Poorest Cities In Illinois For 2020


We used science and data to determine which places in Illinois 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 2020. This is our sixth time ranking the poorest places in Illinois.

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Illinois brings to mind images of Springfield, beautiful landscapes, and some of the best people you'll find in the good ole US of A.

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

To do so, we analyzed the newest Census data from the American Community Survey for the 335 places in Illinois with more than 5,000 people.

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 Illinois? According to the facts, Centreville is the poorest place in Illinois for 2020.

Rich people more your cup of tea? Feel free to check out the richest places in Illinois 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 Illinois reading, check out:

The 10 Poorest Cities In Illinois For 2020

Centreville, IL

Overall SnackAbility

3
/10

Population: 5,059
Rank Last Year: 1 (No Change)
Median Income: $18,955 (1st lowest)
Unemployment Rate: 16.4% (5th highest)
Poverty Rate: 45.6% (2nd highest)
More on Centreville:  Data | Photos

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

The city of 5,059 people averages the 1st lowest median household income in Illinois 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.

East St. Louis, IL

Source: Public domain
Overall SnackAbility

3
/10

Population: 26,647
Rank Last Year: 3 (Up 1)
Median Income: $23,072 (3rd lowest)
Unemployment Rate: 17.4% (4th highest)
Poverty Rate: 37.8% (4th highest)
More on East St. Louis:  Data | Photos

The second poorest city in Illinois is East St. Louis.

The city ranks as having the 4th highest incidence of poverty and 3rd lowest median household income. However, the unemployment rate 'only' ranks as the 4th highest in the Prairie State.

Riverdale, IL

Overall SnackAbility

4
/10

Population: 12,786
Rank Last Year: 4 (Up 1)
Median Income: $33,573 (8th lowest)
Unemployment Rate: 21.3% (2nd highest)
Poverty Rate: 30.6% (9th highest)
More on Riverdale:  Data | Photos

Placing as the third poorest city, Riverdale's median income ranks as the 8th 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 30.61032863849765% 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 Prairie State.

Harvey, IL

Overall SnackAbility

4
/10

Population: 24,599
Rank Last Year: 2 (Down 2)
Median Income: $28,349 (5th lowest)
Unemployment Rate: 15.5% (9th highest)
Poverty Rate: 33.6% (6th highest)
More on Harvey:  Data | Photos

Harvey ranks as the fourth poorest place in Illinois.

The town ranks as having the 5th 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.

Overall SnackAbility

4
/10

Population: 5,003
Rank Last Year: 6 (Up 1)
Median Income: $26,804 (4th lowest)
Unemployment Rate: 12.4% (22nd highest)
Poverty Rate: 38.7% (3rd highest)
More on Robbins:  Data

The fifth poorest city in Illinois is Robbins.

The city ranks as having the 4th 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 Illinois.

Still not the best news for Robbins.

Carbondale, IL

Overall SnackAbility

5
/10

Population: 25,846
Rank Last Year: 8 (Up 2)
Median Income: $22,025 (2nd lowest)
Unemployment Rate: 11.5% (27th highest)
Poverty Rate: 45.8% (1st highest)
More on Carbondale:  Data | Photos

Carbondale ranks as the sixth poorest place in the Prairie State.

It ranks as having the 1st highest incidence of poverty and the 27th highest unemployment rate.

Cahokia, IL

Overall SnackAbility

3
/10

Population: 14,271
Rank Last Year: 5 (Down 2)
Median Income: $29,330 (7th lowest)
Unemployment Rate: 13.3% (19th highest)
Poverty Rate: 35.5% (5th highest)
More on Cahokia:  Data | Photos

Cahokia places as the seventh poorest city in Illinois.

The city of over 14,271 ranks as having the 5th highest incidence of poverty in the state. However, it has a very low cost of living which helps to pay the bills each month.

West Frankfort, IL

Source: Public domain
Overall SnackAbility

5
/10

Population: 7,905
Rank Last Year: 10 (Up 2)
Median Income: $28,642 (6th lowest)
Unemployment Rate: 12.2% (23rd highest)
Poverty Rate: 29.7% (13th highest)
More on West Frankfort:  Data | Photos

West Frankfort ranks as the eighth poorest city in Illinois.

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

Overall SnackAbility

5
/10

Population: 12,600
Rank Last Year: 9 (No Change)
Median Income: $38,353 (22nd lowest)
Unemployment Rate: 13.9% (14th highest)
Poverty Rate: 24.8% (23rd highest)
More on Markham:  Data

Markham couldn't stay out of the top ten poorest places in Illinois; it ranks number 9.

While the median income is the 22nd lowest, there are a substantial number of people that live below the poverty line. Overall, Markham ranks as having the 23rd most people living in poverty of all the places we analyzed in Illinois.

Source: Public Domain
Overall SnackAbility

5
/10

Population: 10,516
Rank Last Year: 14 (Up 4)
Median Income: $42,105 (40th lowest)
Unemployment Rate: 18.3% (3rd highest)
Poverty Rate: 26.8% (16th highest)
More on Sauk Village:  Data

And rounding out the top ten poorest cities in Illinois is Sauk Village.

