These Are The 10 Poorest Cities In Florida For 2018


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

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

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

To do so, we analyzed the newest Census data from the American Community Survey for the 217 places in Florida with more than 5,000 people.

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

  1. Florida City (Photos)
  2. Marianna (Photos)
  3. Avon Park (Photos)
  4. Belle Glade (Photos)
  5. Palatka (Photos)
  6. Fellsmere (Photos)
  7. Pahokee (Photos)
  8. South Bay (Photos)
  9. Fort Pierce (Photos)
  10. Sebring (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, Florida City is the poorest place in Florida for 2018.

Rich people not your cup of tea? Feel free to check out the richest places in Florida 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 Florida 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 217 places with more than 5,000 people in Florida, we ranked each place from 1 to 217 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, Florida City, crowned the ‘Poorest Place In Florida For 2018’.

You can learn more about the top ten below or skip to the end to see the rankings for all 217 places.

1. Florida City

Florida City, Florida

Population: 12,076
Median Income: $26,828
Unemployment Rate: 24.1%
Poverty Rate: 48.1%
More on Florida City: Add A Comment | Data | Jobs

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

The city of 12,076 people averages the 8th lowest median household income in Florida 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 Florida City: This is the most false, ignorant list I have ever seen in my 22 years of life. Drive by shooting in NPR – No, try Port Richey, which still is just some dumb kids with guns. Crime is nonexistent unless you mean property crime, in which it’s still towards the very bottom. I lived there for 15 years, I would know. 99% of the cities on the list have nothing wrong with them except what every other american city has. Ignorance and more ignorance. The only city that deserves to be here is Florida City.

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

2. Marianna

Marianna, Florida

Population: 9,157
Median Income: $24,193
Unemployment Rate: 18.4%
Poverty Rate: 35.1%
More on Marianna: Add A Comment | Data | Jobs

The second poorest city in Florida is Marianna.

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 3rd highest in the Sunshine State.

3. Avon Park

Avon Park, Florida

Population: 10,052
Median Income: $27,793
Unemployment Rate: 17.5%
Poverty Rate: 38.8%
More on Avon Park: Add A Comment | Data | Jobs

Placing as the third poorest city, Avon Park’s median income ranks as the 11th 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 38.8% 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 Sunshine State.

4. Belle Glade

Belle Glade, Florida

Source: Public domain

Population: 18,855
Median Income: $26,859
Unemployment Rate: 15.5%
Poverty Rate: 37.4%
More on Belle Glade: Add A Comment | Data | Jobs

Belle Glade ranks as the fourth poorest place in Florida.

The town ranks as having the 9th 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.

User comment that mentions Belle Glade: With Belle Glade at 96 and Interlachen not even on the list, I place no validity on this… two worst places in FL hands down and I have lived here my whole life

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

5. Palatka

Palatka, Florida

Population: 10,407
Median Income: $21,988
Unemployment Rate: 13.2%
Poverty Rate: 42.8%
More on Palatka: Add A Comment | Data | Jobs

The fifth poorest city in Florida is Palatka.

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 4th highest in Florida.

Still not the best news for Palatka.

User comment that mentions Palatka: He’s right I live in Palatka if god wanted to give the world a enema Palatka is where he stick the tube

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

6. Fellsmere

Fellsmere, Florida

Population: 5,424
Median Income: $26,053
Unemployment Rate: 13.4%
Poverty Rate: 42.9%
More on Fellsmere: Add A Comment | Data | Jobs

Fellsmere ranks as the sixth poorest place in the Sunshine State.

It ranks as having the 3rd highest incidence of poverty and the 17th highest unemployment rate.

7. Pahokee

Pahokee, Florida

Source: Public domain

Population: 6,022
Median Income: $27,907
Unemployment Rate: 27.1%
Poverty Rate: 32.3%
More on Pahokee: Add A Comment | Data | Jobs

Pahokee places as the seventh poorest city in Florida.

The city of over 6,022 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. South Bay

South Bay, Florida

Population: 5,026
Median Income: $29,405
Unemployment Rate: 17.0%
Poverty Rate: 34.8%
More on South Bay: Add A Comment | Data | Jobs

South Bay ranks as the eighth poorest city in Florida.

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

9. Fort Pierce

Fort Pierce, Florida

Population: 43,883
Median Income: $26,506
Unemployment Rate: 12.9%
Poverty Rate: 35.5%
More on Fort Pierce: Add A Comment | Data | Jobs

Fort Pierce couldn’t stay out of the top ten poorest places in Florida; it ranks number 9.

While the median income is the 7th lowest, there are a substantial number of people that live below the poverty line. Overall, Fort Pierce ranks as having the 8th most people living in poverty of all the places we analyzed in Florida.

