With one in five residents below the poverty line, Memphis, Tenn., has the highest poverty rate of any metro area in the country, according to the most recent census. Inside the city of Memphis, the median household income is $37,000, that's $13,000 less than the national average. In certain neighborhoods, it's less than $8,000. Memphis has only gained back a sixth of the 60,000 jobs it lost in the economic downturn, according to Bill Fox, the director of the Center for Business and Economic Research at the University of Tennessee, Knoxville. Twenty-eight percent of Memphis' children are growing up poor.
When it comes to the challenges facing cities like Memphis, "it's not enough to think outside the box," Memphis Mayor A C Wharton Jr. told AOL Jobs. "We have to think outside the building."