These Are The 10 Poorest Cities In America For 2019


We used science and data to determine where the poorest 1% live in America.

Join RoadSnacks
Editor’s Note: We updated this article for 2019. This is our third time ranking the poorest cities in America.

Swipe left for slideshow. Article continues below.

America is pretty diverse. There’s rich people, poor people and in-between people (most of us)

Even within a major city, you can turn a corner and go from nice to blight in less than a block.

We’re not judging. We’re just being observant is all.

But where do you go if you want to see the poorest people in the nation? We’re not talking about individuals. We mean, specifically, which parts of the country.

The general assumption is going to be large city centers with a lot of blight and crime. Yes, we took that into account, but you also have to assume the poorest cities in America are going to be where people don’t have jobs, and where people who DO have jobs earn meager salaries – at least for the most part.

So, what’s the poorest big city in America according to the data? Per the most recent ACS data, the poorest city in America is Detroit, MI.

The richest city in America? That would be Pearland, TX.

To see exactly how we calculated these rankings, read on.

Or if you’re simply not interested in reading about crime and blight, and you don’t care about this list, check out:

How We Determined The Poorest Large Cities in The US For 2019

When we analyze a place to live, we study the statistics you can find anywhere on the web. You can get just about any demographic out there.

For this analysis we used the — U.S. Census’s 2013-2017 American Community Survey.

For this study, we considered the following categories:

  • # of residents living in poverty
  • Income rank
  • % of population unemployed

The census just updated their data, so we can take a fresh look at it.

And, to be clear, we measured the 293 largest cities in America with populations over 100,000. So, while your little small town might be broke, we’re only looking at the most populated areas.

To score the cities, we ranked each one from 1 to 293 where 1 is the “poorest” for that category. We then averaged the three rankings into a poor score with the lowest overall score being named poorest city in America.

Here’s a look at the top ten.

The 10 Poorest Cities In America For 2019

Detroit, MI

Overall SnackAbility

3
/10

Population: 679,865
Rank Last Year: 1 (No Change)
Median Income: $27,838
Unemployment Rate: 19.8%
Poverty Rate: 37.9%
More on Detroit:  | Data | Photos

No surprise here. Although it’s slowly recovering, Detroit is atop every ‘crummy’ list that ranks places to live in America.

Detroit has the highest unemployment rate – almost 20% – than anywhere else in the nation. That’s the main reason people here are living in poverty at such a high rate.

Cleveland, OH

Overall SnackAbility

3
/10

Population: 388,812
Rank Last Year: 2 (No Change)
Median Income: $27,854
Unemployment Rate: 16.0%
Poverty Rate: 35.2%
More on Cleveland:  | Data | Photos

If you’ve ever been to Cleveland, you’d understand how it ranks highly on the list of poorest cities in the U.S. While there are now some parts of downtown making a recovery, it’s pretty much an unhappy, broke place.

Tip: When heading east on I-90 outside of Cleveland, don’t get off the highway until you’re well past the suburbs. You’ve got a pretty decent chance of being car jacked in the middle of the day.

Dayton, OH

Overall SnackAbility

3
/10

Population: 140,939
Rank Last Year: 4 (Up 1)
Median Income: $30,128
Unemployment Rate: 12.9%
Poverty Rate: 32.7%
More on Dayton:  | Data | Photos

Dayton, Ohio is just a smaller version of Cleveland. It’s getting more run down every year, and it seems like the constant road construction around town makes it even more depressing.

More than 1 in 3 Dayton residents lives in poverty.

Hartford, CT

Source: Public domain
Overall SnackAbility

4
/10

Population: 124,390
Rank Last Year: 3 (Down 1)
Median Income: $33,841
Unemployment Rate: 16.0%
Poverty Rate: 30.5%
More on Hartford:  | Data | Photos

Hartford? Really? It’s true. People in CT are likely nodding in agreement at the ranking.

Hartford ranks in the top 10 in all three categories, and it has a high unemployment rate 16%. Yikes.

Rochester, NY

Overall SnackAbility

4
/10

Population: 209,463
Rank Last Year: 5 (No Change)
Median Income: $32,347
Unemployment Rate: 12.0%
Poverty Rate: 33.1%
More on Rochester:  | Data | Photos

Rochester is a surprise. It’s actually a pretty decent place to make home. But the data doesn’t lie.

