Poorest Cities In Arizona For 2021


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

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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 2021. This is our seventh time ranking the poorest places in Arizona.

Arizona brings to mind images of Phoenix, beautiful landscapes, and some of the best people you'll find in the good ole US of A.

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

To do so, we analyzed the newest Census data from the American Community Survey for the 58 places in Arizona with more than 5,000 people.

Here are the ten poorest places in Arizona for 2021:

  1. South Tucson
  2. Douglas
  3. San Luis
  4. Nogales
  5. Guadalupe
  6. Eloy
  7. Winslow
  8. Somerton
  9. Tucson
  10. Snowflake

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 Arizona? According to the facts, South Tucson is the poorest place in Arizona for 2021.

Rich people more your cup of tea? Feel free to check out the best places in Arizona 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 Arizona reading, check out:

The 10 Poorest Cities In Arizona For 2021

1. South Tucson

South Tucson, AZ

Source: Public domain
Overall SnackAbility

4
/10

Population: 5,667
Rank Last Year: 1 (No Change)
Median Income: $24,967 (lowest)
Unemployment Rate: 14.0% (2nd highest)
Poverty Rate: 43.7% (highest)
More on South Tucson:  Data | Photos

South Tucson, unfortunately, ranks as the poorest place in Arizona thanks to combination of low pay and and a lack of jobs.

The city of 5,667 people averages the lowest median household income in Arizona and the 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.

2. Douglas

Douglas, AZ

Overall SnackAbility

5
/10

Population: 16,307
Rank Last Year: 5 (Up 3)
Median Income: $35,514 (4th lowest)
Unemployment Rate: 11.4% (4th highest)
Poverty Rate: 30.1% (3rd highest)
More on Douglas:  Data | Photos

The second poorest city in Arizona is Douglas.

The city ranks as having the 3rd highest incidence of poverty and 4th lowest median household income. However, the unemployment rate 'only' ranks as the 4th highest in the Grand Canyon State.

3. San Luis

San Luis, AZ

Overall SnackAbility

4
/10

Population: 32,985
Rank Last Year: 3 (No Change)
Median Income: $37,255 (5th lowest)
Unemployment Rate: 14.2% (highest)
Poverty Rate: 24.2% (8th highest)
More on San Luis:  Data | Photos

Placing as the third poorest city, San Luis's median income ranks as the 5th 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 24.231360491929284% 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 Grand Canyon State.

4. Nogales

Nogales, AZ

Source: Public domain
Overall SnackAbility

3
/10

Population: 20,201
Rank Last Year: 4 (No Change)
Median Income: $29,339 (2nd lowest)
Unemployment Rate: 9.6% (9th highest)
Poverty Rate: 29.7% (4th highest)
More on Nogales:  Data | Photos

Nogales ranks as the fourth poorest place in Arizona.

The town ranks as having the 2nd lowest median household income and the 4th 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. Guadalupe

Guadalupe, AZ

Overall SnackAbility

4
/10

Population: 6,482
Rank Last Year: 2 (Down 3)
Median Income: $38,125 (7th lowest)
Unemployment Rate: 9.0% (11th highest)
Poverty Rate: 35.3% (2nd highest)
More on Guadalupe:  Data | Photos

The fifth poorest city in Arizona is Guadalupe.

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 2nd highest in Arizona.

Still not the best news for Guadalupe.

6. Eloy

Eloy, AZ

Overall SnackAbility

2
/10

Population: 18,666
Rank Last Year: 6 (No Change)
Median Income: $39,835 (10th lowest)
Unemployment Rate: 10.4% (7th highest)
Poverty Rate: 29.1% (5th highest)
More on Eloy:  Data | Photos

Eloy ranks as the sixth poorest place in the Grand Canyon State.

It ranks as having the 5th highest incidence of poverty and the 7th highest unemployment rate.

7. Winslow

Winslow, AZ

Source: Public domain
Overall SnackAbility

2
/10

Population: 9,476
Rank Last Year: 7 (No Change)
Median Income: $37,756 (6th lowest)
Unemployment Rate: 9.2% (10th highest)
Poverty Rate: 23.1% (10th highest)
More on Winslow:  Data | Photos

Winslow places as the seventh poorest city in Arizona.

The city of over 9,476 ranks as having the 10th 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. Somerton

Somerton, AZ

Overall SnackAbility

5
/10

Population: 16,146
Rank Last Year: 8 (No Change)
Median Income: $38,315 (8th lowest)
Unemployment Rate: 8.7% (12th highest)
Poverty Rate: 25.8% (6th highest)
More on Somerton:  Data | Photos

Somerton ranks as the eighth poorest city in Arizona.

