These Are The 10 Poorest Cities In Alabama For 2018


We used science and data to determine which places in Alabama are basically dead broke.

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

However, like all states, Alabama 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 Alabama that could use a helping hand.

To do so, we analyzed the newest Census data from the American Community Survey for the 105 places in Alabama with more than 5,000 people.

We were left with this set of the ten poorest places in the Heart Of Dixie for 2018:

  1. Selma (Photos)
  2. Prichard (Photos)
  3. Monroeville (Photos)
  4. Demopolis (Photos)
  5. Tuskegee (Photos)
  6. Anniston (Photos)
  7. Chickasaw (Photos)
  8. Talladega (Photos)
  9. Tarrant
  10. Alexander City (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, Selma is the poorest place in Alabama for 2018.

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

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

How We Determined The Poorest Places In Alabama For 2018

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 2012-2016 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 105 places with more than 5,000 people in Alabama, we ranked each place from 1 to 105 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, Selma, crowned the ‘Poorest Place In Alabama For 2018’.

You can learn more about the top ten below or skip to the end to see the rankings for all 105 places.

1. Selma

Selma, Alabama

Source: Public domain

Population: 19,650
Median Income: $23,283
Unemployment Rate: 18.2%
Poverty Rate: 41.4%
More on Selma: Add A Comment | Data | Jobs

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

The city of 19,650 people averages the 1st lowest median household income in Alabama and the 1st 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.

User comment that mentions Selma: Hmmm interesting. I just read an article listing Selma’s Main Street as number 3 in the state. You have no idea the damage articles like this do to a city trying to improve their image. While it is appreciated that Selma has problems there is so much improving going on here. Two challenges for 2016. 1. Come visit and see the good here. 2. With so much bad in this world chose to be part of positive reporting! I promise it feels better than focusing on negative. Thanks for letting me voice my opinion.

Your comment could be here. Add a comment on a city or town.

2. Prichard

Prichard, Alabama

Source: Public domain

Population: 22,340
Median Income: $25,275
Unemployment Rate: 18.7%
Poverty Rate: 36.4%
More on Prichard: Add A Comment | Data | Jobs

The second poorest city in Alabama is Prichard.

The city ranks as having the 4th highest incidence of poverty and 2nd lowest median household income. However, the unemployment rate ‘only’ ranks as the 4th highest in the Heart of Dixie.

3. Monroeville

Monroeville, Alabama

Population: 6,203
Median Income: $27,433
Unemployment Rate: 26.1%
Poverty Rate: 37.7%
More on Monroeville: Add A Comment | Data | Jobs

Placing as the third poorest city, Monroeville’s median income ranks as the 7th 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 37.7% 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 Heart of Dixie.

4. Demopolis

Demopolis, Alabama

Source: Public domain

Population: 7,167
Median Income: $25,942
Unemployment Rate: 14.5%
Poverty Rate: 32.6%
More on Demopolis: Add A Comment | Data | Jobs

Demopolis ranks as the fourth poorest place in Alabama.

The town ranks as having the 4th lowest median household income and the 7th 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.

5. Tuskegee

Tuskegee, Alabama

Source: Public domain

Population: 9,050
Median Income: $27,500
Unemployment Rate: 19.0%
Poverty Rate: 27.6%
More on Tuskegee: Add A Comment | Data | Jobs

The fifth poorest city in Alabama is Tuskegee.

The city ranks as having the 8th 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 21st highest in Alabama.

Still not the best news for Tuskegee.

6. Anniston

Anniston, Alabama

Population: 22,441
Median Income: $30,539
Unemployment Rate: 15.7%
Poverty Rate: 32.1%
More on Anniston: Add A Comment | Data | Jobs

Anniston ranks as the sixth poorest place in the Heart of Dixie.

It ranks as having the 9th highest incidence of poverty and the 9th highest unemployment rate.

7. Chickasaw

Chickasaw, Alabama

Source: Public domain

Population: 5,955
Median Income: $28,893
Unemployment Rate: 12.0%
Poverty Rate: 38.9%
More on Chickasaw: Add A Comment | Data | Jobs

Chickasaw places as the seventh poorest city in Alabama.

The city of over 5,955 ranks as having the 2nd highest incidence of poverty in the state. However, it has a very low cost of living which helps to pay the bills each month.

8. Talladega

Talladega, Alabama

Population: 15,793
Median Income: $29,074
Unemployment Rate: 19.5%
Poverty Rate: 26.4%
More on Talladega: Add A Comment | Data | Jobs

Talladega ranks as the eighth poorest city in Alabama.

The big issue for the town is the unemployment rate which ranks as the 2nd highest in the state.

9. Tarrant


Population: 6,271
Median Income: $26,800
Unemployment Rate: 10.8%
Poverty Rate: 32.6%
More on Tarrant: Add A Comment | Data | Jobs

Tarrant couldn’t stay out of the top ten poorest places in Alabama; 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, Tarrant ranks as having the 7th most people living in poverty of all the places we analyzed in Alabama.

