Poorest Cities In Kansas For 2021

We analyzed the cities and towns in Kansas 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 2021. This is our seventh time ranking the poorest places in Kansas.

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

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

To do so, we analyzed the newest Census data from the American Community Survey for the 61 places in Kansas with more than 5,000 people.

Here are the ten poorest places in Kansas for 2021:

  1. Coffeyville
  2. Chanute
  3. Pittsburg
  4. Iola
  5. Emporia
  6. Kansas City
  7. Arkansas City
  8. El Dorado
  9. Parsons
  10. Manhattan

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 Kansas? According to the facts, Coffeyville is the poorest place in Kansas for 2021.

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

The 10 Poorest Cities In Kansas For 2021

1. Coffeyville

Coffeyville, KS

Overall SnackAbility


Population: 9,457
Rank Last Year: 1 (No Change)
Median Income: $33,750 (lowest)
Unemployment Rate: 6.0% (7th highest)
Poverty Rate: 29.3% (highest)
More on Coffeyville:  Data | Photos

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

The city of 9,457 people averages the lowest median household income in Kansas and the 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. Chanute

Chanute, KS

Overall SnackAbility


Population: 9,102
Rank Last Year: 4 (Up 2)
Median Income: $36,838 (5th lowest)
Unemployment Rate: 6.9% (3rd highest)
Poverty Rate: 25.0% (5th highest)
More on Chanute:  Data | Photos

The second poorest city in Kansas is Chanute.

The city ranks as having the 5th highest incidence of poverty and 5th lowest median household income. However, the unemployment rate 'only' ranks as the 3rd highest in the Sunflower State.

3. Pittsburg

Pittsburg, KS

Overall SnackAbility


Population: 20,171
Rank Last Year: 9 (Up 6)
Median Income: $34,956 (2nd lowest)
Unemployment Rate: 5.7% (12th highest)
Poverty Rate: 27.3% (2nd highest)
More on Pittsburg:  Data | Photos

Placing as the third poorest city, Pittsburg's median income ranks as the 2nd 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 27.308024158757554% 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 Sunflower State.

4. Iola

Iola, KS

Overall SnackAbility


Population: 5,351
Rank Last Year: 2 (Down 2)
Median Income: $36,750 (4th lowest)
Unemployment Rate: 5.7% (11th highest)
Poverty Rate: 26.7% (3rd highest)
More on Iola:  Data | Photos

Iola ranks as the fourth poorest place in Kansas.

The town ranks as having the 4th lowest median household income and the 3rd 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. Emporia

Emporia, KS

Overall SnackAbility


Population: 24,607
Rank Last Year: 3 (Down 2)
Median Income: $40,525 (7th lowest)
Unemployment Rate: 6.6% (5th highest)
Poverty Rate: 20.5% (8th highest)
More on Emporia:  Data | Photos

The fifth poorest city in Kansas is Emporia.

The city ranks as having the 7th 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 8th highest in Kansas.

Still not the best news for Emporia.

6. Kansas City

Kansas City, KS

Overall SnackAbility


Population: 152,522
Rank Last Year: 5 (Down 1)
Median Income: $45,665 (13th lowest)
Unemployment Rate: 6.8% (4th highest)
Poverty Rate: 19.8% (9th highest)
More on Kansas City:  Data | Photos

Kansas City ranks as the sixth poorest place in the Sunflower State.

It ranks as having the 9th highest incidence of poverty and the 4th highest unemployment rate.

7. Arkansas City

Arkansas City, KS

Overall SnackAbility


Population: 11,868
Rank Last Year: 6 (Down 1)
Median Income: $42,576 (9th lowest)
Unemployment Rate: 6.0% (6th highest)
Poverty Rate: 17.4% (15th highest)
More on Arkansas City:  Data | Photos

Arkansas City places as the seventh poorest city in Kansas.

The city of over 11,868 ranks as having the 15th 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. El Dorado

El Dorado, KS

Source: Public domain
Overall SnackAbility


Population: 12,988
Rank Last Year: 8 (No Change)
Median Income: $43,314 (11th lowest)
Unemployment Rate: 7.5% (2nd highest)
Poverty Rate: 15.5% (2highest)
More on El Dorado:  Data | Photos

El Dorado ranks as the eighth poorest city in Kansas.

The big issue for the town is the unemployment rate which ranks as the 2nd highest in the state.

