These Are The 10 Poorest Cities In Arkansas For 2018

We used science and data to determine which places in Arkansas are basically dead broke.

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

We were left with this set of the ten poorest places in the Natural State for 2018:

  1. Helena-West Helena (Photos)
  2. Osceola (Photos)
  3. Monticello (Photos)
  4. Hope (Photos)
  5. Newport (Photos)
  6. Camden (Photos)
  7. Warren (Photos)
  8. Pine Bluff (Photos)
  9. West Memphis (Photos)
  10. Forrest City (Photos)

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.

And according to the facts, Helena-West Helena is the poorest place in Arkansas for 2018.

Rich people not 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.

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How We Determined The Poorest Places In Arkansas For 2018

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 2012-2016 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 61 places with more than 5,000 people in Arkansas, we ranked each place from 1 to 61 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 2018”.

You can learn more about the top ten below or skip to the end to see the rankings for all 61 places.

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1. Helena-West Helena

Helena-West Helena, Arkansas

Source: Wikipedia

Population: 11,325
Median Income: $21,653
Unemployment Rate: 20.6%
Poverty Rate: 42.8%
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 11,325 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.

2. Osceola

Osceola, Arkansas

Source: Wikipedia

Population: 7,315
Median Income: $26,031
Unemployment Rate: 19.1%
Poverty Rate: 39.0%
The second poorest city in Arkansas is Osceola.

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

3. Monticello

Monticello, Arkansas

Source: Wikipedia

Population: 9,752
Median Income: $28,615
Unemployment Rate: 17.6%
Poverty Rate: 36.3%
Placing as the third poorest city, Monticello’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 36.3% 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. Hope

Hope, Arkansas

Source: Wikipedia

Population: 9,968
Median Income: $27,000
Unemployment Rate: 11.4%
Poverty Rate: 34.1%
Hope ranks as the fourth poorest place in Arkansas.

The town ranks as having the 5th lowest median household income and the 6th 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. Newport

Newport, Arkansas

Source: Wikipedia

Population: 7,781
Median Income: $26,853
Unemployment Rate: 10.8%
Poverty Rate: 37.3%
The fifth poorest city in Arkansas is Newport.

The city ranks as having the 4th 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 3rd highest in Arkansas.

Still not the best news for Newport.

6. Camden

Camden, Arkansas

Source: Wikipedia

Population: 11,515
Median Income: $25,581
Unemployment Rate: 10.1%
Poverty Rate: 34.0%
Camden ranks as the sixth poorest place in the Natural State.

It ranks as having the 7th highest incidence of poverty and the 13th highest unemployment rate.

7. Warren

Warren, Arkansas

Source: Wikipedia

Population: 5,804
Median Income: $27,753
Unemployment Rate: 11.2%
Poverty Rate: 32.3%
Warren places as the seventh poorest city in Arkansas.

The city of over 5,804 ranks as having the 9th 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, Arkansas

Source: Wikipedia

Population: 45,404
Median Income: $30,942
Unemployment Rate: 12.6%
Poverty Rate: 32.5%
Pine Bluff ranks as the eighth poorest city in Arkansas.

The big issue for the town is the unemployment rate which ranks as the 5th highest in the state.

9. West Memphis

West Memphis, Arkansas

Source: Wikipedia

Population: 25,411
Median Income: $30,632
Unemployment Rate: 11.4%
Poverty Rate: 31.3%
West Memphis couldn’t stay out of the top ten poorest places in Arkansas; it ranks number 9.

While the median income is the 12th lowest, there are a substantial number of people that live below the poverty line. Overall, West Memphis ranks as having the 10th most people living in poverty of all the places we analyzed in Arkansas.

10. Forrest City

Forrest City, Arkansas

Source: Wikipedia

Population: 14,871
Median Income: $33,250
Unemployment Rate: 11.4%
Poverty Rate: 30.1%
And rounding out the top ten poorest cities in Arkansas is Forrest City.

The city of 14,871 people ranks in the bottom 20% for both median income and poverty rate in the Natural State.

There You Have It – The Poorest Places In Arkansas For 2018

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: Centerton
2nd Richest: Maumelle
3rd Richest: Bryant

For more Arkansas reading , check out:

  • These Are The 10 Most Dangerous Places in Arkansas
  • These Are The 10 Best Places To Live In Arkansas According To Science
  • These Are The 10 Dumbest Places In Arkansas
  • Detailed List Of The Poorest Cities In Arkansas

    City Rank Poverty Rate
    Helena-West Helena 1 42.8%
    Osceola 2 39.0%
    Monticello 3 36.3%
    Hope 4 34.1%
    Newport 5 37.3%
    Camden 6 34.0%
    Warren 7 32.3%
    Pine Bluff 8 32.5%
    West Memphis 9 31.3%
    Forrest City 10 30.1%
    Hot Springs 11 27.9%
    Crossett 12 22.8%
    Arkadelphia 13 34.5%
    Morrilton 14 30.0%
    Malvern 15 28.4%
    Mena 16 27.9%
    El Dorado 17 27.5%
    Magnolia 18 28.9%
    Blytheville 19 26.4%
    Russellville 20 25.3%
    Harrison 21 23.8%
    North Little Rock 22 26.6%
    Stuttgart 23 21.0%
    Clarksville 24 24.1%
    Texarkana 25 22.7%
    Wynne 26 21.9%
    De Queen 27 30.1%
    Heber Springs 28 22.9%
    Fort Smith 29 26.1%
    Trumann 30 24.6%
    Alma 31 23.2%
    Beebe 32 20.4%
    Berryville 33 20.3%
    Van Buren 34 21.7%
    Fayetteville 35 24.9%
    Paragould 36 18.6%
    Jonesboro 37 21.6%
    Jacksonville 38 17.4%
    Searcy 39 19.9%
    Springdale 40 20.6%
    Batesville 41 15.1%
    Little Rock 42 18.5%
    Pocahontas 43 17.1%
    Siloam Springs 44 22.3%
    Mountain Home 45 12.8%
    Conway 46 18.8%
    Greenbrier 47 20.5%
    Cabot 48 12.8%
    Pea Ridge 49 15.2%
    Farmington 50 7.2%
    Sherwood 51 12.5%
    Rogers 52 13.4%
    Marion 53 10.5%
    Greenwood 54 10.8%
    Benton 55 9.3%
    Lowell 56 10.7%
    White Hall 57 8.3%
    Bentonville 58 7.8%
    Bryant 59 4.8%
    Maumelle 60 6.0%
    Centerton 61 6.9%

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