The city of 10,516 people ranks in the bottom 20% for both median income and poverty rate in the Prairie State.

How We Determined The Poorest Places In Illinois for 2020

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 2014-2018 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 335 places with more than 5,000 people in Illinois, we ranked each place from 1 to 335 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, Centreville, crowned the "Poorest Place In Illinois For 2020". You can download the data here.

There You Have It - The Poorest Places In Illinois For 2020

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

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 Illinois, according to data:

    Richest: Glencoe
    2nd Richest: Inverness
    3rd Richest: Hawthorn Woods

For more Illinois reading, check out:

Detailed List Of The Poorest Places To Live In Illinois

Rank City Population Poverty Rate
1 Centreville 5,059 45.6%
2 East St. Louis 26,647 37.8%
3 Riverdale 12,786 30.6%
4 Harvey 24,599 33.6%
5 Robbins 5,003 38.7%
6 Carbondale 25,846 45.8%
7 Cahokia 14,271 35.5%
8 West Frankfort 7,905 29.7%
9 Markham 12,600 24.8%
10 Sauk Village 10,516 26.8%
11 Harrisburg 8,958 25.7%
12 Danville 31,554 30.5%
13 Alton 26,884 27.5%
14 Centralia 12,538 25.2%
15 Kankakee 25,884 30.4%
16 Salem 7,100 24.1%
17 Hoopeston 5,229 23.0%
18 Dolton 22,927 23.3%
19 Du Quoin 5,818 22.9%
20 Dekalb 42,839 28.7%
21 Macomb 18,118 30.5%
22 Rockford 147,881 22.6%
23 Calumet City 36,856 18.9%
24 Mount Vernon 14,804 24.4%
25 Freeport 24,300 19.8%
26 Chicago Heights 30,087 25.2%
27 Beardstown 5,902 22.6%
28 Posen 6,211 25.6%
29 Benton 6,980 18.3%
30 North Chicago 30,011 22.8%
31 Blue Island 22,636 18.9%
32 Galesburg 30,986 22.3%
33 Decatur 72,969 21.1%
34 Streator 12,791 20.9%
35 Park City 7,456 20.2%
36 Kewanee 12,570 22.8%
37 Urbana 42,375 30.8%
38 Marseilles 5,088 24.2%
39 Murphysboro 7,951 16.9%
40 Chicago Ridge 14,254 26.1%
41 Carlinville 5,610 20.0%
42 Mattoon 17,597 21.1%
43 Calumet Park 8,442 18.0%
44 Vandalia 6,914 22.3%
45 Maywood 23,810 17.5%
46 Charleston 20,632 32.1%
47 Summit 11,340 19.1%
48 Monmouth 9,189 15.9%
49 Olney 8,808 18.0%
50 Peoria 114,512 20.7%
51 Jacksonville 18,914 17.8%
52 Rock Island 38,354 20.5%
53 Granite City 29,001 19.7%
54 Metropolis 6,184 24.7%
55 Canton 13,789 22.3%
56 Pinckneyville 5,463 20.9%
57 Zion 24,047 19.5%
58 Rantoul 13,222 20.0%
59 Paris 8,424 16.1%
60 Richton Park 13,629 17.7%
61 Steger 9,439 15.0%
62 Lasalle 9,305 18.1%
63 Hazel Crest 13,729 16.5%
64 Wood River 10,234 21.3%
65 Waukegan 87,571 17.5%
66 Rock Falls 8,911 17.1%
67 Park Forest 21,699 15.7%
68 Chicago 2,718,555 19.5%
69 Silvis 7,553 19.9%
70 Ottawa 18,701 17.6%
71 Staunton 5,036 13.9%
72 Mount Carmel 7,040 13.9%
73 Lansing 28,141 14.6%
74 Herrin 12,869 14.6%
75 East Alton 6,099 18.4%
76 Springfield 116,459 19.6%
77 Bridgeview 16,440 18.8%
78 Robinson 7,614 13.8%
79 East Moline 21,373 15.7%
80 Cicero 83,147 18.2%
81 Creve Coeur 5,493 16.2%
82 Justice 12,919 16.5%
83 Belleville 41,926 16.5%
84 Marion 17,646 19.7%
85 Broadview 7,829 8.8%
86 Harvard 9,292 13.2%
87 Watseka 5,202 21.0%
88 Belvidere 25,319 16.5%
89 Clinton 7,126 12.2%
90 Collinsville 24,756 13.1%
91 South Holland 21,866 12.2%
92 Quincy 40,428 15.6%
93 Milan 5,084 11.8%
94 Champaign 86,791 26.3%
95 Pontiac 11,804 17.7%
96 Melrose Park 25,311 17.0%
97 Northlake 12,351 15.7%
98 Litchfield 7,015 20.2%
99 Mendota 7,035 14.6%
100 Pontoon Beach 5,725 16.0%

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