Poorest Cities In Arkansas For 2021


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 2021. This is our seventh 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 2021:

  1. Helena-West Helena
  2. Osceola
  3. Camden
  4. Mena
  5. Magnolia
  6. Newport
  7. West Memphis
  8. Pine Bluff
  9. Blytheville
  10. Warren

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 2021.

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 2021

1. Helena-West Helena

Helena-West Helena, AR

Source: Public domain
Overall SnackAbility

1
/10

Population: 10,749
Rank Last Year: 1 (No Change)
Median Income: $22,177 (lowest)
Unemployment Rate: 11.8% (2nd highest)
Poverty Rate: 45.2% (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 10,749 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. Osceola

Osceola, AR

Overall SnackAbility

2
/10

Population: 6,908
Rank Last Year: 2 (No Change)
Median Income: $31,436 (5th lowest)
Unemployment Rate: 13.9% (highest)
Poverty Rate: 27.5% (8th highest)
More on Osceola:  Data | Photos

The second poorest city in Arkansas is Osceola.

The city ranks as having the 8th highest incidence of poverty and 5th lowest median household income. However, the unemployment rate 'only' ranks as the highest in the Natural State.

3. Camden

Camden, AR

Overall SnackAbility

5
/10

Population: 10,999
Rank Last Year: 6 (Up 3)
Median Income: $30,199 (2nd lowest)
Unemployment Rate: 7.7% (14th highest)
Poverty Rate: 31.8% (3rd highest)
More on Camden:  Data | Photos

Placing as the third poorest city, Camden'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 31.788328016513415% 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. Mena

Mena, AR

Overall SnackAbility

3
/10

Population: 5,558
Rank Last Year: 3 (Down 1)
Median Income: $35,300 (13th lowest)
Unemployment Rate: 9.9% (6th highest)
Poverty Rate: 35.1% (2nd highest)
More on Mena:  Data | Photos

Mena ranks as the fourth poorest place in Arkansas.

The town ranks as having the 13th 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.

5. Magnolia

Magnolia, AR

Overall SnackAbility

4
/10

Population: 11,562
Rank Last Year: 11 (Up 6)
Median Income: $33,474 (8th lowest)
Unemployment Rate: 10.8% (4th highest)
Poverty Rate: 27.1% (9th highest)
More on Magnolia:  Data | Photos

The fifth poorest city in Arkansas is Magnolia.

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 9th highest in Arkansas.

Still not the best news for Magnolia.

6. Newport

Newport, AR

Overall SnackAbility

5
/10

Population: 7,616
Rank Last Year: 9 (Up 3)
Median Income: $30,398 (3rd lowest)
Unemployment Rate: 8.9% (9th highest)
Poverty Rate: 27.0% (11th highest)
More on Newport:  Data | Photos

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

It ranks as having the 11th highest incidence of poverty and the 9th highest unemployment rate.

7. West Memphis

West Memphis, AR

Overall SnackAbility

2
/10

Population: 24,823
Rank Last Year: 5 (Down 2)
Median Income: $33,103 (6th lowest)
Unemployment Rate: 9.9% (5th highest)
Poverty Rate: 26.3% (14th highest)
More on West Memphis:  Data | Photos

West Memphis places as the seventh poorest city in Arkansas.

The city of over 24,823 ranks as having the 14th 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. Pine Bluff

Pine Bluff, AR

Overall SnackAbility

3
/10

Population: 43,091
Rank Last Year: 4 (Down 4)
Median Income: $34,723 (12th lowest)
Unemployment Rate: 11.4% (3rd highest)
Poverty Rate: 26.8% (12th highest)
More on Pine Bluff:  Data | Photos

Pine Bluff ranks as the eighth poorest city in Arkansas.

The big issue for the town is the unemployment rate which ranks as the 3rd highest in the state.

9. Blytheville

Blytheville, AR

Overall SnackAbility

3
/10

Population: 14,011
Rank Last Year: 14 (Up 5)
Median Income: $38,765 (20th lowest)
Unemployment Rate: 9.5% (7th highest)
Poverty Rate: 27.1% (10th highest)
More on Blytheville:  Data | Photos

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

While the median income is the 20th lowest, there are a substantial number of people that live below the poverty line. Overall, Blytheville ranks as having the 10th most people living in poverty of all the places we analyzed in Arkansas.

10. Warren

Warren, AR

Overall SnackAbility

5
/10

Population: 5,646
Rank Last Year: 8 (Down 2)
Median Income: $38,508 (19th lowest)
Unemployment Rate: 7.6% (15th highest)
Poverty Rate: 29.8% (4th highest)
More on Warren:  Data | Photos

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

The city of 5,646 people ranks in the bottom 20% for both median income and poverty rate in the Natural State.

How We Determined The Poorest Places In Arkansas 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 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 2021". You can download the data here.

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

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: Centerton
    3rd Richest: Bentonville

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 10,749 45.2%
2 Osceola 6,908 27.5%
3 Camden 10,999 31.8%
4 Mena 5,558 35.1%
5 Magnolia 11,562 27.1%
6 Newport 7,616 27.0%
7 West Memphis 24,823 26.3%
8 Pine Bluff 43,091 26.8%
9 Blytheville 14,011 27.1%
10 Warren 5,646 29.8%
11 Malvern 10,920 24.6%
12 Forrest City 14,285 29.3%
13 Morrilton 6,645 25.7%
14 Russellville 29,193 20.6%
15 Texarkana 29,901 23.5%
16 Hot Springs 38,559 24.3%
17 Arkadelphia 10,670 29.0%
18 De Queen 6,556 28.2%
19 Hope 9,768 26.6%
20 Pocahontas 6,528 23.2%
21 Harrison 13,063 22.8%
22 Monticello 9,508 25.7%
23 North Little Rock 66,075 23.8%
24 El Dorado 17,982 23.7%
25 Walnut Ridge 5,098 17.7%
26 Searcy 23,767 20.0%
27 Wynne 7,934 16.1%
28 Jonesboro 76,036 18.1%
29 Van Buren 23,413 19.7%
30 Fayetteville 85,166 22.9%
31 Fort Smith 87,743 21.0%
32 Clarksville 9,601 24.7%
33 Paragould 28,568 18.3%
34 Stuttgart 8,720 17.9%
35 Alma 5,742 17.8%
36 Jacksonville 28,456 19.2%
37 Siloam Springs 16,715 24.2%
38 Batesville 10,706 18.0%
39 Trumann 7,059 23.2%
40 Beebe 8,078 12.5%
41 Mountain Home 12,393 10.2%
42 Springdale 79,598 17.6%
43 Berryville 5,442 11.6%
44 Heber Springs 6,992 15.1%
45 Conway 66,127 19.0%
46 Greenwood 9,387 14.3%
47 Little Rock 197,958 16.6%
48 Marion 12,404 8.7%
49 Greenbrier 5,478 19.1%
50 Ward 5,060 11.0%
51 Benton 35,679 9.3%
52 Cabot 26,217 11.5%
53 Sherwood 31,004 10.7%
54 Rogers 66,344 10.5%
55 Prairie Grove 5,845 6.7%
56 Bryant 20,231 8.0%
57 Farmington 6,992 4.2%
58 White Hall 5,078 10.7%
59 Maumelle 18,142 5.4%
60 Pea Ridge 5,717 7.1%
61 Bentonville 49,467 7.6%
62 Centerton 14,203 7.5%
63 Lowell 9,175 5.6%

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