These Are The 10 Poorest Cities In Minnesota For 2019

We analyzed the over 140 places in Minnesota to determine which ones are at the bottom of the income ladder.

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Editor’s Note: This article is an opinion based on facts and is meant as infotainment. Don’t freak out we updated this article for 2019. This is our fourth time ranking the poorest places in Minnesota.

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Minnesota brings to mind images of Saint Paul, beautiful landscapes, and some of the best people you’ll find in the good ole US of A.

However, like all states, Minnesota has certain places that are going on hard times. These places have an above average percent of people that are living in poverty, out of work, or not making as much as they should be.

With all the talk about income inequality going on around the country, we thought it prudent to take a look at the places in each state that are struggling to make it even as the economy continues to improve. So we set our sites on bringing attention to the places in Minnesota that could use a helping hand.

To do so, we analyzed the newest Census data from the American Community Survey for the 146 places in Minnesota with more than 5,000 people.

We were left with this set of the ten poorest places in the North Star State for 2019:

  1. Bemidji (Photos)
  2. International Falls (Photos)
  3. Virginia (Photos)
  4. Winona (Photos)
  5. St. Cloud (Photos)
  6. Worthington (Photos)
  7. Hibbing (Photos)
  8. Mankato (Photos)
  9. St. Paul (Photos)
  10. Sauk Rapids (Photos)

Again, 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.

And according to the facts, Bemidji is the poorest place in Minnesota for 2019.

Rich people not your cup of tea? Feel free to check out the richest places in Minnesota or the most dangerous.

For more on how we calculated the top ten, and for more information about these places, read on.

If you’re looking for something more national, check out the poorest states in America or the poorest cities in America.

For more Minnesota reading, check out:

How We Determined The Poorest Places In Minnesota for 2019

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 looked at this set of criteria from the newly released 2013-2017 American Community Survey:

  • Poverty Level
  • Median Household Income adjusted for the cost of living
  • Unemployment Rate

The “median household income adjusted for the cost of living” attempts to gauge how expensive it is to live in a place and how that impacts the quality of life. For example, a town might have fewer people living below the official poverty line, but the cost of living is so high they’d still feel poor.

The unemployment rate tries to capture the prospects for improvement in the city or town. If more people are employed, the brighter the future looks and vice versa.

After we collected the data for all 146 places with more than 5,000 people in Minnesota, we ranked each place from 1 to 146 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 2019”.

You can learn more about the top ten below or skip to the end to see the rankings for all 146 places.

Bemidji, MN

Overall SnackAbility


Population: 14,803
Rank Last Year: 2 (Up 1)
Median Income: $33,260 (1st lowest)
Unemployment Rate: 7.9% (3rd highest)
Poverty Rate: 24.5% (2nd highest)
More on Bemidji:  Data | Photos

Bemidji, unfortunately, ranks as the poorest place in Minnesota thanks to combination of low pay and and a lack of jobs.

The city of 14,803 people averages the 1st 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.

International Falls, MN

Overall SnackAbility


Population: 6,121
Rank Last Year: 1 (Down 1)
Median Income: $41,241 (7th lowest)
Unemployment Rate: 9.3% (1st highest)
Poverty Rate: 25.4% (1st highest)
More on International Falls:  Data | Photos

The second poorest city in Minnesota is International Falls.

The city ranks as having the 1st highest incidence of poverty and 7th lowest median household income. However, the unemployment rate ‘only’ ranks as the 1st highest in the North Star State.

Virginia, MN

Overall SnackAbility


Population: 8,570
Rank Last Year: 3 (No Change)
Median Income: $36,327 (3rd lowest)
Unemployment Rate: 6.0% (18th highest)
Poverty Rate: 24.0% (4th highest)
More on Virginia:  Data | Photos

Placing as the third poorest city, Virginia’s median income ranks as the 3rd 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 24.0% 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.

Winona, MN

Source: Public domain
Overall SnackAbility


Population: 27,153
Rank Last Year: 4 (No Change)
Median Income: $43,551 (10th lowest)
Unemployment Rate: 6.9% (4th highest)
Poverty Rate: 20.2% (13th highest)
More on Winona:  Data | Photos

Winona ranks as the fourth poorest place in Minnesota.

