Poorest Cities In Indiana For 2021


We used science and data to determine which places in Indiana 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 Indiana.

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

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

To do so, we analyzed the newest Census data from the American Community Survey for the 117 places in Indiana with more than 5,000 people.

Here are the ten poorest places in Indiana for 2021:

  1. Gary
  2. East Chicago
  3. Muncie
  4. Marion
  5. Terre Haute
  6. Anderson
  7. Bloomington
  8. Connersville
  9. Peru
  10. Michigan City

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 Indiana? According to the facts, Gary is the poorest place in Indiana for 2021.

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

The 10 Poorest Cities In Indiana For 2021

1. Gary

Gary, IN

Overall SnackAbility

3
/10

Population: 76,010
Rank Last Year: 1 (No Change)
Median Income: $31,936 (lowest)
Unemployment Rate: 12.4% (highest)
Poverty Rate: 30.6% (5th highest)
More on Gary:  Data | Photos

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

The city of 76,010 people averages the lowest median household income in Indiana and the 5th 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. East Chicago

East Chicago, IN

Overall SnackAbility

4
/10

Population: 28,201
Rank Last Year: 2 (No Change)
Median Income: $32,839 (2nd lowest)
Unemployment Rate: 9.1% (4th highest)
Poverty Rate: 32.3% (3rd highest)
More on East Chicago:  Data | Photos

The second poorest city in Indiana is East Chicago.

The city ranks as having the 3rd highest incidence of poverty and 2nd lowest median household income. However, the unemployment rate 'only' ranks as the 4th highest in the Hoosier State.

3. Muncie

Muncie, IN

Source: Public domain
Overall SnackAbility

4
/10

Population: 68,750
Rank Last Year: 6 (Up 3)
Median Income: $33,944 (4th lowest)
Unemployment Rate: 7.9% (10th highest)
Poverty Rate: 31.0% (4th highest)
More on Muncie:  Data | Photos

Placing as the third poorest city, Muncie's median income ranks as the 4th 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 30.986437890051764% 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 Hoosier State.

4. Marion

Marion, IN

Overall SnackAbility

5
/10

Population: 27,956
Rank Last Year: 3 (Down 1)
Median Income: $32,977 (3rd lowest)
Unemployment Rate: 8.6% (7th highest)
Poverty Rate: 25.7% (8th highest)
More on Marion:  Data | Photos

Marion ranks as the fourth poorest place in Indiana.

The town ranks as having the 3rd lowest median household income and the 8th 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. Terre Haute

Terre Haute, IN

Overall SnackAbility

5
/10

Population: 60,673
Rank Last Year: 4 (Down 1)
Median Income: $36,406 (10th lowest)
Unemployment Rate: 9.0% (5th highest)
Poverty Rate: 26.4% (7th highest)
More on Terre Haute:  Data | Photos

The fifth poorest city in Indiana is Terre Haute.

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 Indiana.

Still not the best news for Terre Haute.

6. Anderson

Anderson, IN

Source: Public domain
Overall SnackAbility

3
/10

Population: 54,513
Rank Last Year: 8 (Up 2)
Median Income: $37,038 (11th lowest)
Unemployment Rate: 7.8% (11th highest)
Poverty Rate: 23.8% (12th highest)
More on Anderson:  Data | Photos

Anderson ranks as the sixth poorest place in the Hoosier State.

It ranks as having the 12th highest incidence of poverty and the 11th highest unemployment rate.

7. Bloomington

Bloomington, IN

Overall SnackAbility

7
/10

Population: 84,116
Rank Last Year: 7 (No Change)
Median Income: $37,077 (12th lowest)
Unemployment Rate: 6.7% (22nd highest)
Poverty Rate: 35.3% (2nd highest)
More on Bloomington:  Data | Photos

Bloomington places as the seventh poorest city in Indiana.

The city of over 84,116 ranks as having the 2nd 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. Connersville

Connersville, IN

Source: Public domain
Overall SnackAbility

4
/10

Population: 13,165
Rank Last Year: 21 (Up 13)
Median Income: $34,201 (5th lowest)
Unemployment Rate: 6.6% (26th highest)
Poverty Rate: 26.8% (6th highest)
More on Connersville:  Data | Photos

Connersville ranks as the eighth poorest city in Indiana.

The big issue for the town is the unemployment rate which ranks as the 26th highest in the state.

9. Peru

Peru, IN

Source: Public domain
Overall SnackAbility

3
/10

Population: 11,584
Rank Last Year: 5 (Down 4)
Median Income: $39,267 (18th lowest)
Unemployment Rate: 8.7% (6th highest)
Poverty Rate: 22.6% (15th highest)
More on Peru:  Data | Photos

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

While the median income is the 18th lowest, there are a substantial number of people that live below the poverty line. Overall, Peru ranks as having the 15th most people living in poverty of all the places we analyzed in Indiana.

