Like all states, Arkansas has certain places that are going on hard times. These Arkansas places have an above-average percentage of people living in poverty, out of work, or not making as much as they should be.
Even as the economy continues to improve, it’s worthwhile to look at the places in each state struggling to make ends meet. So we set our sites on locating the poorest places in Arkansas.
To do so, we used Saturday Night Science to analyze the newest Census data from the American Community Survey for the 64 cities in Arkansas with more than 5,000 people.
What’s the poorest city in Arkansas? According to the facts, Helena-West Helena is the poorest place in Arkansas for 2023.
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.
For more Arkansas reading, check out:
- Best Places To Live In Arkansas
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- The poorest states in the US
- The poorest cities in the US
The 10 Poorest Cities In Arkansas For 2023
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 9,707 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.
The second poorest city in Arkansas is Forrest City.
The city ranks as having the 2nd highest incidence of poverty and 2nd lowest median household income. However, the unemployment rate ‘only’ ranks as the 15th highest in the Natural State.
Placing as the third poorest city, Monticello’s median income ranks as the 3rd 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 26.817173430771238% 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.
Magnolia ranks as the fourth poorest place in Arkansas.
The town ranks as having the 6th lowest median household income and the 8th 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.
The fifth poorest city in Arkansas is Morrilton.
The city ranks as having the 11th 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 Arkansas.
Still not the best news for Morrilton.
Malvern ranks as the sixth poorest place in the Natural State.
It ranks as having the 9th highest incidence of poverty and the 12th highest unemployment rate.
Alma places as the seventh poorest city in Arkansas.
The city of over 5,806 ranks as having the 3rd highest incidence of poverty in the state. However, it has a very low cost of living which helps to pay the bills each month.
Arkadelphia ranks as the eighth poorest city in Arkansas.
The big issue for the town is the unemployment rate which ranks as the 48th highest in the state.
Newport couldn’t stay out of the top ten poorest places in Arkansas; 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, Newport ranks as having the 16th most people living in poverty of all the places we analyzed in Arkansas.
And rounding out the top ten poorest cities in Arkansas is West Memphis.
The city of 24,666 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 2023
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 used Saturday Night Science to look at this set of criteria from the newly released 2017-2021 American Community Survey:
- Poverty Level
- Median Household Income
After we collected the data for all 64 places with more than 5,000 people in Arkansas, we ranked each place from 1 to 64 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 2023”.
This report has been updated for 2023, which is our tenth time ranking the poorest places in Arkansas.
Summary: The Poorest Cities In Arkansas For 2023
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: Cave Springs
2nd Richest: Centerton
3rd Richest: Pea Ridge
For more Arkansas reading, check out:
- Richest Cities In Arkansas
- Safest Places In Arkansas
- Worst Places To Live In Arkansas
- Most Expensive Places To Live In Arkansas
Detailed List Of The Poorest Places To Live In Arkansas
|Rank||City||Population||Poverty Rate||Median Income||People In Poverty|
|28||North Little Rock||64,444||21.7%||$45,590||14,015|