TIME

States of Vulnerability

In several cross-country trips over four years, photographer Matt Black has documented communities on the brink, where poverty rates are high and hope flags, to capture the nation’s deepening inequality
BALFOUR, N.D. POP. 26 44% live below the poverty line

On the day the Dow Jones industrial average closed above 25,000 points for the first time in history, a video was going viral online. Filmed the day prior, Jan. 3, it showed an elementary-school teacher in Baltimore, former NFL player Aaron Maybin, sitting with his students. The young kids sat before Maybin on the floor in their dimly lit classroom, all bundled up in coats.

“What’s the day been like for you guys today?” Maybin asked them.

CLAY COUNTY, GEORGIA POP. 3,183 42% live below the poverty line

“COLD,” they said in unison. One child elaborated: “Very, very, very, very, very cold.”

The same day that this country

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