Poorest Cities In Minnesota For 2020

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 2020. This is our sixth 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 147 places in Minnesota with more than 5,000 people.

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.

What's the poorst city in Minnesota? According to the facts, Virginia is the poorest place in Minnesota for 2020.

Rich people more 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:

The 10 Poorest Cities In Minnesota For 2020

Virginia, MN

Overall SnackAbility


Population: 8,531
Rank Last Year: 3 (Up 2)
Median Income: $38,690 (3rd lowest)
Unemployment Rate: 7.3% (2nd highest)
Poverty Rate: 24.8% (2nd highest)
More on Virginia:  Data | Photos

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

The city of 8,531 people averages the 3rd 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: 6,043
Rank Last Year: 2 (No Change)
Median Income: $41,108 (6th lowest)
Unemployment Rate: 9.0% (1st highest)
Poverty Rate: 24.0% (5th highest)
More on International Falls:  Data | Photos

The second poorest city in Minnesota is International Falls.

The city ranks as having the 5th highest incidence of poverty and 6th lowest median household income. However, the unemployment rate 'only' ranks as the 1st highest in the North Star State.

Bemidji, MN

Overall SnackAbility


Population: 15,004
Rank Last Year: 1 (Down 2)
Median Income: $34,112 (2nd lowest)
Unemployment Rate: 6.2% (10th highest)
Poverty Rate: 27.2% (1st highest)
More on Bemidji:  Data | Photos

Placing as the third poorest city, Bemidji's median income ranks as the 2nd 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 27.22137404580153% 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.

St. Cloud, MN

Overall SnackAbility


Population: 67,513
Rank Last Year: 5 (Up 1)
Median Income: $46,854 (17th lowest)
Unemployment Rate: 7.1% (3rd highest)
Poverty Rate: 23.1% (6th highest)
More on St. Cloud:  Data | Photos

St. Cloud ranks as the fourth poorest place in Minnesota.

The town ranks as having the 17th lowest median household income and the 6th 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.

Hibbing, MN

Source: Public domain
Overall SnackAbility


Population: 16,106
Rank Last Year: 7 (Up 2)
Median Income: $46,826 (16th lowest)
Unemployment Rate: 6.3% (8th highest)
Poverty Rate: 18.3% (17th highest)
More on Hibbing:  Data | Photos

The fifth poorest city in Minnesota is Hibbing.

The city ranks as having the 16th 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 17th highest in Minnesota.

Still not the best news for Hibbing.

Worthington, MN

Overall SnackAbility


Population: 13,148
Rank Last Year: 6 (No Change)
Median Income: $47,652 (20th lowest)
Unemployment Rate: 6.4% (7th highest)
Poverty Rate: 18.8% (15th highest)
More on Worthington:  Data | Photos

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

It ranks as having the 15th highest incidence of poverty and the 7th highest unemployment rate.

Winona, MN

Source: Public domain
Overall SnackAbility


Population: 26,981
Rank Last Year: 4 (Down 3)
Median Income: $44,630 (10th lowest)
Unemployment Rate: 4.9% (28th highest)
Poverty Rate: 19.9% (11th highest)
More on Winona:  Data | Photos

Winona places as the seventh poorest city in Minnesota.

The city of over 26,981 ranks as having the 11th highest incidence of poverty in the state. However, it has a very low cost of living which helps to pay the bills each month.

Albert Lea, MN

Overall SnackAbility


Population: 17,687
Rank Last Year: 14 (Up 6)
Median Income: $44,513 (9th lowest)
Unemployment Rate: 5.4% (18th highest)
Poverty Rate: 16.1% (25th highest)
More on Albert Lea:  Data | Photos

Albert Lea ranks as the eighth poorest city in Minnesota.

The big issue for the town is the unemployment rate which ranks as the 18th highest in the state.

Waite Park, MN

Overall SnackAbility


Population: 7,623
Rank Last Year: 19 (Up 10)
Median Income: $39,685 (5th lowest)
Unemployment Rate: 4.7% (34th highest)
Poverty Rate: 19.2% (13th highest)
More on Waite Park:  Data | Photos

Waite Park couldn't stay out of the top ten poorest places in Minnesota; it ranks number 9.

While the median income is the 5th lowest, there are a substantial number of people that live below the poverty line. Overall, Waite Park ranks as having the 13th most people living in poverty of all the places we analyzed in Minnesota.

Little Falls, MN

Overall SnackAbility


Population: 8,664
Rank Last Year: 22 (Up 12)
Median Income: $38,862 (4th lowest)
Unemployment Rate: 4.8% (30th highest)
Poverty Rate: 18.0% (18th highest)
More on Little Falls:  Data | Photos

And rounding out the top ten poorest cities in Minnesota is Little Falls.

The city of 8,664 people ranks in the bottom 20% for both median income and poverty rate in the North Star State.

