These Are The 10 Poorest Cities In Idaho For 2019


We analyzed the cities and towns in Idaho to determine which ones are at the bottom of the income ladder.

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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 2019. This is our fourth time ranking the poorest places in Idaho.

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

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

To do so, we analyzed the newest Census data from the American Community Survey for the 33 places in Idaho with more than 5,000 people.

We were left with this set of the ten poorest places in the Gem State for 2019:

  1. Rexburg (Photos)
  2. Moscow (Photos)
  3. Emmett (Photos)
  4. Weiser (Photos)
  5. Pocatello (Photos)
  6. Caldwell (Photos)
  7. Nampa (Photos)
  8. Sandpoint (Photos)
  9. Rupert (Photos)
  10. Middleton (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, Rexburg is the poorest place in Idaho for 2019.

Rich people not your cup of tea? Feel free to check out the richest places in Idaho 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 Idaho reading, check out:

How We Determined The Poorest Places In Idaho for 2019

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 2013-2017 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 33 places with more than 5,000 people in Idaho, we ranked each place from 1 to 33 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, Rexburg, crowned the “Poorest Place In Idaho For 2019”.

You can learn more about the top ten below or skip to the end to see the rankings for all 33 places.

Rexburg, ID

Source: Public domain
Overall SnackAbility

8
/10

Population: 27,369
Rank Last Year: 1 (No Change)
Median Income: $26,341 (1st lowest)
Unemployment Rate: 10.5% (1st highest)
Poverty Rate: 41.6% (1st highest)
More on Rexburg:  Data | Photos

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

The city of 27,369 people averages the 1st lowest median household income in Idaho 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.

Moscow, ID

Overall SnackAbility

8
/10

Population: 24,833
Rank Last Year: 3 (Up 1)
Median Income: $35,979 (5th lowest)
Unemployment Rate: 8.6% (4th highest)
Poverty Rate: 29.9% (2nd highest)
More on Moscow:  Data | Photos

The second poorest city in Idaho is Moscow.

The city ranks as having the 2nd highest incidence of poverty and 5th lowest median household income. However, the unemployment rate ‘only’ ranks as the 4th highest in the Gem State.

Emmett, ID

Source: Public domain
Overall SnackAbility

4
/10

Population: 6,593
Rank Last Year: 2 (Down 1)
Median Income: $35,465 (3rd lowest)
Unemployment Rate: 7.2% (6th highest)
Poverty Rate: 24.8% (4th highest)
More on Emmett:  Data | Photos

Placing as the third poorest city, Emmett’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 24.8% 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 Gem State.

Weiser, ID

Overall SnackAbility

5
/10

Population: 5,325
Rank Last Year: 4 (No Change)
Median Income: $30,919 (2nd lowest)
Unemployment Rate: 9.8% (2nd highest)
Poverty Rate: 17.7% (12th highest)
More on Weiser:  Data | Photos

Weiser ranks as the fourth poorest place in Idaho.

The town ranks as having the 2nd lowest median household income and the 12th 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.

Pocatello, ID

Source: Public domain
Overall SnackAbility

6
/10

Population: 54,658
Rank Last Year: 9 (Up 4)
Median Income: $42,979 (10th lowest)
Unemployment Rate: 6.5% (9th highest)
Poverty Rate: 20.2% (7th highest)
More on Pocatello:  Data | Photos

The fifth poorest city in Idaho is Pocatello.

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 7th highest in Idaho.

Still not the best news for Pocatello.

Caldwell, ID

Source: Public domain
Overall SnackAbility

5
/10

Population: 51,634
Rank Last Year: 7 (Up 2)
Median Income: $43,269 (13th lowest)
Unemployment Rate: 8.9% (3rd highest)
Poverty Rate: 19.3% (10th highest)
More on Caldwell:  Data | Photos

Caldwell ranks as the sixth poorest place in the Gem State.

It ranks as having the 10th highest incidence of poverty and the 3rd highest unemployment rate.

Nampa, ID

Source: Public domain
Overall SnackAbility

5
/10

Population: 89,576
Rank Last Year: 5 (Down 2)
Median Income: $43,058 (12th lowest)
Unemployment Rate: 7.1% (8th highest)
Poverty Rate: 20.0% (8th highest)
More on Nampa:  Data | Photos

Nampa places as the seventh poorest city in Idaho.

The city of over 89,576 ranks as having the 8th highest incidence of poverty in the state. However, it has a very low cost of living which helps to pay the bills each month.

Sandpoint, ID

Overall SnackAbility

6
/10

Population: 7,918
Rank Last Year: 11 (Up 3)
Median Income: $36,706 (6th lowest)
Unemployment Rate: 3.4% (24th highest)
Poverty Rate: 21.1% (5th highest)
More on Sandpoint:  Data | Photos

Sandpoint ranks as the eighth poorest city in Idaho.

The big issue for the town is the unemployment rate which ranks as the 23rd highest in the state.

Rupert, ID

Overall SnackAbility

5
/10

Population: 5,738
Rank Last Year: 6 (Down 3)
Median Income: $35,510 (4th lowest)
Unemployment Rate: 3.0% (28th highest)
Poverty Rate: 27.7% (3rd highest)
More on Rupert:  Data | Photos

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

While the median income is the 4th lowest, there are a substantial number of people that live below the poverty line. Overall, Rupert ranks as having the 3rd most people living in poverty of all the places we analyzed in Idaho.

Middleton, ID

Overall SnackAbility

5
/10

Population: 6,716
Rank Last Year: 18 (Up 8)
Median Income: $43,462 (14th lowest)
Unemployment Rate: 6.0% (10th highest)
Poverty Rate: 17.2% (14th highest)
More on Middleton:  Data | Photos

And rounding out the top ten poorest cities in Idaho is Middleton.

The city of 6,716 people ranks in the bottom 20% for both median income and poverty rate in the Gem State.

There You Have It – The Poorest Places In Idaho For 2019

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

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 Idaho, according to data:

    Richest: Kuna
    2nd Richest: Eagle
    3rd Richest: Star

For more Idaho reading, check out:

Detailed List Of The Poorest Places To Live In Idaho

Rank City Population Poverty Rate
1 Rexburg 27,369 41.6%
2 Moscow 24,833 29.9%
3 Emmett 6,593 24.8%
4 Weiser 5,325 17.7%
5 Pocatello 54,658 20.2%
6 Caldwell 51,634 19.3%
7 Nampa 89,576 20.0%
8 Sandpoint 7,918 21.1%
9 Rupert 5,738 27.7%
10 Middleton 6,716 17.2%
11 Burley 10,336 20.6%
12 Coeur D’alene 48,618 15.5%
13 Blackfoot 11,850 18.2%
14 Mountain Home 13,867 16.5%
15 Jerome 11,306 19.9%
16 Payette 7,366 17.3%
17 Garden City 11,637 14.6%
18 Twin Falls 47,340 15.7%
19 Hailey 8,097 17.0%
20 Idaho Falls 59,414 14.8%
21 Rathdrum 7,592 13.7%
22 Fruitland 5,062 16.9%
23 Lewiston 32,482 14.4%
24 Boise City 220,859 14.0%
25 Preston 5,268 13.2%
26 Post Falls 30,886 14.1%
27 Chubbuck 14,470 11.9%
28 Hayden 14,096 4.9%
29 Ammon 14,998 5.7%
30 Meridian 91,917 9.8%
31 Star 7,832 9.0%
32 Eagle 23,708 6.8%
33 Kuna 17,590 6.4%

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