These Are The 10 Poorest Cities In Colorado For 2018

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

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Colorado brings to mind images of Denver, beautiful landscapes, and some of the best people you’ll find in the good ole US of A.

However, like all states, Colorado 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 Colorado that could use a helping hand.

To do so, we analyzed the newest Census data from the American Community Survey for the 75 places in Colorado with more than 5,000 people.

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

  1. Alamosa (Photos)
  2. Gunnison (Photos)
  3. Pueblo (Photos)
  4. Lamar (Photos)
  5. La Junta (Photos)
  6. Sheridan (Photos)
  7. Edgewater (Photos)
  8. Sterling (Photos)
  9. Montrose (Photos)
  10. Delta (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, Alamosa is the poorest place in Colorado for 2018.

Rich people not your cup of tea? Feel free to check out the richest places in Colorado or the most dangerous.

For more on how we calculated the top ten, and for more information about these places, read on.

How We Determined The Poorest Places In Colorado 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 75 places with more than 5,000 people in Colorado, we ranked each place from 1 to 75 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, Alamosa, crowned the ‘Poorest Place In Colorado For 2018’.

You can learn more about the top ten below or skip to the end to see the rankings for all 75 places.

1. Alamosa

Alamosa, Colorado

Population: 9,671
Median Income: $28,167
Unemployment Rate: 9.7%
Poverty Rate: 39.6%
More on Alamosa: Add A Comment | Data | Jobs

Alamosa, unfortunately, ranks as the poorest place in Colorado thanks to combination of low pay and and a lack of jobs.

The city of 9,671 people averages the 1st lowest median household income in Colorado 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.

User comment that mentions Alamosa: I live in Alamosa and I agree with this video completely……..

Your comment could be here. Add a comment on a city or town.

2. Gunnison

Gunnison, Colorado

Population: 6,086
Median Income: $36,094
Unemployment Rate: 11.9%
Poverty Rate: 29.0%
More on Gunnison: Add A Comment | Data | Jobs

The second poorest city in Colorado is Gunnison.

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 Centennial State.

3. Pueblo

Pueblo, Colorado

Population: 108,385
Median Income: $35,770
Unemployment Rate: 10.8%
Poverty Rate: 25.1%
More on Pueblo: Add A Comment | Data | Jobs

Placing as the third poorest city, Pueblo’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 25.1% 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 Centennial State.

User comment that mentions Pueblo: My family lived in Pueblo for over 10 years. I don’t think I’d move back, after moving to Grand Junction, however it was a wonderful place to live! Sometimes stats are just numbers on paper and don’t represent the true character of the place. Especially true of Grand Junction!

Your comment could be here. Add a comment on a city or town.

4. Lamar

Lamar, Colorado

Source: Public domain

Population: 7,662
Median Income: $37,177
Unemployment Rate: 12.4%
Poverty Rate: 23.1%
More on Lamar: Add A Comment | Data | Jobs

Lamar ranks as the fourth poorest place in Colorado.

The town ranks as having the 7th lowest median household income and the 5th 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. La Junta

La Junta, Colorado

Source: Public domain

Population: 6,978
Median Income: $31,999
Unemployment Rate: 8.2%
Poverty Rate: 25.7%
More on La Junta: Add A Comment | Data | Jobs

The fifth poorest city in Colorado is La Junta.

The city ranks as having the 2nd 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 Colorado.

Still not the best news for La Junta.

User comment that mentions La Junta: Unfortunately Mr. James is quite correct about the situation here in La Junta. The crony cabal has undermined virtually all the systems here, including those that normally stabilize a community. The schools have had several consolidations and closures and the college is struggling. And speaking up here to try to help is dangerous as it is not uncommon for such people to be driven out of their jobs or be followed around town by the authorities. ||Usually the attitude is to not pay attention to the problems, cover them up, or pretend somehow sports are going to solve it all…yeah right. And now there have been several high profile incidents with the valley cops which have given the place a internationally bad reputation. ||There are some good people here but without local reforms they will either have to go or find life here intolerable.

Your comment could be here. Add a comment on a city or town.

6. Sheridan

Sheridan, Colorado

Population: 5,965
Median Income: $43,679
Unemployment Rate: 10.0%
Poverty Rate: 21.7%
More on Sheridan: Add A Comment | Data | Jobs

Sheridan ranks as the sixth poorest place in the Centennial State.

It ranks as having the 8th highest incidence of poverty and the 6th highest unemployment rate.

7. Edgewater

Edgewater, Colorado

Population: 5,278
Median Income: $44,046
Unemployment Rate: 12.9%
Poverty Rate: 19.3%
More on Edgewater: Add A Comment | Data | Jobs

Edgewater places as the seventh poorest city in Colorado.

