Poorest Cities In Arkansas For 2022

We used science and data to determine which places in Arkansas 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 2022. This is our ninth time ranking the poorest places in Arkansas.

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

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

To do so, we analyzed the newest Census data from the American Community Survey for the 63 places in Arkansas with more than 5,000 people.

Here are the ten poorest places in Arkansas for 2022:

  1. Helena-West Helena
  2. West Memphis
  3. Mena
  4. Morrilton
  5. Forrest City
  6. Newport
  7. Pine Bluff
  8. Alma
  9. Camden
  10. Malvern

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 Arkansas? According to the facts, Helena-West Helena is the poorest place in Arkansas for 2022.

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

The 10 Poorest Cities In Arkansas For 2022

1. Helena-West Helena

Helena-West Helena, AR

Source: Public domain
Overall SnackAbility


Population: 10,487
Rank Last Year: 1 (No Change)
Median Income: $23,483 (lowest)
Unemployment Rate: 16.2% (highest)
Poverty Rate: 39.3% (highest)
More on Helena-West Helena:  Data | Photos

Helena-West Helena, unfortunately, ranks as the poorest place in Arkansas thanks to combination of low pay and and a lack of jobs.

The city of 10,487 people averages the lowest median household income in Arkansas 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. West Memphis

West Memphis, AR

Overall SnackAbility


Population: 24,656
Rank Last Year: 7 (Up 5)
Median Income: $32,601 (3rd lowest)
Unemployment Rate: 11.1% (5th highest)
Poverty Rate: 26.6% (9th highest)
More on West Memphis:  Data | Photos

The second poorest city in Arkansas is West Memphis.

The city ranks as having the 9th highest incidence of poverty and 3rd lowest median household income. However, the unemployment rate 'only' ranks as the 5th highest in the Natural State.

3. Mena

Mena, AR

Overall SnackAbility


Population: 5,524
Rank Last Year: 4 (Up 1)
Median Income: $38,778 (18th lowest)
Unemployment Rate: 13.2% (3rd highest)
Poverty Rate: 30.0% (4th highest)
More on Mena:  Data | Photos

Placing as the third poorest city, Mena's median income ranks as the 18th 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 29.951600893521967% 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 Natural State.

4. Morrilton

Morrilton, AR

Overall SnackAbility


Population: 6,638
Rank Last Year: 13 (Up 9)
Median Income: $33,313 (7th lowest)
Unemployment Rate: 7.5% (16th highest)
Poverty Rate: 31.7% (3rd highest)
More on Morrilton:  Data | Photos

Morrilton ranks as the fourth poorest place in Arkansas.

The town ranks as having the 7th lowest median household income and the 3rd 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. Forrest City

Forrest City, AR

Overall SnackAbility


Population: 14,062
Rank Last Year: 12 (Up 7)
Median Income: $33,062 (6th lowest)
Unemployment Rate: 6.9% (20th highest)
Poverty Rate: 33.1% (2nd highest)
More on Forrest City:  Data | Photos

The fifth poorest city in Arkansas is Forrest City.

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 2nd highest in Arkansas.

Still not the best news for Forrest City.

6. Newport

Newport, AR

Overall SnackAbility


Population: 7,552
Rank Last Year: 6 (No Change)
Median Income: $32,783 (4th lowest)
Unemployment Rate: 10.3% (7th highest)
Poverty Rate: 23.4% (19th highest)
More on Newport:  Data | Photos

Newport ranks as the sixth poorest place in the Natural State.

It ranks as having the 19th highest incidence of poverty and the 7th highest unemployment rate.

7. Pine Bluff

Pine Bluff, AR

Overall SnackAbility


Population: 42,323
Rank Last Year: 8 (Up 1)
Median Income: $34,410 (10th lowest)
Unemployment Rate: 10.8% (6th highest)
Poverty Rate: 25.4% (15th highest)
More on Pine Bluff:  Data | Photos

Pine Bluff places as the seventh poorest city in Arkansas.

The city of over 42,323 ranks as having the 15th 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. Alma

Alma, AR

Overall SnackAbility


Population: 5,816
Rank Last Year: 35 (Up 27)
Median Income: $35,352 (11th lowest)
Unemployment Rate: 6.9% (2highest)
Poverty Rate: 28.1% (5th highest)
More on Alma:  Data | Photos

Alma ranks as the eighth poorest city in Arkansas.