Rochester residents earn the 9th-lowest incomes of all Americans for cities over 100,000 people.

Newark, NJ

Overall SnackAbility

4
/10

Population: 282,803
Rank Last Year: 6 (No Change)
Median Income: $34,826
Unemployment Rate: 14.8%
Poverty Rate: 28.3%
More on Newark:  | Data | Photos

Newark is just a real pit. Hey – don’t shoot the messenger. That’s what we read on internet forums and on Facebook comments.

Not only is the danger level at a 10, the number of people out of work makes it a tough place to thrive. More than 17% of the population of Newark is counted as being out of work. We’re going to assume that number is actually much higher than that.

Jackson, MS

Source: Public domain
Overall SnackAbility

3
/10

Population: 170,393
Rank Last Year: 7 (No Change)
Median Income: $35,308
Unemployment Rate: 12.4%
Poverty Rate: 28.9%
More on Jackson:  | Data | Photos

Jackson is the first list from the south on here. While the people here may be charming, we’re not measuring personality. We’re measuring sheer wealth..

Syracuse, NY

Overall SnackAbility

4
/10

Population: 144,405
Rank Last Year: 10 (Up 2)
Median Income: $34,716
Unemployment Rate: 10.5%
Poverty Rate: 32.6%
More on Syracuse:  | Data | Photos

Wow, upstate New York owns 20% of the cities on this list.

While Syracuse is a hotbed for young, exciting singles, it’s also a poor place where 1 in 3 people lives in poverty.

Birmingham, AL

Overall SnackAbility

6
/10

Population: 212,265
Rank Last Year: 8 (Down 1)
Median Income: $33,770
Unemployment Rate: 10.7%
Poverty Rate: 28.1%
More on Birmingham:  | Data | Photos

Birmingham is the only other true southern city to make the top 10.

It’s the 11th-highest for poverty levels, and ranks 21st-lowest for incomes.

Springfield, MA

Overall SnackAbility

6
/10

Population: 154,613
Rank Last Year: 11 (Up 1)
Median Income: $37,118
Unemployment Rate: 11.1%
Poverty Rate: 28.7%
More on Springfield:  | Data | Photos

We had heard things had gotten worse in Springfield, but didn’t realize it was this bad.

The city rounds out our top ten poorest cities in the US for 2019 after finishing in 11th last year. Poverty and overall low incomes continue to be a problem for this city in South Central Mass.

There You Have It — The Cities Most Down On Their Luck in America For 2019

After all the dust settled and the analysis was over, we crowned Detroit as the poorest city in America for 2019.

While it’s bad news for the cities we mentioned, we have to acknowledge the richest cities in America. If you live in Pearland, TX, Frisco, TX or Centennial, CO, sounds like things are going pretty well right now.

Maybe it’s time for you to look at giving back to the community a bit?

Here’s a look at the richest cities in America:

  1. Pearland
  2. Frisco
  3. Centennial

For more reading, check out:

