty in this Appalachian metropolitan area increased almost twice as fast as the national average between 2007 and 2009. It also grew at a faster rate than both Tennessee and Virginia. Tom Casteel, director of theWashington County Department of Social Services in Virginia told that "the increase in housing prices combined with increasing food, gas and utility costs has led to a previously unheard of number of people coming by his office asking about food stamps and other public assistance programs."

(AP Photo Wade Payne)

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