Talladega city manager refutes "poorest cities" report - ABC 33/40 - Birmingham News, Weather, Sports

Talladega city manager refutes "poorest cities" report

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Talladega city officials are upset with a recent report that listed the town as one of the poorest communities in the country.

City manager Bryan Muenger said he feels slighted by the story published by Credit.com and Yahoo!.

"I feel it was just inaccurate and I think it's shoddy journalism," Muenger said.

The report, titled The poorest areas in America, lists 10 micropolitan areas and their median incomes based on a 2012 census bureau survey.

Talladega-Sylacauga is fifth, with a median income of $31,547.

"Something just did not pass the smell test.  After looking at the data a little bit further, I feel even more strongly that that was a very inaccurate portrayal of our area," Muenger said.

He also questioned what specific area the report includes.  It lists the population of Talladega-Sylacauga as 81,664.

"Talladega is 16,000 people in the incorporated area.  Sylacauga is somewhere in the same area.  Obviously they're taking into account a lot of unincorporated areas of Talladega County, and possibly some other counties," he said.

"I'm frankly not sure."

Muenger said the data comes from door-to-door surveys from a single year, and have a margin of error of more than 10 percent.  He said a more accurate report would include a wider range of data.

"If you would have used the three-year survey data for the area, it only has a margin of error around 4 percent and lists our median household income as about $4,000 per year higher than what was listed in the subject article," he said.

American Community Survey data from 2009-2011 indicates the median household income is $35,611.  That is higher than micropolitan areas such as Selma, Troy, and Valley.

Muenger said Talladega County is 41st statewide in per capita income, so it should not be among the fifth worst in the country if it is not even in the bottom five in Alabama.

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