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

9. Camden

Camden, AR

Overall SnackAbility


Population: 10,877
Rank Last Year: 3 (Down 6)
Median Income: $37,842 (15th lowest)
Unemployment Rate: 8.4% (12th highest)
Poverty Rate: 25.7% (11th highest)
More on Camden:  Data | Photos

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

While the median income is the 15th lowest, there are a substantial number of people that live below the poverty line. Overall, Camden ranks as having the 11th most people living in poverty of all the places we analyzed in Arkansas.

10. Malvern

Malvern, AR

Overall SnackAbility


Population: 10,886
Rank Last Year: 11 (Up 1)
Median Income: $35,833 (12th lowest)
Unemployment Rate: 9.0% (10th highest)
Poverty Rate: 24.7% (17th highest)
More on Malvern:  Data | Photos

And rounding out the top ten poorest cities in Arkansas is Malvern.

The city of 10,886 people ranks in the bottom 20% for both median income and poverty rate in the Natural State.

Methodology: How We Determined The Poorest Places In Arkansas for 2022

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 2016-2020 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 63 places with more than 5,000 people in Arkansas, we ranked each place from 1 to 63 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, Helena-West Helena, crowned the "Poorest Place In Arkansas For 2022". You can download the data here.

Summary: The Poorest Places In Arkansas For 2022

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

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 Arkansas, according to data:

    Richest: Lowell
    2nd Richest: Farmington
    3rd Richest: Pea Ridge

For more Arkansas reading, check out:

Detailed List Of The Poorest Places To Live In Arkansas

Rank City Population Poverty Rate
1 Helena-West Helena 10,487 39.3%
2 West Memphis 24,656 26.6%
3 Mena 5,524 30.0%
4 Morrilton 6,638 31.7%
5 Forrest City 14,062 33.1%
6 Newport 7,552 23.4%
7 Pine Bluff 42,323 25.4%
8 Alma 5,816 28.1%
9 Camden 10,877 25.7%
10 Malvern 10,886 24.7%
11 Blytheville 13,735 25.7%
12 Magnolia 11,537 26.6%
13 Osceola 6,786 19.3%
14 Wynne 7,773 21.9%
15 Arkadelphia 10,670 28.0%
16 Texarkana 29,864 21.0%
17 Hope 9,668 27.1%
18 Russellville 29,227 17.9%
19 Searcy 23,673 19.0%
20 North Little Rock 66,079 22.3%
21 Monticello 9,392 25.4%
22 Hot Springs 38,697 20.3%
23 El Dorado 17,826 25.5%
24 Jacksonville 28,442 19.6%
25 Berryville 5,594 15.4%
26 Warren 5,596 23.7%
27 Jonesboro 77,391 20.2%
28 De Queen 6,499 25.8%
29 Fayetteville 86,622 22.3%
30 Harrison 13,124 16.6%
31 Clarksville 9,661 20.5%
32 Fort Smith 87,788 18.9%
33 Walnut Ridge 5,104 15.8%
34 Paragould 28,821 17.7%
35 Pocahontas 6,582 19.2%
36 Van Buren 23,600 18.8%
37 Trumann 7,000 25.3%
38 Mountain Home 12,463 12.0%
39 Stuttgart 8,617 17.2%
40 Siloam Springs 17,031 19.5%
41 Conway 66,776 18.7%
42 Springdale 80,433 16.1%
43 Heber Springs 7,156 15.8%
44 Little Rock 198,067 15.3%
45 Cabot 26,376 12.5%
46 Prairie Grove 6,236 15.3%
47 Batesville 10,749 14.6%
48 Greenbrier 5,592 16.4%
49 Greenwood 9,392 12.7%
50 Marion 12,371 4.8%
51 Benton 36,360 8.1%
52 Ward 5,195 9.3%
53 Beebe 8,131 10.4%
54 Sherwood 31,225 8.9%
55 Rogers 67,787 9.8%
56 Maumelle 18,193 5.8%
57 Bryant 20,563 6.6%
58 White Hall 5,017 11.8%
59 Bentonville 52,070 7.1%
60 Centerton 15,345 6.9%
61 Pea Ridge 5,960 6.1%
62 Farmington 7,166 2.9%
63 Lowell 9,433 4.4%

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