User comment that mentions Tarrant: That’s definitely NOT a pic of Tarrant. I LIVE in Tarrant. Was born & raised here. I moved away for 20 years, but this is HOME. Stay out of our Tarrant, Nick! Unless you want to provide CORRECT images.

Your comment could be here. Add a comment on a city or town.

10. Alexander City

Alexander City, Alabama

Source: Public domain

Population: 14,859
Median Income: $30,442
Unemployment Rate: 11.9%
Poverty Rate: 33.3%
More on Alexander City: Add A Comment | Data | Jobs

And rounding out the top ten poorest cities in Alabama is Alexander City.

The city of 14,859 people ranks in the bottom 20% for both median income and poverty rate in the Heart of Dixie.

There You Have It – The Poorest Places In Alabama For 2018

Like we said earlier, when we set out to identify the poorest places in Alabama, we weren’t sure what we’d encounter, but it ended up being some of the best places to live in Alabama.

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 Alabama, according to data:

Richest: Mountain Brook
2nd Richest: Pike Road
3rd Richest: Helena

For more Alabama reading , check out:

  • 10 Most Dangerous Cities In Alabama
  • 10 Worst Places To Live In Alabama
  • 10 Best Places To Live In Alabama
  • Detailed List Of The Poorest Cities In Alabama

    Rank City Poverty Rate
    1 Selma 41.4%
    2 Prichard 36.4%
    3 Monroeville 37.7%
    4 Demopolis 32.6%
    5 Tuskegee 27.6%
    6 Anniston 32.1%
    7 Chickasaw 38.9%
    8 Talladega 26.4%
    9 Tarrant 32.6%
    10 Alexander City 33.3%
    11 Lanett 29.0%
    12 Bessemer 30.7%
    13 Atmore 23.7%
    14 Jackson 28.2%
    15 Fairfield 28.3%
    16 Russellville 32.6%
    17 Birmingham 29.4%
    18 Childersburg 30.9%
    19 Troy 31.9%
    20 Eufaula 26.1%
    21 Opp 26.2%
    22 Gadsden 26.1%
    23 Daleville 28.3%
    24 Brewton 29.3%
    25 Center Point 26.7%
    26 Sylacauga 25.7%
    27 Greenville 27.1%
    28 Jacksonville 26.3%
    29 Andalusia 20.1%
    30 Montevallo 21.5%
    31 Ozark 24.9%
    32 Fort Payne 21.9%
    33 Bay Minette 26.5%
    34 Albertville 28.3%
    35 Midfield 22.0%
    36 Mobile 23.1%
    37 Sheffield 25.8%
    38 Attalla 12.9%
    39 Auburn 30.8%
    40 Jasper 21.3%
    41 Florence 24.4%
    42 Clanton 18.8%
    43 Hamilton 18.0%
    44 Tuscaloosa 23.9%
    45 Roanoke 18.4%
    46 Phenix City 21.0%
    47 Tallassee 15.8%
    48 Montgomery 22.6%
    49 Foley 15.9%
    50 Wetumpka 10.8%
    51 Boaz 20.0%
    52 Dothan 19.9%
    53 Scottsboro 17.5%
    54 Decatur 20.8%
    55 Gulf Shores 16.3%
    56 Rainbow City 19.8%
    57 Opelika 21.7%
    58 Irondale 18.7%
    59 Arab 17.2%
    60 Hueytown 15.7%
    61 Cullman 19.1%
    62 Guntersville 16.8%
    63 Athens 14.5%
    64 Huntsville 17.5%
    65 Glencoe 8.7%
    66 Valley 15.7%
    67 Lincoln 11.6%
    68 Oxford 11.4%
    69 Robertsdale 16.5%
    70 Pell City 15.7%
    71 Oneonta 11.7%
    72 Hartselle 9.1%
    73 Enterprise 15.3%
    74 Tuscumbia 13.5%
    75 Northport 14.4%
    76 Saraland 10.7%
    77 Satsuma 12.0%
    78 Leeds 14.1%
    79 Pinson 6.1%
    80 Daphne 11.8%
    81 Smiths Station 9.6%
    82 Prattville 10.6%
    83 Muscle Shoals 10.2%
    84 Pleasant Grove 7.7%
    85 Fultondale 10.8%
    86 Orange Beach 7.4%
    87 Fairhope 10.1%
    88 Millbrook 12.0%
    89 Gardendale 8.4%
    90 Moody 8.4%
    91 Homewood 11.1%
    92 Alabaster 10.2%
    93 Pelham 5.7%
    94 Madison 5.7%
    95 Hoover 6.1%
    96 Calera 4.6%
    97 Clay 4.2%
    98 Spanish Fort 6.5%
    99 Chelsea 5.6%
    100 Southside 4.1%

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