10. Michigan City

Michigan City, IN

Overall SnackAbility

3
/10

Population: 31,118
Rank Last Year: 9 (Down 1)
Median Income: $40,631 (23rd lowest)
Unemployment Rate: 8.2% (9th highest)
Poverty Rate: 24.6% (11th highest)
More on Michigan City:  Data | Photos

And rounding out the top ten poorest cities in Indiana is Michigan City.

The city of 31,118 people ranks in the bottom 20% for both median income and poverty rate in the Hoosier State.

How We Determined The Poorest Places In Indiana 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 117 places with more than 5,000 people in Indiana, we ranked each place from 1 to 117 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, Gary, crowned the "Poorest Place In Indiana For 2021". You can download the data here.

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

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

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 Indiana, according to data:

    Richest: Mccordsville
    2nd Richest: Hunte
    3rd Richest: Carmel

For more Indiana reading, check out:

Detailed List Of The Poorest Places To Live In Indiana

Rank City Population Poverty Rate
1 Gary 76,010 30.6%
2 East Chicago 28,201 32.3%
3 Muncie 68,750 31.0%
4 Marion 27,956 25.7%
5 Terre Haute 60,673 26.4%
6 Anderson 54,513 23.8%
7 Bloomington 84,116 35.3%
8 Connersville 13,165 26.8%
9 Peru 11,584 22.6%
10 Michigan City 31,118 24.6%
11 New Castle 17,287 22.5%
12 Linton 5,244 21.9%
13 Elkhart 52,257 21.9%
14 Plymouth 10,054 24.7%
15 Gas City 5,802 19.2%
16 South Bend 102,037 23.6%
17 Lake Station 12,002 24.7%
18 Richmond 35,539 20.3%
19 Hartford City 5,831 15.9%
20 Salem 6,172 19.7%
21 La Porte 21,577 19.1%
22 Evansville 118,588 21.8%
23 Hammond 76,547 22.1%
24 Martinsville 11,635 19.5%
25 Vincennes 17,304 22.9%
26 Madison 11,813 20.0%
27 West Lafayette 48,551 38.5%
28 Washington 12,412 17.7%
29 Elwood 8,441 19.1%
30 Logansport 17,966 20.2%
31 Beech Grove 14,990 16.2%
32 Frankfort 15,634 17.8%
33 Brazil 8,380 19.9%
34 Kokomo 58,145 18.6%
35 Indianapolis 864,447 18.0%
36 Speedway 12,266 19.3%
37 Crawfordsville 16,090 17.2%
38 Mount Vernon 6,584 17.5%
39 Seymour 19,623 20.0%
40 Mishawaka 49,245 15.7%
41 Wabash 10,089 15.8%
42 Rushville 6,050 16.2%
43 Lafayette 72,581 16.7%
44 Portland 5,886 15.5%
45 Bedford 13,272 17.1%
46 North Manchester 5,710 11.5%
47 Huntingburg 6,522 15.2%
48 Westville 5,848 16.6%
49 Monticello 5,262 10.9%
50 Kendallville 9,347 10.6%
51 Fort Wayne 265,752 16.0%
52 New Haven 16,279 8.8%
53 Columbia City 9,116 13.7%
54 Hobart 28,049 12.2%
55 Merrillville 34,889 13.2%
56 New Albany 36,647 17.9%
57 Auburn 13,056 12.3%
58 Goshen 34,108 15.9%
59 Huntington 17,067 15.3%
60 Lawrence 48,699 14.8%
61 Scottsburg 6,702 14.7%
62 Tell City 7,256 15.4%
63 Mooresville 9,661 11.2%
64 Decatur 9,863 13.9%
65 Portage 36,648 16.1%
66 Shelbyville 18,951 16.6%
67 Bluffton 9,919 12.8%
68 Charlestown 8,199 16.7%
69 Cedar Lake 12,491 9.8%
70 Clarksville 21,548 12.3%
71 Warsaw 15,458 12.5%
72 Jeffersonville 47,673 10.2%
73 Batesville 6,651 11.5%
74 Princeton 8,684 13.1%
75 North Vernon 6,735 14.9%
76 Chesterton 14,119 8.6%
77 Boonville 6,292 12.1%
78 Valparaiso 33,355 12.2%
79 Ellettsville 6,642 12.7%
80 Columbus 48,150 13.8%
81 Sellersburg 9,066 8.3%
82 Rensselaer 6,324 11.7%
83 Garrett 6,651 12.0%
84 Lowell 9,659 4.9%
85 Franklin 25,106 10.0%
86 Angola 8,660 10.6%
87 Greencastle 10,296 11.0%
88 Avon 17,453 3.1%
89 Greenfield 22,160 11.3%
90 Greensburg 11,228 9.7%
91 Plainfield 32,879 9.1%
92 Rochester 6,045 12.4%
93 Highland 22,581 7.8%
94 Griffith 16,228 7.0%
95 Yor 11,143 8.4%
96 Nappanee 7,033 8.4%
97 Jasper 15,827 10.6%
98 Lebanon 15,932 8.8%
99 Greenwood 57,764 7.1%
100 Dyer 15,953 3.1%

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