Poorest Cities In Arizona For 2020


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 2020. This is our sixth time ranking the poorest places in Arizona.

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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 2020:

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

What's the poorst city in Arizona? According to the facts, South Tucson is the poorest place in Arizona for 2020.

Rich people more your cup of tea? Feel free to check out the richest 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 2020

South Tucson, AZ

Source: Public domain
Overall SnackAbility

4
/10

Population: 5,666
Rank Last Year: 1 (No Change)
Median Income: $23,603 (1st lowest)
Unemployment Rate: 14.2% (1st highest)
Poverty Rate: 40.4% (1st 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 5,666 people averages the 1st lowest median household income in Arizona 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.

Guadalupe, AZ

Overall SnackAbility

4
/10

Population: 6,405
Rank Last Year: 2 (No Change)
Median Income: $32,298 (3rd lowest)
Unemployment Rate: 12.1% (5th highest)
Poverty Rate: 32.7% (3rd highest)
More on Guadalupe:  Data | Photos

The second poorest city in Arizona is Guadalupe.

The city ranks as having the 3rd highest incidence of poverty and 3rd lowest median household income. However, the unemployment rate 'only' ranks as the 5th highest in the Grand Canyon State.

San Luis, AZ

Overall SnackAbility

4
/10

Population: 32,279
Rank Last Year: 6 (Up 3)
Median Income: $34,122 (5th lowest)
Unemployment Rate: 13.9% (2nd highest)
Poverty Rate: 27.4% (5th 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 27.434035422074718% 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.

Nogales, AZ

Source: Public domain
Overall SnackAbility

3
/10

Population: 20,288
Rank Last Year: 4 (No Change)
Median Income: $28,238 (2nd lowest)
Unemployment Rate: 10.1% (10th highest)
Poverty Rate: 33.9% (2nd 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 2nd 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.

Douglas, AZ

Overall SnackAbility

4
/10

Population: 16,453
Rank Last Year: 3 (Down 2)
Median Income: $34,154 (6th lowest)
Unemployment Rate: 12.3% (4th highest)
Poverty Rate: 29.3% (4th highest)
More on Douglas:  Data | Photos

The fifth poorest city in Arizona is Douglas.

The city ranks as having the 6th 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 4th highest in Arizona.

Still not the best news for Douglas.

Eloy, AZ

Overall SnackAbility

1
/10

Population: 18,083
Rank Last Year: 5 (Down 1)
Median Income: $37,530 (8th lowest)
Unemployment Rate: 11.4% (7th highest)
Poverty Rate: 26.8% (6th highest)
More on Eloy:  Data | Photos

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

It ranks as having the 6th highest incidence of poverty and the 7th highest unemployment rate.

Winslow, AZ

Source: Public domain
Overall SnackAbility

1
/10

Population: 9,505
Rank Last Year: 7 (No Change)
Median Income: $38,043 (9th lowest)
Unemployment Rate: 11.8% (6th highest)
Poverty Rate: 25.5% (7th highest)
More on Winslow:  Data | Photos

Winslow places as the seventh poorest city in Arizona.

The city of over 9,505 ranks as having the 7th highest incidence of poverty in the state. However, it has a very low cost of living which helps to pay the bills each month.

Somerton, AZ

Overall SnackAbility

4
/10

Population: 15,932
Rank Last Year: 8 (No Change)
Median Income: $39,292 (10th lowest)
Unemployment Rate: 9.4% (14th highest)
Poverty Rate: 25.3% (8th 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 14th highest in the state.

Coolidge, AZ

Overall SnackAbility

3
/10

Population: 12,503
Rank Last Year: 10 (Up 1)
Median Income: $44,063 (18th lowest)
Unemployment Rate: 12.4% (3rd highest)
Poverty Rate: 19.7% (17th highest)
More on Coolidge:  Data | Photos

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

While the median income is the 18th lowest, there are a substantial number of people that live below the poverty line. Overall, Coolidge ranks as having the 17th most people living in poverty of all the places we analyzed in Arizona.

Tucson, AZ

Source: Public domain
Overall SnackAbility

4
/10

Population: 539,216
Rank Last Year: 9 (Down 1)
Median Income: $41,625 (14th lowest)
Unemployment Rate: 8.4% (17th highest)
Poverty Rate: 23.4% (10th highest)
More on Tucson:  Data | Photos

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

The city of 539,216 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 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 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 2020". You can download the data here.

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

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: Gilbert

For more Arizona reading, check out:

Detailed List Of The Poorest Places To Live In Arizona

Rank City Population Poverty Rate
1 South Tucson 5,666 40.4%
2 Guadalupe 6,405 32.7%
3 San Luis 32,279 27.4%
4 Nogales 20,288 33.9%
5 Douglas 16,453 29.3%
6 Eloy 18,083 26.8%
7 Winslow 9,505 25.5%
8 Somerton 15,932 25.3%
9 Coolidge 12,503 19.7%
10 Tucson 539,216 23.4%
11 Snowflake 5,724 20.9%
12 Bullhead City 40,024 18.0%
13 Youn 6,747 17.5%
14 Globe 7,346 17.9%
15 Apache Junction 39,674 17.5%
16 Yuma 95,573 18.5%
17 Cottonwood 11,826 19.5%
18 Show Low 11,014 20.5%
19 Holbrook 5,037 23.7%
20 Camp Verde 11,169 22.0%
21 Kingman 29,244 17.5%
22 Bisbee 5,231 22.9%
23 Casa Grande 54,316 17.9%
24 Flagstaff 71,202 19.7%
25 Florence 26,350 11.8%
26 Prescott Valley 43,198 14.2%
27 Glendale 245,514 18.6%
28 Phoenix 1,610,071 19.4%
29 Page 7,547 14.0%
30 Tempe 183,652 21.3%
31 Tolleson 7,184 18.3%
32 El Mirage 35,004 16.0%
33 Safford 9,735 15.8%
34 Prescott 42,068 12.3%
35 Chino Valley 11,376 9.3%
36 Lake Havasu City 53,952 11.1%
37 Sierra Vista 43,550 14.1%
38 Mesa 491,194 15.5%
39 Payson 15,439 12.4%
40 Sedona 10,315 11.4%
41 Avondale 83,392 15.1%
42 Cave Creek 5,569 11.5%
43 Surprise 132,904 8.4%
44 Thatcher 5,030 15.3%
45 Wickenburg 7,021 9.0%
46 Maricopa 47,314 8.5%
47 Oro Valley 43,815 6.7%
48 Peoria 164,572 7.3%
49 Litchfield Park 5,899 9.3%
50 Chandler 248,631 8.5%
51 Goodyear 77,476 7.8%
52 Sahuarita 28,949 6.7%
53 Marana 43,606 6.5%
54 Scottsdale 246,026 8.2%
55 Fountain Hills 24,490 4.1%
56 Gilbert 237,484 5.9%
57 Queen Creek 36,053 6.3%
58 Paradise Valley 14,215 5.0%

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