Forbes Magazine has put Rocky Mount and nine other cities on its "Most Impoverished Cities in America" list. Forbes says it used new data from the U.S. Census Bureau's 2008 American Community Survey to form it's list. The magazine looked at poverty, per income capita for the region, the percentage of people receiving food stamps, the percentage of people under age 65 receiving public health care, and the unemployment rate.
The unemployment rate in the Rocky Mount metro area has jumped considerably since the Census Bureau report in 2008. The North Carolina Employment Security Commission reports the Rocky Mount metropolitan area has a 13.8% unemployment rate as of September 2009.