The big issue for the town is the unemployment rate which ranks as the 12th highest in the state.

9. Tucson

Tucson, AZ

Source: Public domain
Overall SnackAbility

4
/10

Population: 541,482
Rank Last Year: 10 (Up 1)
Median Income: $43,425 (14th lowest)
Unemployment Rate: 7.8% (15th highest)
Poverty Rate: 22.5% (11th highest)
More on Tucson:  Data | Photos

Tucson couldn't stay out of the top ten poorest places in Arizona; it ranks number 9.

While the median income is the 14th lowest, there are a substantial number of people that live below the poverty line. Overall, Tucson ranks as having the 11th most people living in poverty of all the places we analyzed in Arizona.

10. Snowflake

Snowflake, AZ

Overall SnackAbility

5
/10

Population: 5,811
Rank Last Year: 11 (Up 1)
Median Income: $47,206 (19th lowest)
Unemployment Rate: 10.8% (6th highest)
Poverty Rate: 20.3% (15th highest)
More on Snowflake:  Data | Photos

And rounding out the top ten poorest cities in Arizona is Snowflake.

The city of 5,811 people ranks in the bottom 20% for both median income and poverty rate in the Grand Canyon State.

How We Determined The Poorest Places In Arizona for 2021

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 2015-2019 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 58 places with more than 5,000 people in Arizona, we ranked each place from 1 to 58 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, South Tucson, crowned the "Poorest Place In Arizona For 2021". You can download the data here.

There You Have It - The Poorest Places In Arizona For 2021

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

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 Arizona, according to data:

    Richest: Paradise Valley
    2nd Richest: Queen Creek
    3rd Richest: Fountain Hills

For more Arizona reading, check out:

Detailed List Of The Poorest Places To Live In Arizona

Rank City Population Poverty Rate
1 South Tucson 5,667 43.7%
2 Douglas 16,307 30.1%
3 San Luis 32,985 24.2%
4 Nogales 20,201 29.7%
5 Guadalupe 6,482 35.3%
6 Eloy 18,666 29.1%
7 Winslow 9,476 23.1%
8 Somerton 16,146 25.8%
9 Tucson 541,482 22.5%
10 Snowflake 5,811 20.3%
11 Bullhead City 40,252 18.4%
12 Youn 6,802 20.6%
13 Coolidge 12,685 18.3%
14 Yuma 96,349 18.3%
15 Camp Verde 11,196 25.1%
16 Show Low 11,130 20.0%
17 Florence 26,420 15.6%
18 Holbrook 5,037 23.9%
19 Apache Junction 40,592 13.9%
20 Bisbee 5,203 21.7%
21 Kingman 29,726 14.3%
22 Flagstaff 72,402 17.5%
23 Casa Grande 55,653 15.5%
24 Safford 9,749 20.5%
25 Globe 7,348 15.8%
26 Prescott Valley 44,311 12.9%
27 Glendale 247,813 18.2%
28 Page 7,531 17.2%
29 Tolleson 7,246 18.0%
30 Thatcher 5,047 15.6%
31 Tempe 187,454 19.8%
32 Phoenix 1,633,017 18.0%
33 Sierra Vista 43,398 13.2%
34 Lake Havasu City 54,495 10.3%
35 Prescott 42,785 11.5%
36 El Mirage 35,333 15.3%
37 Cottonwood 11,959 14.0%
38 Avondale 84,736 13.2%
39 Mesa 499,720 14.8%
40 Payson 15,545 10.8%
41 Sedona 10,322 10.3%
42 Chino Valley 11,670 8.8%
43 Wickenburg 7,495 12.4%
44 Surprise 135,450 7.3%
45 Cave Creek 5,670 11.7%
46 Peoria 168,196 7.5%
47 Oro Valley 44,630 6.1%
48 Maricopa 48,629 9.0%
49 Litchfield Park 6,073 8.8%
50 Goodyear 80,371 8.0%
51 Chandler 252,692 7.6%
52 Sahuarita 29,905 6.9%
53 Marana 45,279 6.3%
54 Gilbert 243,254 5.3%
55 Scottsdale 250,602 7.6%
56 Fountain Hills 24,729 4.6%
57 Queen Creek 43,129 4.7%
58 Paradise Valley 14,362 3.6%

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