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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 63 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 2022.
For more on how we calculated the top ten, and for more information about these places, read on.
For more Arkansas reading, check out:
- Best Places To Live In Arkansas
- Cheapest Places To Live In Arkansas
- Most Dangerous Places in Arkansas
The 10 Poorest Cities In Arkansas For 2022
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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:
2nd Richest: Farmington
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
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