Poorest Cities In Arkansas For 2020


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

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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 64 places in Arkansas with more than 5,000 people.

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 2020.

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

Helena-West Helena, AR

Source: Public domain
Overall SnackAbility

/10

Population: 10,965
Rank Last Year: -
Median Income: $22,400 (1st lowest)
Unemployment Rate: 12.2% (2nd highest)
Poverty Rate: 41.7% (1st 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 10,965 people averages the 1st lowest median household income in Arkansas 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.

Osceola, AR

Overall SnackAbility

1
/10

Population: 7,049
Rank Last Year: 1 (Down 1)
Median Income: $30,144 (4th lowest)
Unemployment Rate: 11.9% (3rd highest)
Poverty Rate: 32.8% (2nd highest)
More on Osceola:  Data | Photos

The second poorest city in Arkansas is Osceola.

The city ranks as having the 2nd highest incidence of poverty and 4th lowest median household income. However, the unemployment rate 'only' ranks as the 3rd highest in the Natural State.

Mena, AR

Overall SnackAbility

3
/10

Population: 5,597
Rank Last Year: 8 (Up 5)
Median Income: $32,580 (8th lowest)
Unemployment Rate: 9.8% (7th highest)
Poverty Rate: 32.8% (3rd highest)
More on Mena:  Data | Photos

Placing as the third poorest city, Mena's median income ranks as the 8th 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 32.788990825688074% 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.

Pine Bluff, AR

Overall SnackAbility

3
/10

Population: 43,840
Rank Last Year: 10 (Up 6)
Median Income: $32,917 (11th lowest)
Unemployment Rate: 13.0% (1st highest)
Poverty Rate: 28.6% (10th highest)
More on Pine Bluff:  Data | Photos

Pine Bluff ranks as the fourth poorest place in Arkansas.

The town ranks as having the 11th lowest median household income and the 10th 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.

West Memphis, AR

Overall SnackAbility

2
/10

Population: 25,009
Rank Last Year: 7 (Up 2)
Median Income: $31,662 (6th lowest)
Unemployment Rate: 10.9% (5th highest)
Poverty Rate: 27.8% (13th highest)
More on West Memphis:  Data | Photos

The fifth poorest city in Arkansas is West Memphis.

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 13th highest in Arkansas.

Still not the best news for West Memphis.

Camden, AR

Overall SnackAbility

5
/10

Population: 11,152
Rank Last Year: 4 (Down 2)
Median Income: $28,495 (2nd lowest)
Unemployment Rate: 7.0% (22nd highest)
Poverty Rate: 31.4% (5th highest)
More on Camden:  Data | Photos

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

It ranks as having the 5th highest incidence of poverty and the 22nd highest unemployment rate.

Malvern, AR

Overall SnackAbility

4
/10

Population: 10,853
Rank Last Year: 19 (Up 12)
Median Income: $32,756 (10th lowest)
Unemployment Rate: 11.1% (4th highest)
Poverty Rate: 27.1% (16th highest)
More on Malvern:  Data | Photos

Malvern places as the seventh poorest city in Arkansas.

The city of over 10,853 ranks as having the 16th highest incidence of poverty in the state. However, it has a very low cost of living which helps to pay the bills each month.

Warren, AR

Overall SnackAbility

4
/10

Population: 5,704
Rank Last Year: 3 (Down 5)
Median Income: $33,237 (12th lowest)
Unemployment Rate: 8.5% (13th highest)
Poverty Rate: 30.3% (6th highest)
More on Warren:  Data | Photos

Warren ranks as the eighth poorest city in Arkansas.

The big issue for the town is the unemployment rate which ranks as the 13th highest in the state.

Newport, AR

Overall SnackAbility

4
/10

Population: 7,695
Rank Last Year: 2 (Down 7)
Median Income: $29,877 (3rd lowest)
Unemployment Rate: 7.3% (20th highest)
Poverty Rate: 30.1% (8th highest)
More on Newport:  Data | Photos

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

While the median income is the 3rd lowest, there are a substantial number of people that live below the poverty line. Overall, Newport ranks as having the 8th most people living in poverty of all the places we analyzed in Arkansas.

Forrest City, AR

Overall SnackAbility

2
/10

Population: 14,475
Rank Last Year: 9 (Down 1)
Median Income: $32,038 (7th lowest)
Unemployment Rate: 6.7% (24th highest)
Poverty Rate: 31.4% (4th highest)
More on Forrest City:  Data | Photos

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

The city of 14,475 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 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 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 2020". You can download the data here.

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

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: White Hall
    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 10,965 41.7%
2 Osceola 7,049 32.8%
3 Mena 5,597 32.8%
4 Pine Bluff 43,840 28.6%
5 West Memphis 25,009 27.8%
6 Camden 11,152 31.4%
7 Malvern 10,853 27.1%
8 Warren 5,704 30.3%
9 Newport 7,695 30.1%
10 Forrest City 14,475 31.4%
11 Magnolia 11,573 28.5%
12 Monticello 9,580 30.1%
13 Hot Springs 36,969 25.8%
14 Blytheville 14,298 27.2%
15 Crossett 5,075 27.3%
16 Hope 9,847 29.9%
17 Texarkana 30,104 24.7%
18 Russellville 29,244 21.3%
19 El Dorado 18,129 24.0%
20 Stuttgart 8,866 22.3%
21 Cherokee Village 5,067 20.0%
22 North Little Rock 66,282 23.9%
23 Walnut Ridge 5,125 19.3%
24 Pocahontas 6,506 21.7%
25 De Queen 6,612 28.2%
26 Arkadelphia 10,611 26.3%
27 Wynne 8,017 19.3%
28 Morrilton 6,640 24.4%
29 Harrison 13,069 21.3%
30 Fort Smith 87,639 23.2%
31 Clarksville 9,512 24.8%
32 Searcy 23,853 20.5%
33 Van Buren 23,296 20.4%
34 Fayetteville 83,736 23.9%
35 Jonesboro 74,710 20.4%
36 Heber Springs 7,047 17.7%
37 Jacksonville 28,588 17.6%
38 Paragould 28,296 18.0%
39 Siloam Springs 16,567 23.4%
40 Trumann 7,089 22.2%
41 Alma 5,688 18.1%
42 Berryville 5,421 9.5%
43 Beebe 8,055 13.0%
44 Greenbrier 5,370 20.7%
45 Batesville 10,642 17.4%
46 Conway 65,069 19.2%
47 Little Rock 198,135 17.4%
48 Springdale 78,690 16.7%
49 Marion 12,447 9.4%
50 Mountain Home 12,303 11.7%
51 Greenwood 9,357 10.5%
52 Cabot 26,176 12.3%
53 Sherwood 30,812 10.9%
54 Benton 34,873 8.9%
55 Rogers 64,947 10.6%
56 Prairie Grove 5,493 8.2%
57 Farmington 6,810 6.2%
58 Maumelle 18,053 6.6%
59 Pea Ridge 5,485 6.1%
60 Bryant 19,944 6.3%
61 Centerton 13,252 8.8%
62 Bentonville 46,857 7.5%
63 White Hall 5,158 6.9%
64 Lowell 8,926 5.0%

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