Poorest Cities In Florida For 2021


We used science and data to determine which places in Florida 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 2021. This is our seventh time ranking the poorest places in Florida.

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 220 places in Florida with more than 5,000 people.

Here are the ten poorest places in Florida for 2021:

  1. Belle Glade
  2. Opa-locka
  3. Pahokee
  4. Marianna
  5. Avon Park
  6. Sebring
  7. Palatka
  8. Florida City
  9. South Bay
  10. Starke

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 Florida? According to the facts, Belle Glade is the poorest place in Florida for 2021.

Rich people more your cup of tea? Feel free to check out the best 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.

If you're looking for something more national, check out the poorest states in America or the poorest cities in America.

For more Florida reading, check out:

The 10 Poorest Cities In Florida For 2021

1. Belle Glade

Belle Glade, FL

Source: Public domain
Overall SnackAbility

2
/10

Population: 19,654
Rank Last Year: 1 (No Change)
Median Income: $24,322 (3rd lowest)
Unemployment Rate: 14.9% (5th highest)
Poverty Rate: 41.1% (2nd highest)
More on Belle Glade:  Data | Photos

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

The city of 19,654 people averages the 3rd lowest median household income in Florida and the 2nd 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. Opa-Locka

Opa-Locka, FL

Overall SnackAbility

4
/10

Population: 16,149
Rank Last Year: 3 (Up 1)
Median Income: $21,523 (lowest)
Unemployment Rate: 12.6% (8th highest)
Poverty Rate: 41.2% (highest)
More on Opa-Locka:  Data | Photos

The second poorest city in Florida is Opa-locka.

The city ranks as having the highest incidence of poverty and lowest median household income. However, the unemployment rate 'only' ranks as the 8th highest in the Sunshine State.

3. Pahokee

Pahokee, FL

Source: Public domain
Overall SnackAbility

1
/10

Population: 6,269
Rank Last Year: 2 (Down 1)
Median Income: $27,095 (6th lowest)
Unemployment Rate: 26.3% (highest)
Poverty Rate: 37.8% (4th highest)
More on Pahokee:  Data | Photos

Placing as the third poorest city, Pahokee's median income ranks as the 6th 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 37.821612349914226% 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. Marianna

Marianna, FL

Overall SnackAbility

2
/10

Population: 6,923
Rank Last Year: 4 (No Change)
Median Income: $22,909 (2nd lowest)
Unemployment Rate: 10.7% (11th highest)
Poverty Rate: 37.8% (5th highest)
More on Marianna:  Data | Photos

Marianna ranks as the fourth poorest place in Florida.

The town ranks as having the 2nd 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. Avon Park

Avon Park, FL

Overall SnackAbility

5
/10

Population: 10,461
Rank Last Year: 7 (Up 2)
Median Income: $30,750 (10th lowest)
Unemployment Rate: 19.1% (2nd highest)
Poverty Rate: 33.6% (9th highest)
More on Avon Park:  Data | Photos

The fifth poorest city in Florida is Avon Park.

The city ranks as having the 10th 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 9th highest in Florida.

Still not the best news for Avon Park.

6. Sebring

Sebring, FL

Overall SnackAbility

2
/10

Population: 10,377
Rank Last Year: 9 (Up 3)
Median Income: $25,737 (4th lowest)
Unemployment Rate: 16.5% (3rd highest)
Poverty Rate: 29.1% (16th highest)
More on Sebring:  Data | Photos

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

It ranks as having the 16th highest incidence of poverty and the 3rd highest unemployment rate.

7. Palatka

Palatka, FL

Overall SnackAbility

1
/10

Population: 10,363
Rank Last Year: 5 (Down 2)
Median Income: $26,881 (5th lowest)
Unemployment Rate: 10.4% (12th highest)
Poverty Rate: 35.7% (7th highest)
More on Palatka:  Data | Photos

Palatka places as the seventh poorest city in Florida.

The city of over 10,363 ranks as having the 7th 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. Florida City

Florida City, FL

Overall SnackAbility

2
/10

Population: 11,928
Rank Last Year: 8 (No Change)
Median Income: $35,253 (19th lowest)
Unemployment Rate: 14.0% (6th highest)
Poverty Rate: 40.0% (3rd highest)
More on Florida City:  Data | Photos

Florida City ranks as the eighth poorest city in Florida.

The big issue for the town is the unemployment rate which ranks as the 6th highest in the state.

9. South Bay

South Bay, FL

Overall SnackAbility

3
/10

Population: 5,158
Rank Last Year: 10 (Up 1)
Median Income: $32,250 (13th lowest)
Unemployment Rate: 11.4% (10th highest)
Poverty Rate: 30.8% (12th highest)
More on South Bay:  Data | Photos

South Bay couldn't stay out of the top ten poorest places in Florida; 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, South Bay ranks as having the 12th most people living in poverty of all the places we analyzed in Florida.

