U.S. Census says Brazil is the poorest town in the state, the mayor disagrees

Brazil was recently named one of the poorest towns in Indiana.

Posted: May 30, 2018 4:45 PM
Updated: May 30, 2018 8:14 PM

BRAZIL, Ind. (WTHI) - Brazil was recently named one of the poorest towns in Indiana.

The U.S. Census Bureau conducted the study.

Brazil's mayor, Brian Wyndham's initial thought when he saw these results was the data is wrong.

“It’s disappointing to hear,” Wyndham said. "The question is, are the numbers accurate?"

Recent buzz is circulating on the web. Publishers released a study that listed the poorest towns in every state. Brazil made the list with the lowest median household income of any town in Indiana at just under $30,000.

“Are you going to base this community from 172 census surveys that were sent over a five-year period?” Wyndham said.

The study comes from the American Community Survey (ACS). The most recent estimates come from the year 2012-2016.

LINK | SEE THE CENSUS RESULTS HERE

Wyndham told us the data provided is based on trends and older information. He says it is outdated.

He says he is frustrated the survey is labeling Brazil, Indiana as a town. He considers Brazil a city.

According to the U.S. Census Bureau, a town differs from a city. A city must have a population of more than 25,000. A town must have a population between 1,000 and 25,000. 

"We are very proud of our community and accomplishments that have gone on in the last five years," Wyndham said.

He says if you take a look around the community, the investments speak for themselves.

The data from the ACS survey is calculated from 170 households. If each of the 170 households responded over four years, that means, only 2 to 10 percent of Brazil's population of around 8,000 residents responded.

Chris Gregg, the senior minister at First Christian Church, says he wasn't surprised when he saw the survey results.

"We see them every day," Gregg said. He says he works first-hand with people living in poverty. "It's not that they are a number, a file, or a case. We engage in relationship."

He says there is something the study doesn't show-- a caring community.

"We are kind of the perfect storm of low tax rate, good education, and low housing. We have a lot of ability to help people in need. People want to come into a small town where you matter and people care about you."

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