The city of over 5,278 ranks as having the 13th 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. Sterling

Sterling, Colorado

Source: Public domain

Population: 13,976
Median Income: $36,282
Unemployment Rate: 8.7%
Poverty Rate: 20.4%
More on Sterling: Add A Comment | Data | Jobs

Sterling ranks as the eighth poorest city in Colorado.

The big issue for the town is the unemployment rate which ranks as the 12th highest in the state.

9. Montrose

Montrose, Colorado

Population: 19,016
Median Income: $41,547
Unemployment Rate: 9.5%
Poverty Rate: 20.9%
More on Montrose: Add A Comment | Data | Jobs

Montrose couldn’t stay out of the top ten poorest places in Colorado; it ranks number 9.

While the median income is the 13th lowest, there are a substantial number of people that live below the poverty line. Overall, Montrose ranks as having the 10th most people living in poverty of all the places we analyzed in Colorado.

User comment that mentions Montrose: so glad you hate the small towns ‘without anything to do’ like Delta and Montrose ||let the wholesome living alone and we can do without the influx of city dwellers, not too many wholesome places left that aren’t ruined by people like you and your attitude.

Your comment could be here. Add a comment on a city or town.

10. Delta

Delta, Colorado

Source: Public domain

Population: 8,813
Median Income: $37,159
Unemployment Rate: 8.7%
Poverty Rate: 17.4%
More on Delta: Add A Comment | Data | Jobs

And rounding out the top ten poorest cities in Colorado is Delta.

The city of 8,813 people ranks in the bottom 20% for both median income and poverty rate in the Centennial State.

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

Like we said earlier, when we set out to identify the poorest places in Colorado, we weren’t sure what we’d encounter, but it ended up being some of the best places to live in Colorado.

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 Colorado, according to data:

Richest: Castle Pines
2nd Richest: Cherry Hills Village
3rd Richest: Erie

For more Colorado reading , check out:

  • 10 Most Dangerous Cities In Colorado
  • 10 Best Places To Live In Colorado
  • 10 Safest Places In Colorado
  • Detailed List Of The Poorest Cities In Colorado

    Rank City Poverty Rate
    1 Alamosa 39.6%
    2 Gunnison 29.0%
    3 Pueblo 25.1%
    4 Lamar 23.1%
    5 La Junta 25.7%
    6 Sheridan 21.7%
    7 Edgewater 19.3%
    8 Sterling 20.4%
    9 Montrose 20.9%
    10 Delta 17.4%
    11 Grand Junction 18.9%
    12 Cortez 21.4%
    13 Trinidad 15.3%
    14 Greeley 19.0%
    15 Brush 12.5%
    16 Fruita 17.7%
    17 Federal Heights 20.7%
    18 Englewood 17.7%
    19 Rifle 14.7%
    20 Manitou Springs 14.3%
    21 Aurora 14.7%
    22 Fort Collins 17.8%
    23 Colorado Springs 12.8%
    24 Boulder 22.0%
    25 Fort Morgan 10.4%
    26 Fort Lupton 11.1%
    27 Lochbuie 22.5%
    28 Wheat Ridge 12.1%
    29 Glenwood Springs 16.1%
    30 Denver 16.4%
    31 Longmont 13.2%
    32 Evans 13.5%
    33 Golden 18.2%
    34 Northglenn 12.0%
    35 Craig 12.5%
    36 Fountain 8.1%
    37 Durango 12.7%
    38 Lakewood 11.6%
    39 Commerce City 13.4%
    40 Steamboat Springs 10.2%
    41 Salida 10.6%
    42 Woodland Park 7.6%
    43 Estes Park 12.6%
    44 Loveland 9.4%
    45 Berthoud 7.1%
    46 Westminster 8.6%
    47 Aspen 8.4%
    48 Brighton 10.7%
    49 Littleton 8.9%
    50 Avon 11.3%
    51 Carbondale 9.6%
    52 Arvada 7.1%
    53 Lafayette 8.2%
    54 Thornton 8.2%
    55 Firestone 4.1%
    56 Broomfield 5.9%
    57 Windsor 6.2%
    58 Gypsum 8.1%
    59 Monument 3.4%
    60 Louisville 5.4%
    61 John 1.4%
    62 Centennial 4.1%
    63 Vail 6.1%
    64 Milliken 5.9%
    65 Castle Rock 4.6%
    66 Parker 4.8%
    67 Lone Tree 4.5%
    68 Superior 4.1%
    69 Frederick 3.4%
    70 Eagle 6.6%
    71 Wellington 2.4%
    72 Greenwood Village 4.6%
    73 Erie 4.4%
    74 Cherry Hills Village 2.5%
    75 Castle Pines 1.6%

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