10. Starke

Starke, FL

Overall SnackAbility

3
/10

Population: 5,393
Rank Last Year: 78 (Up 68)
Median Income: $32,177 (11th lowest)
Unemployment Rate: 8.8% (22nd highest)
Poverty Rate: 32.6% (10th highest)
More on Starke:  Data

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

The city of 5,393 people ranks in the bottom 20% for both median income and poverty rate in the Sunshine State.

How We Determined The Poorest Places In Florida for 2021

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 2015-2019 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 220 places with more than 5,000 people in Florida, we ranked each place from 1 to 220 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, Belle Glade, crowned the "Poorest Place In Florida For 2021". You can download the data here.

There You Have It - The Poorest Places In Florida For 2021

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: Longboat Key
    3rd Richest: Sanibel

For more Florida reading, check out:

Detailed List Of The Poorest Places To Live In Florida

Rank City Population Poverty Rate
1 Belle Glade 19,654 41.1%
2 Opa-Locka 16,149 41.2%
3 Pahokee 6,269 37.8%
4 Marianna 6,923 37.8%
5 Avon Park 10,461 33.6%
6 Sebring 10,377 29.1%
7 Palatka 10,363 35.7%
8 Florida City 11,928 40.0%
9 South Bay 5,158 30.8%
10 Starke 5,393 32.6%
11 Perry 6,896 31.9%
12 Inverness 7,281 22.2%
13 Lauderdale Lakes 35,606 22.5%
14 Fellsmere 5,625 17.7%
15 Leesburg 22,672 23.4%
16 Brooksville 8,191 20.4%
17 Holly Hill 12,147 26.3%
18 Fort Pierce 45,329 29.4%
19 Clewiston 7,781 20.9%
20 Lake City 12,063 22.2%
21 Arcadia 8,072 34.8%
22 Labelle 5,106 29.2%
23 South Pasadena 5,088 16.5%
24 Daytona Beach 67,604 24.3%
25 Lauderhill 71,625 20.9%
26 Tallahassee 191,279 26.4%
27 North Lauderdale 44,020 22.0%
28 Ocala 59,267 20.4%
29 New Port Richey 16,223 19.4%
30 Riviera Beach 34,702 21.9%
31 Palmetto 13,611 24.0%
32 Cocoa 18,285 20.0%
33 North Miami 62,489 20.4%
34 Miami Gardens 111,363 21.0%
35 Panama City 36,640 21.6%
36 Lake Worth 38,010 24.4%
37 Hallandale Beach 39,656 19.0%
38 Miami 454,279 23.4%
39 Homestead 68,438 23.8%
40 Lake Wales 16,035 18.1%
41 Dade City 7,121 24.2%
42 Gainesville 132,127 30.6%
43 Defuniak Springs 6,448 15.5%
44 North Miami Beach 42,971 18.3%
45 West Park 15,012 21.9%
46 Kissimmee 71,185 23.6%
47 Fort Meade 6,104 14.5%
48 Pembroke Park 6,677 23.6%
49 Wildwood 6,838 16.6%
50 Pompano Beach 110,062 19.2%
51 Sanford 59,700 19.1%
52 Quincy 7,334 36.4%
53 Dania Beach 32,008 17.7%
54 Okeechobee 5,724 18.0%
55 Titusville 45,932 16.3%
56 Hialeah 234,539 22.4%
57 Live Oak 6,890 13.6%
58 South Daytona 12,879 16.7%
59 Haines City 24,164 21.0%
60 Zephyrhills 15,573 18.2%
61 Oakland Park 44,699 17.9%
62 Lantana 11,695 16.0%
63 Springfield 9,319 25.0%
64 Deerfield Beach 80,312 16.1%
65 Eustis 20,700 19.2%
66 Tavares 16,752 11.0%
67 Lakeland 107,922 16.4%
68 Bradenton 56,551 15.5%
69 West Palm Beach 109,767 16.6%
70 Callaway 14,958 14.3%
71 Clearwater 115,159 15.4%
72 Mascotte 5,743 26.5%
73 Deland 32,413 16.5%
74 Fort Myers 79,927 16.8%
75 Mount Dora 13,897 17.5%
76 Winter Haven 41,248 17.6%
77 Tampa 387,916 18.6%
78 Crestview 24,117 13.1%
79 Casselberry 27,950 18.9%
80 Sweetwater 20,865 19.4%
81 Pensacola 52,642 17.4%
82 Fort Lauderdale 180,124 16.9%
83 Bartow 19,440 18.5%
84 South Miami 12,046 14.1%
85 Fruitland Park 7,848 14.7%
86 Largo 84,130 12.5%
87 Orlando 280,832 17.2%
88 Palm Springs 24,843 14.2%
89 Greenacres 40,529 13.8%
90 Tarpon Springs 25,176 12.3%
91 Lake Alfred 5,788 19.3%
92 Boynton Beach 76,832 13.8%
93 Margate 58,023 12.4%
94 Palm Bay 111,997 13.0%
95 Lady Lake 15,426 14.1%
96 Jacksonville 890,467 14.9%
97 Hollywood 152,511 12.6%
98 Port Orange 62,726 14.9%
99 Melbourne 81,468 16.0%
100 Pinellas Park 52,857 13.7%

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