User comment that mentions Fort Pierce: We love Fort Pierce! The crime is localized in certain parts of town like any other American city. You have great beaches, folksy people and great culture. The sunrise theatre is a real gem. The Saturday markets are great! The Friday night festivals. ||||You have a small town feel without all the stress and traffic of bigger cities.||||We also love the parish community of St. Anastasia.

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

10. Sebring

Sebring, Florida

Population: 10,423
Median Income: $25,963
Unemployment Rate: 15.5%
Poverty Rate: 27.2%
More on Sebring: Add A Comment | Data | Jobs

And rounding out the top ten poorest cities in Florida is Sebring.

The city of 10,423 people ranks in the bottom 20% for both median income and poverty rate in the Sunshine State.

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

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

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 Florida, according to data:

Richest: Palm Beach
2nd Richest: Belle Isle
3rd Richest: Pinecrest

For more Florida reading , check out:

  • 10 Worst Places To Live In Florida
  • 10 Most Ghetto Cities In Florida
  • 10 Safest Places In Florida
  • Detailed List Of The Poorest Cities In Florida

    Rank City Poverty Rate
    1 Florida City 48.1%
    2 Marianna 35.1%
    3 Avon Park 38.8%
    4 Belle Glade 37.4%
    5 Palatka 42.8%
    6 Fellsmere 42.9%
    7 Pahokee 32.3%
    8 South Bay 34.8%
    9 Fort Pierce 35.5%
    10 Sebring 27.2%
    11 Live Oak 33.1%
    12 Inverness 30.2%
    13 Opa-Locka 44.9%
    14 Cocoa 26.8%
    15 Lauderdale Lakes 25.3%
    16 Lake City 27.5%
    17 Arcadia 36.6%
    18 Perry 24.2%
    19 Lake Wales 24.0%
    20 Holly Hill 26.9%
    21 Quincy 29.8%
    22 Leesburg 21.6%
    23 Daytona Beach 28.3%
    24 Defuniak Springs 22.7%
    25 Lauderhill 23.7%
    26 Lake Worth 28.7%
    27 Miami Gardens 23.4%
    28 North Miami 24.2%
    29 Brooksville 20.7%
    30 Palm Springs 22.6%
    31 Miami 27.6%
    32 Tallahassee 28.4%
    33 Hialeah 26.2%
    34 Homestead 28.6%
    35 Zephyrhills 19.1%
    36 New Port Richey 22.0%
    37 Lake Alfred 26.0%
    38 North Miami Beach 22.2%
    39 West Park 21.2%
    40 Riviera Beach 23.6%
    41 Gainesville 34.8%
    42 Sanford 22.2%
    43 Hallandale Beach 21.5%
    44 Ocala 21.5%
    45 Panama City 22.0%
    46 South Daytona 19.5%
    47 Winter Haven 18.7%
    48 Kissimmee 24.7%
    49 Deland 21.3%
    50 Vero Beach 19.9%
    51 Fort Myers 22.6%
    52 Dania Beach 22.5%
    53 Pompano Beach 21.2%
    54 Eustis 25.5%
    55 Okeechobee 27.4%
    56 Fort Meade 17.3%
    57 Lantana 22.4%
    58 Haines City 29.5%
    59 North Lauderdale 22.4%
    60 South Pasadena 11.0%
    61 Sweetwater 25.1%
    62 Greenacres 18.0%
    63 Lakeland 18.1%
    64 Titusville 17.4%
    65 Deerfield Beach 18.1%
    66 Tampa 21.2%
    67 Casselberry 15.1%
    68 Stuart 17.9%
    69 Oakland Park 18.6%
    70 Palm Bay 18.0%
    71 Pembroke Park 23.8%
    72 Melbourne 17.5%
    73 Tarpon Springs 14.2%
    74 Lake Park 21.6%
    75 Orange City 18.9%
    76 Springfield 25.4%
    77 Dade City 25.0%
    78 Sarasota 19.6%
    79 Boynton Beach 16.0%
    80 Bradenton 17.3%
    81 Largo 15.7%
    82 Plant City 14.5%
    83 Auburndale 16.8%
    84 Orlando 19.9%
    85 Tavares 12.9%
    86 Deltona 16.2%
    87 West Palm Beach 19.0%
    88 Milton 14.9%
    89 Sebastian 13.3%
    90 Pensacola 16.9%
    91 Fort Lauderdale 19.5%
    92 Wildwood 16.9%
    93 Bartow 20.7%
    94 Lady Lake 14.6%
    95 Indian Harbour Beach 13.0%
    96 Delray Beach 17.2%
    97 Jacksonville 17.0%
    98 Margate 12.3%
    99 Palmetto 19.2%
    100 Starke 21.0%

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