How We Determined The Poorest Places In Minnesota for 2020

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 2014-2018 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 147 places with more than 5,000 people in Minnesota, we ranked each place from 1 to 147 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, Virginia, crowned the "Poorest Place In Minnesota For 2020". You can download the data here.

There You Have It - The Poorest Places In Minnesota For 2020

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: Victoria
    2nd Richest: North Oaks
    3rd Richest: Minnetrista

For more Minnesota reading, check out:

Detailed List Of The Poorest Places To Live In Minnesota

Rank City Population Poverty Rate
1 Virginia 8,531 24.8%
2 International Falls 6,043 24.0%
3 Bemidji 15,004 27.2%
4 St. Cloud 67,513 23.1%
5 Hibbing 16,106 18.3%
6 Worthington 13,148 18.8%
7 Winona 26,981 19.9%
8 Albert Lea 17,687 16.1%
9 Waite Park 7,623 19.2%
10 Little Falls 8,664 18.0%
11 Mankato 41,701 24.7%
12 St. Paul 302,760 19.9%
13 Austin 25,006 14.4%
14 Cloquet 11,998 14.9%
15 Brooklyn Center 30,899 17.2%
16 Duluth 86,004 19.3%
17 West St. Paul 19,750 14.0%
18 Minneapolis 416,021 19.9%
19 Sauk Rapids 13,528 17.2%
20 Marshall 13,706 18.3%
21 Columbia Heights 19,958 13.2%
22 Red Wing 16,365 14.0%
23 Faribault 23,711 15.6%
24 Glencoe 5,495 16.2%
25 Waseca 9,056 12.0%
26 Anoka 17,419 11.2%
27 Fairmont 10,191 16.7%
28 Detroit Lakes 9,134 19.1%
29 Willmar 19,618 15.5%
30 Jordan 6,155 11.6%
31 Cambridge 8,587 11.1%
32 Little Canada 10,387 8.7%
33 Crookston 7,782 16.6%
34 Fridley 27,614 10.4%
35 Mounds View 12,959 10.7%
36 Lake City 5,165 10.1%
37 St. Joseph 6,938 24.6%
38 Hopkins 18,300 10.7%
39 Fergus Falls 13,647 9.7%
40 Brainerd 13,389 20.0%
41 Falcon Heights 5,559 12.0%
42 Spring Lake Park 6,459 7.2%
43 New Hope 20,922 10.5%
44 Owatonna 25,656 10.3%
45 Montevideo 5,139 13.0%
46 Robbinsdale 14,466 10.1%
47 North Mankato 13,704 7.6%
48 Maplewood 40,387 9.8%
49 Northfield 20,217 12.1%
50 Grand Rapids 11,140 17.7%
51 New Brighton 22,560 11.0%
52 South St. Paul 20,256 10.8%
53 St. Peter 11,784 15.5%
54 Morris 5,353 22.0%
55 East Grand Forks 8,635 13.5%
56 North St. Paul 12,342 9.8%
57 Alexandria 13,380 12.4%
58 Burnsville 61,283 7.9%
59 Buffalo 16,092 7.7%
60 Rochester 113,913 10.3%
61 Richfield 35,982 9.2%
62 Moorhead 42,395 15.0%
63 Redwood Falls 5,004 13.0%
64 Roseville 35,833 9.7%
65 Crystal 22,934 7.4%
66 Brooklyn Park 79,792 9.3%
67 Thief River Falls 8,758 11.8%
68 Chisago City 5,043 4.9%
69 Inver Grove Heights 35,197 8.4%
70 North Branch 10,321 7.7%
71 St. Paul Park 5,372 7.0%
72 Oakdale 28,018 6.6%
73 Monticello 13,439 5.4%
74 Hutchinson 13,882 8.5%
75 New Prague 7,746 7.4%
76 Coon Rapids 62,376 6.8%
77 Litchfield 6,631 9.6%
78 St. Francis 7,551 7.2%
79 Zimmerman 5,541 7.7%
80 Bloomington 85,394 6.8%
81 Elk River 24,211 7.6%
82 Arden Hills 10,290 4.1%
83 New Ulm 13,248 7.5%
84 Stewartville 6,133 11.1%
85 White Bear Lake 25,601 5.8%
86 Forest Lake 19,643 6.0%
87 Belle Plaine 7,029 7.5%
88 Hastings 22,690 7.0%
89 St. Louis Park 48,423 7.5%
90 Isanti 5,565 7.5%
91 Baxter 8,087 6.9%
92 Eagan 66,363 5.9%
93 Big Lake 10,699 11.3%
94 Shakopee 40,418 5.7%
95 Wyoming 7,839 1.8%
96 Hermantown 9,621 5.5%
97 La Crescent 5,087 6.1%
98 Golden Valley 21,364 8.0%
99 Mound 9,412 4.5%
100 Apple Valley 51,931 6.0%

How Is The Area In ?

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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