The town ranks as having the 10th lowest median household income and the 13th 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.

St. Cloud, MN

Overall SnackAbility


Population: 67,093
Rank Last Year: 6 (Up 1)
Median Income: $46,601 (17th lowest)
Unemployment Rate: 6.4% (14th highest)
Poverty Rate: 23.2% (5th highest)
More on St. Cloud:  Data | Photos

The fifth poorest city in Minnesota is St. Cloud.

The city ranks as having the 17th 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 5th highest in Minnesota.

Still not the best news for St. Cloud.

Worthington, MN

Overall SnackAbility


Population: 13,142
Rank Last Year: 12 (Up 6)
Median Income: $49,016 (27th lowest)
Unemployment Rate: 8.7% (2nd highest)
Poverty Rate: 20.8% (8th highest)
More on Worthington:  Data | Photos

Worthington ranks as the sixth poorest place in the North Star State.

It ranks as having the 8th highest incidence of poverty and the 2nd highest unemployment rate.

Hibbing, MN

Source: Public domain
Overall SnackAbility


Population: 16,183
Rank Last Year: 5 (Down 2)
Median Income: $44,659 (13th lowest)
Unemployment Rate: 6.7% (10th highest)
Poverty Rate: 19.5% (16th highest)
More on Hibbing:  Data | Photos

Hibbing places as the seventh poorest city in Minnesota.

The city of over 16,183 ranks as having the 16th highest incidence of poverty in the state. However, it has a very low cost of living which helps to pay the bills each month.

Mankato, MN

Overall SnackAbility


Population: 41,241
Rank Last Year: 7 (Down 1)
Median Income: $45,035 (14th lowest)
Unemployment Rate: 5.0% (32nd highest)
Poverty Rate: 24.5% (2nd highest)
More on Mankato:  Data | Photos

Mankato ranks as the eighth poorest city in Minnesota.

The big issue for the town is the unemployment rate which ranks as the 32nd highest in the state.

St. Paul, MN

Overall SnackAbility


Population: 300,820
Rank Last Year: 8 (Down 1)
Median Income: $52,841 (39th lowest)
Unemployment Rate: 6.7% (10th highest)
Poverty Rate: 20.4% (10th highest)
More on St. Paul:  Data | Photos

St. Paul couldn’t stay out of the top ten poorest places in Minnesota; it ranks number 9.

While the median income is the 39th lowest, there are a substantial number of people that live below the poverty line. Overall, St. Paul ranks as having the 10th most people living in poverty of all the places we analyzed in Minnesota.

Sauk Rapids, MN

Overall SnackAbility


Population: 13,354
Rank Last Year: 10 (No Change)
Median Income: $48,994 (25th lowest)
Unemployment Rate: 5.2% (25th highest)
Poverty Rate: 19.6% (15th highest)
More on Sauk Rapids:  Data | Photos

And rounding out the top ten poorest cities in Minnesota is Sauk Rapids.

The city of 13,354 people ranks in the bottom 20% for both median income and poverty rate in the North Star State.

There You Have It – The Poorest Places In Minnesota For 2019

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:

    Richest: Rogers
    2nd Richest: Victoria
    3rd Richest: Otsego

For more Minnesota reading, check out:

