Like all states, Minnesota has certain places that are going on hard times. These Minnesota places have an above-average percentage of people living in poverty, out of work, or not making as much as they should be.
Even as the economy continues to improve, it’s worthwhile to look at the places in each state struggling to make ends meet. So we set our sites on locating the poorest places in Minnesota.
To do so, we used Saturday Night Science to analyze the newest Census data from the American Community Survey for the 149 cities in Minnesota with more than 5,000 people.
What’s the poorest city in Minnesota? According to the facts, Bemidji is the poorest place in Minnesota for 2023.
This isn’t a commentary on the people that live there or the vibrant culture and traditions of these places. Instead, it’s just a look at the facts.
For more Minnesota reading, check out:
- Best Places To Live In Minnesota
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- Most Dangerous Cities In Minnesota
- The poorest states in the US
- The poorest cities in the US
The 10 Poorest Cities In Minnesota For 2023
Bemidji, unfortunately, ranks as the poorest place in Minnesota thanks to combination of low pay and and a lack of jobs.
The city of 15,114 people averages the 2nd lowest median household income in Minnesota and the 2nd highest poverty rate. At the very least, the cost of living ranks in the bottom 15% of place in the state, so things like housing are relatively affordable.
The second poorest city in Minnesota is Virginia.
The city ranks as having the highest incidence of poverty and 4th lowest median household income. However, the unemployment rate ‘only’ ranks as the 3rd highest in the North Star State.
Placing as the third poorest city, Waite Park’s median income ranks as the 6th lowest.
And that’s a sign that there’s a relatively substantial jump in the quality of the economy from second to third place on our list. The poverty rate is 22.917681441792496% and ranks near the bottom of places in the state.
But what makes up for the relatively low incomes of the city is its low cost of living. The income you do make here goes further than in most parts of the North Star State.
Brainerd ranks as the fourth poorest place in Minnesota.
The town ranks as having the lowest median household income and the 9th highest incidence of poverty in the state.
That being said, there’s still a ton of cultural diversity in the city as it hosts many events throughout the year.
The fifth poorest city in Minnesota is Winona.
The city ranks as having the 7th lowest median income in the state. However, an extremely low cost of living prevents a good number of folks from living in poverty as the poverty rate only ranks as the 8th highest in Minnesota.
Still not the best news for Winona.
Little Falls ranks as the sixth poorest place in the North Star State.
It ranks as having the 18th highest incidence of poverty and the 6th highest unemployment rate.
St. Cloud places as the seventh poorest city in Minnesota.
The city of over 68,430 ranks as having the 5th highest incidence of poverty in the state. However, it has a very low cost of living which helps to pay the bills each month.
Crookston ranks as the eighth poorest city in Minnesota.
The big issue for the town is the unemployment rate which ranks as the 25th highest in the state.
Morris couldn’t stay out of the top ten poorest places in Minnesota; it ranks number 9.
While the median income is the 22nd lowest, there are a substantial number of people that live below the poverty line. Overall, Morris ranks as having the 7th most people living in poverty of all the places we analyzed in Minnesota.
And rounding out the top ten poorest cities in Minnesota is Mankato.
The city of 43,938 people ranks in the bottom 20% for both median income and poverty rate in the North Star State.
Methodology: How We Determined The Poorest Places In Minnesota for 2023
The first thing that comes to most people’s minds when they think about determining the poorest places is to simply the poverty rate. That is, the number of people living below a federally established level of income for a household of a certain size.
However, we don’t think that one statistic wholly encompasses what it means to be one of the “poorest places”. So we used Saturday Night Science to look at this set of criteria from the newly released 2017-2021 American Community Survey:
- Poverty Level
- Median Household Income
After we collected the data for all 149 places with more than 5,000 people in Minnesota, we ranked each place from 1 to 149 for each of the criteria, with 1 being the poorest.
We then averaged all the rankings for a place into a “Poor Score” with the place having the lowest overall Poor Score, Bemidji, crowned the “Poorest Place In Minnesota For 2023”.
This report has been updated for 2023, which is our tenth time ranking the poorest places in Minnesota.
Summary: The Poorest Cities In Minnesota For 2023
Like we said earlier, when we set out to identify the poorest places in Minnesota, we weren’t sure what we’d encounter, but it ended up being some of the best places to live in Minnesota.
When you look at the data, the cities and places mentioned above meet the criteria for being at the very bottom of the income ladder for everyone that lives there.
If you’re curious enough, here are the richest cities in Minnesota, according to data:
2nd Richest: Rogers
3rd Richest: North Oaks
For more Minnesota reading, check out:
- Richest Cities In Minnesota
- Safest Places In Minnesota
- Worst Places To Live In Minnesota
- Most Expensive Places To Live In Minnesota
Detailed List Of The Poorest Places To Live In Minnesota
|Rank||City||Population||Poverty Rate||Median Income||People In Poverty|
|29||Thief River Falls||8,791||12.5%||$55,998||1,103|
|33||West St. Paul||20,476||12.1%||$57,434||2,483|
|41||East Grand Forks||9,140||12.1%||$65,898||1,103|
|47||Spring Lake Park||6,920||12.1%||$72,083||836|
|52||South St. Paul||20,637||10.5%||$71,308||2,163|
|55||North St. Paul||12,395||9.4%||$71,528||1,170|
|79||White Bear Lake||24,520||5.9%||$75,963||1,438|
|86||St. Louis Park||49,539||6.5%||$87,639||3,200|
|89||Inver Grove Heights||35,539||5.7%||$89,141||2,025|
|98||St. Paul Park||5,490||4.3%||$85,061||235|