Poorest Cities In America For 2019

Rank City Population Median Income
1 Detroit, MI 679,865 $27,838
2 Cleveland, OH 388,812 $27,854
3 Dayton, OH 140,939 $30,128
4 Hartford, CT 124,390 $33,841
5 Rochester, NY 209,463 $32,347
6 Newark, NJ 282,803 $34,826
7 Jackson, MS 170,393 $35,308
8 Syracuse, NY 144,405 $34,716
9 Birmingham, AL 212,265 $33,770
10 Springfield, MA 154,613 $37,118
11 Allentown, PA 120,128 $38,522
12 San Bernardino, CA 215,252 $41,027
13 Toledo, OH 279,455 $35,808
14 Cincinnati, OH 298,957 $36,429
15 Memphis, TN 654,723 $38,230
16 Buffalo, NY 259,574 $34,268
17 Lansing, MI 115,222 $38,642
18 Philadelphia, PA 1,569,657 $40,649
19 Waterbury, CT 109,250 $40,879
20 Pueblo, CO 109,122 $36,280
21 New Haven, CT 130,884 $39,191
22 Savannah, GA 145,094 $39,386
23 Milwaukee, WI 599,086 $38,289
24 Fresno, CA 519,037 $44,853
25 Providence, RI 179,509 $40,366
26 Gainesville, FL 129,394 $34,004
27 Akron, OH 198,252 $36,223
28 Tallahassee, FL 188,463 $42,418
29 South Bend, IN 101,928 $37,441
30 Rockford, IL 148,640 $41,991
31 Miami, FL 443,007 $33,999
32 St. Louis, MO 314,867 $38,664
33 Brownsville, TX 182,083 $35,636
34 Tucson, AZ 530,905 $39,617
35 Baton Rouge, LA 227,549 $40,948
36 New Orleans, LA 388,182 $38,721
37 Miami Gardens, FL 113,187 $41,139
38 Victorville, CA 121,721 $47,895
39 Richmond, VA 220,892 $42,356
40 Bridgeport, CT 147,586 $44,841
41 Las Cruces, NM 101,014 $40,924
42 Hialeah, FL 237,523 $31,012
43 Columbus, GA 198,647 $43,239
44 Stockton, CA 304,358 $48,396
45 Shreveport, LA 196,217 $37,390
46 Pompano Beach, FL 107,542 $44,756
47 Kansas City, KS 151,042 $41,671
48 Baltimore, MD 619,796 $46,641
49 El Cajon, CA 103,314 $49,445
50 Fayetteville, NC 210,324 $43,439
51 Mobile, AL 192,085 $40,020
52 Columbia, SC 132,236 $43,650
53 Inglewood, CA 111,006 $46,389
54 Peoria, IL 115,424 $47,697
55 Knoxville, TN 184,465 $36,331
56 Paterson, NJ 147,890 $36,106
57 Mcallen, TX 139,838 $45,057
58 Wilmington, NC 115,261 $43,867
59 Montgomery, AL 200,761 $44,339
60 North Charleston, SC 108,186 $39,944
61 Springfield, MO 165,785 $34,775
62 Lowell, MA 110,964 $48,581
63 Grand Rapids, MI 195,355 $44,369
64 Waco, TX 131,996 $36,004
65 Warren, MI 135,147 $45,611
66 Norfolk, VA 245,752 $47,137
67 High Point, NC 109,849 $44,642
68 Lancaster, CA 160,113 $49,314
69 Indianapolis, IN 853,431 $44,709
70 Atlanta, GA 465,230 $51,701
71 Evansville, IN 119,806 $36,956
72 Chattanooga, TN 176,291 $41,911
73 Worcester, MA 184,743 $45,869
74 Lakeland, FL 104,165 $42,033
75 Pittsburgh, PA 305,012 $44,092
76 El Monte, CA 115,958 $43,504
77 Chicago, IL 2,722,586 $52,497
78 Pomona, CA 152,366 $53,281
79 Elizabeth, NJ 129,363 $45,186
80 Pasadena, TX 153,909 $50,207
81 Tampa, FL 368,087 $48,245
82 Eugene, OR 163,135 $47,489
83 Laredo, TX 255,305 $41,302
84 West Palm Beach, FL 106,805 $49,054
85 El Paso, TX 678,266 $44,431
86 Rialto, CA 102,708 $54,962
87 Springfield, IL 116,313 $51,789
88 College Station, TX 107,445 $39,430
89 Gresham, OR 110,336 $50,675
90 Sacramento, CA 489,650 $54,615
91 Modesto, CA 210,166 $54,024
92 Tulsa, OK 401,352 $44,577
93 Los Angeles, CA 3,949,776 $54,501
94 Palmdale, CA 157,358 $56,699
95 Orlando, FL 269,414 $45,436
96 Fort Lauderdale, FL 177,175 $52,315
97 Provo, UT 116,199 $44,312
98 Tyler, TX 102,561 $46,463
99 Houston, TX 2,267,336 $49,399
100 Spokane, WA 212,982 $44,768

Like RoadSnacks on Facebook:

 Poorest 

2 thoughts on “These Are The 10 Poorest Cities In America For 2019

  1. Thanks Rick, didn”t realize you were in the Indy area. Must try to get together next year or maybe at the Dayton show on April 7, 2018.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *