These Are The 10 Poorest Cities In Idaho For 2018

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

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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 32 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 2018:

  1. Rexburg (Photos)
  2. Emmett (Photos)
  3. Moscow (Photos)
  4. Weiser (Photos)
  5. Nampa (Photos)
  6. Rupert (Photos)
  7. Caldwell (Photos)
  8. Payette (Photos)
  9. Pocatello (Photos)
  10. Garden 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, Rexburg is the poorest place in Idaho for 2018.

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.

How We Determined The Poorest Places In Idaho 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 32 places with more than 5,000 people in Idaho, we ranked each place from 1 to 32 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 2018’.

You can learn more about the top ten below or skip to the end to see the rankings for all 32 places.

1. Rexburg

Rexburg, Idaho

Source: Public domain

Population: 27,114
Median Income: $26,445
Unemployment Rate: 10.8%
Poverty Rate: 43.2%
More on Rexburg: Add A Comment | Data | Jobs

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

The city of 27,114 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.

User comment that mentions Rexburg: I live in oregon 20+ years. Don’t like the politics. Have lived in Utah, Calif.10+ years and AZ 10 years. Two kids graduated from byui in rexburg. Two now attending. Seriously considering retirement here in Idaho. Truly hope I can find one of those quiet, peaceful places to live ; one where people love God, their country, their communities, their families. No clue where, but my wife and I need a change, and my kids have all left OR. Scary – been in the same house 20 years. Hope I can find a place to fit in. I actually appreciate all the comments; I find them useful.

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2. Emmett

Emmett, Idaho

Source: Public domain

Population: 6,590
Median Income: $30,331
Unemployment Rate: 13.0%
Poverty Rate: 29.9%
More on Emmett: Add A Comment | Data | Jobs

The second poorest city in Idaho is Emmett.

The city ranks as having the 2nd highest incidence of poverty and 2nd lowest median household income. However, the unemployment rate ‘only’ ranks as the 1st highest in the Gem State.

3. Moscow

Moscow, Idaho

Population: 24,855
Median Income: $34,784
Unemployment Rate: 9.3%
Poverty Rate: 29.9%
More on Moscow: Add A Comment | Data | Jobs

Placing as the third poorest city, Moscow’s median income ranks as the 5th 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 29.9% 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.

User comment that mentions Moscow: I was born in Napma, raised on a farm in Homedale, went to school in Marsing, graduated from Weiser and then moved to Moscow. I kind of agree with the article, which does state it is opinion based! I certainly prefer northern Idaho to southern for sure. I definitely feel safer in norther Idaho than southern, people are more friendly too. Collage kids work at McDonalds, not the usual meth-head that you will find in the Treasure Valley! At least they have a job, though… 😉

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4. Weiser

Weiser, Idaho

Population: 5,350
Median Income: $31,343
Unemployment Rate: 8.1%
Poverty Rate: 19.1%
More on Weiser: Add A Comment | Data | Jobs

Weiser ranks as the fourth poorest place in Idaho.

The town ranks as having the 3rd lowest median household income and the 13th 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 Weiser: I take exception to your definition of redneck I will take the popular definition you know like Jeff Foxworthy The Dukes of Hazzard and in that context I am proud to be a redneck from Weiser

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5. Nampa

Nampa, Idaho

Source: Public domain

Population: 87,896
Median Income: $41,210
Unemployment Rate: 7.8%
Poverty Rate: 22.4%
More on Nampa: Add A Comment | Data | Jobs

The fifth poorest city in Idaho is Nampa.

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 6th highest in Idaho.

Still not the best news for Nampa.

User comment that mentions Nampa: This is ridiculous! Idaho is very safe overall..what on earth were you looking at- And how can Caldwell be so far down the list- Where is Nampa- Must not have been counting actual shootings in your statistics.

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6. Rupert

Rupert, Idaho

Population: 5,702
Median Income: $35,011
Unemployment Rate: 6.1%
Poverty Rate: 27.4%
More on Rupert: Add A Comment | Data | Jobs

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

It ranks as having the 4th highest incidence of poverty and the 16th highest unemployment rate.

7. Caldwell

Caldwell, Idaho

Source: Public domain

Population: 50,288
Median Income: $42,855
Unemployment Rate: 10.6%
Poverty Rate: 20.3%
More on Caldwell: Add A Comment | Data | Jobs

Caldwell places as the seventh poorest city in Idaho.

The city of over 50,288 ranks as having the 11th 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. Payette

Payette, Idaho

Population: 7,402
Median Income: $45,047
Unemployment Rate: 8.3%
Poverty Rate: 26.5%
More on Payette: Add A Comment | Data | Jobs

Payette ranks as the eighth poorest city in Idaho.

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

User comment that mentions Payette: Very interesting statistics. I think the downfall of your assessments is that they do not reflect the entrepreneurial nature of Idahoans. Many of the smaller areas such as Payette are populated by trades people and small business owners who serve the greater county area. They may not have gone to college or even completed high school, but even Tom Luna former Superintendent of Public Instruction did not graduate from high school or college, but rather followed the GED and online trade school route, so I guess he is ghetto. A quick drive through Payette, Idaho versus Fruitland, Idaho would quickly belay your statistics. The only signs of life in Fruitland are the large medical centers which have allowed the schools to increase school funds beyond the other local schools. Payette has the only state of the art library whose summer program has received numerous awards. Our municipal buildings are beautiful and cost effective, with an amazing fire station. All of our schools are well maintained on a shoe string budget. We are the only local school district that has restricted the amount of levy requests. We have three major festivals, Harmon Killebrew Day, Apple Blossom, and Cruise Night. All three of these venues bring visitors from across the United States. Four years ago we were ranked 68th best town for outdoorsman in the nation by Outdoor Magazine. The towns surrounding us look like ghosts towns compared to our town, yet because Internet gurus do a quick Google search of easily obtained numbers to create empty articles that appear to have some meat, but are actually just empty regurgitation of simple numbers that are not reflective of the community. If you are going to do an analysis solely on Internet searches, at least include GED rate, percentage of small businesses, municipal budget, festivals, municipal buildings and schools, as these are standards for most articles.

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

9. Pocatello

Pocatello, Idaho

Source: Public domain

Population: 54,592
Median Income: $41,172
Unemployment Rate: 7.2%
Poverty Rate: 21.1%
More on Pocatello: Add A Comment | Data | Jobs

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

While the median income is the 9th lowest, there are a substantial number of people that live below the poverty line. Overall, Pocatello ranks as having the 10th most people living in poverty of all the places we analyzed in Idaho.

10. Garden City

Garden City, Idaho

Population: 11,423
Median Income: $41,433
Unemployment Rate: 7.0%
Poverty Rate: 16.6%
More on Garden City: Add A Comment | Data | Jobs

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

The city of 11,423 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 2018

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

For more Idaho reading , check out:

  • 10 Worst Places To Live In Idaho
  • 10 Cheapest Places To Live In Idaho
  • 10 Most Dangerous Cities In Idaho
  • Detailed List Of The Poorest Cities In Idaho

    Rank City Poverty Rate
    1 Rexburg 43.2%
    2 Emmett 29.9%
    3 Moscow 29.9%
    4 Weiser 19.1%
    5 Nampa 22.4%
    6 Rupert 27.4%
    7 Caldwell 20.3%
    8 Payette 26.5%
    9 Pocatello 21.1%
    10 Garden City 16.6%
    11 Sandpoint 21.5%
    12 Coeur D’Alene 15.6%
    13 Jerome 21.8%
    14 Mountain Home 19.2%
    15 Blackfoot 16.4%
    16 Rathdrum 15.6%
    17 Burley 21.2%
    18 Middleton 14.3%
    19 Twin Falls 16.4%
    20 Idaho Falls 15.2%
    21 Boise City 14.1%
    22 Post Falls 14.1%
    23 Lewiston 13.5%
    24 Kuna 13.2%
    25 Chubbuck 12.4%
    26 Preston 11.6%
    27 Hailey 12.7%
    28 Hayden 4.8%
    29 Ammon 7.3%
    30 Star 9.6%
    31 Meridian 9.3%
    32 Eagle 6.2%

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