Detailed List Of The Poorest Places To Live In Minnesota

Rank City Population Poverty Rate
1 Bemidji 14,803 24.5%
2 International Falls 6,121 25.4%
3 Virginia 8,570 24.0%
4 Winona 27,153 20.2%
5 St. Cloud 67,093 23.2%
6 Worthington 13,142 20.8%
7 Hibbing 16,183 19.5%
8 Mankato 41,241 24.5%
9 St. Paul 300,820 20.4%
10 Sauk Rapids 13,354 19.6%
11 Austin 24,882 14.8%
12 Brooklyn Center 30,885 18.2%
13 Red Wing 16,334 16.1%
14 Albert Lea 17,716 16.2%
15 Columbia Heights 19,823 14.3%
16 Minneapolis 411,452 20.7%
17 Duluth 86,066 20.3%
18 Detroit Lakes 9,078 19.8%
19 Waite Park 7,457 18.9%
20 Glencoe 5,511 17.2%
21 Anoka 17,374 12.1%
22 Little Falls 8,648 17.4%
23 Marshall 13,706 18.6%
24 Hopkins 18,217 13.3%
25 West St. Paul 19,750 11.0%
26 Willmar 19,608 17.0%
27 Brainerd 13,394 16.4%
28 Fridley 27,573 10.7%
29 Faribault 23,577 16.0%
30 North St. Paul 12,241 9.7%
31 South St. Paul 20,280 12.1%
32 Spring Lake Park 6,535 9.5%
33 Fairmont 10,251 13.9%
34 Owatonna 25,613 10.4%
35 St. Joseph 6,862 20.4%
36 Cloquet 11,965 14.0%
37 New Hope 20,909 10.1%
38 Crookston 7,780 17.8%
39 Richfield 35,993 9.4%
40 Fergus Falls 13,606 11.3%
41 Little Canada 10,321 8.7%
42 Robbinsdale 14,446 9.5%
43 Brooklyn Park 79,462 10.5%
44 East Grand Forks 8,614 11.9%
45 Morris 5,326 22.5%
46 North Mankato 13,583 8.0%
47 Redwood Falls 5,031 13.9%
48 Maplewood 40,127 8.7%
49 St. Peter 11,682 21.1%
50 Cambridge 8,462 9.1%
51 St. Paul Park 5,376 8.3%
52 New Brighton 22,440 11.8%
53 Rochester 112,683 10.4%
54 Burnsville 61,302 9.3%
55 Falcon Heights 5,560 12.0%
56 Alexandria 13,203 11.8%
57 Buffalo 15,996 9.7%
58 Waseca 9,151 10.3%
59 Crystal 22,910 8.3%
60 Lake City 5,154 8.5%
61 Northfield 20,297 11.7%
62 Grand Rapids 11,099 15.5%
63 Mounds View 12,872 10.3%
64 Inver Grove Heights 34,976 8.2%
65 Moorhead 41,801 15.9%
66 Thief River Falls 8,769 12.1%
67 Hastings 22,620 8.2%
68 St. Francis 7,475 8.7%
69 Coon Rapids 62,342 7.2%
70 Roseville 35,624 10.2%
71 Montevideo 5,165 14.1%
72 Monticello 13,316 5.3%
73 Chisago City 5,008 4.6%
74 Litchfield 6,645 11.6%
75 Oakdale 27,972 6.8%
76 Belle Plaine 6,935 6.3%
77 Bloomington 85,417 7.3%
78 Golden Valley 21,208 8.2%
79 North Branch 10,241 8.5%
80 Mound 9,380 5.8%
81 La Crescent 5,046 10.1%
82 Stewartville 6,115 10.6%
83 Arden Hills 10,250 3.9%
84 Elk River 23,924 6.0%
85 Shakopee 40,024 6.4%
86 Hutchinson 13,836 6.7%
87 White Bear Lake 25,411 6.2%
88 Jordan 6,079 4.7%
89 Eagan 66,102 6.6%
90 New Ulm 13,249 8.0%
91 St. Louis Park 48,124 7.1%
92 Baxter 7,988 7.5%
93 Delano 5,854 2.9%
94 Zimmerman 5,420 7.1%
95 Forest Lake 19,406 5.9%
96 Big Lake 10,516 11.5%
97 St. Anthony 8,930 6.5%
98 Isanti 5,458 7.1%
99 New Prague 7,598 6.3%
100 Blaine 62,453 5.5%

About Chris Kolmar

Chris Kolmar has been in the real estate business for almost ten years now. He originally worked for Movoto Real Estate as the director of marketing before founding HomeSnacks.

He believes the key to finding the right place to live comes down to looking at the data, reading about things to do, and, most importantly, checking it out yourself before you move.

If you've been looking for a place to live in the past several years, you've probably stumbled upon his writing already.

You can find out more about him on LinkedIn or his website.

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