9. Parsons

Parsons, KS

Overall SnackAbility


Population: 9,736
Rank Last Year: 10 (Up 1)
Median Income: $39,949 (6th lowest)
Unemployment Rate: 3.9% (27th highest)
Poverty Rate: 22.9% (6th highest)
More on Parsons:  Data | Photos

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

While the median income is the 6th lowest, there are a substantial number of people that live below the poverty line. Overall, Parsons ranks as having the 6th most people living in poverty of all the places we analyzed in Kansas.

10. Manhattan

Manhattan, KS

Overall SnackAbility


Population: 55,290
Rank Last Year: 12 (Up 2)
Median Income: $50,537 (27th lowest)
Unemployment Rate: 5.2% (16th highest)
Poverty Rate: 26.3% (4th highest)
More on Manhattan:  Data | Photos

And rounding out the top ten poorest cities in Kansas is Manhattan.

The city of 55,290 people ranks in the bottom 20% for both median income and poverty rate in the Sunflower State.

How We Determined The Poorest Places In Kansas 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 61 places with more than 5,000 people in Kansas, we ranked each place from 1 to 61 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, Coffeyville, crowned the "Poorest Place In Kansas For 2021". You can download the data here.

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

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

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 Kansas, according to data:

    Richest: Bel Aire
    2nd Richest: Prairie Village
    3rd Richest: Leawood

For more Kansas reading, check out:

Detailed List Of The Poorest Places To Live In Kansas

Rank City Population Poverty Rate
1 Coffeyville 9,457 29.3%
2 Chanute 9,102 25.0%
3 Pittsburg 20,171 27.3%
4 Iola 5,351 26.7%
5 Emporia 24,607 20.5%
6 Kansas City 152,522 19.8%
7 Arkansas City 11,868 17.4%
8 El Dorado 12,988 15.5%
9 Parsons 9,736 22.9%
10 Manhattan 55,290 26.3%
11 Concordia 5,070 13.2%
12 Winfield 12,085 16.5%
13 Dodge City 27,555 16.3%
14 Liberal 19,731 16.6%
15 Atchison 10,598 18.2%
16 Ottawa 12,260 13.9%
17 Fort Scott 7,742 18.2%
18 Great Bend 15,358 19.4%
19 Topeka 126,397 14.4%
20 Ulysses 5,712 12.0%
21 Wellington 7,788 16.9%
22 Hutchinson 40,914 14.4%
23 Lawrence 96,369 20.7%
24 Wichita 389,877 15.9%
25 Independence 8,698 17.6%
26 Augusta 9,368 11.7%
27 Bonner Springs 7,782 14.0%
28 Hays 20,899 17.5%
29 Pratt 6,703 13.9%
30 Leavenworth 36,064 15.0%
31 Junction City 23,104 12.2%
32 Garden City 26,647 12.4%
33 Salina 46,998 12.2%
34 Abilene 6,362 9.4%
35 Haysville 11,132 10.1%
36 Merriam 11,185 11.1%
37 Colby 5,473 13.3%
38 Newton 18,877 10.7%
39 Valley Center 7,176 3.2%
40 Basehor 5,951 6.6%
41 Eudora 6,602 12.2%
42 Spring Hill 6,626 8.4%
43 Paola 5,611 8.2%
44 Mcpherson 13,054 10.4%
45 Gardner 21,528 6.7%
46 De Soto 6,254 6.7%
47 Derby 24,067 5.1%
48 Mission 9,523 7.9%
49 Lansing 11,900 2.1%
50 Roeland Park 6,769 9.3%
51 Mulvane 6,045 5.7%
52 Tonganoxie 5,359 2.6%
53 Shawnee 65,540 7.4%
54 Park City 8,138 8.7%
55 Overland Park 191,011 4.9%
56 Olathe 137,618 5.8%
57 Lenexa 54,011 5.2%
58 Andover 13,062 6.6%
59 Leawood 34,670 1.4%
60 Prairie Village 22,170 3.3%
61 Bel Aire 7,858 5.3%

How Is The Area In ?

About Chris Kolmar

Chris Kolmar has been in the real estate business for almost ten years now. He originally worked for Movoto Real Estate as the director of marketing before founding HomeSnacks.

He believes the key to finding the right place to live comes down to looking at the data, reading about things to do, and, most importantly, checking it out yourself before you move.

If you've been looking for a place to live in the past several years, you've probably stumbled upon his writing already.

You can find out more about him on LinkedIn or his website.