Like all states, Kansas has certain places that are going on hard times. These Kansas places have an above-average percentage of people living in poverty, out of work, or not making as much as they should be.
Even as the economy continues to improve, it’s worthwhile to look at the places in each state struggling to make ends meet. So we set our sites on locating the poorest places in Kansas.
To do so, we used Saturday Night Science to analyze the newest Census data from the American Community Survey for the 62 cities in Kansas with more than 5,000 people.
What’s the poorest city in Kansas? According to the facts, Pittsburg is the poorest place in Kansas for 2023.
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.
For more Kansas reading, check out:
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- The poorest states in the US
- The poorest cities in the US
The 10 Poorest Cities In Kansas For 2023
Pittsburg, unfortunately, ranks as the poorest place in Kansas thanks to combination of low pay and and a lack of jobs.
The city of 20,667 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.
The second poorest city in Kansas is Coffeyville.
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 15th highest in the Sunflower State.
Placing as the third poorest city, Iola’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 21.13154738104758% 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.
Parsons ranks as the fourth poorest place in Kansas.
The town ranks as having the 6th lowest median household income and the 4th 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.
The fifth poorest city in Kansas is Emporia.
The city ranks as having the 8th 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 10th highest in Kansas.
Still not the best news for Emporia.
Independence ranks as the sixth poorest place in the Sunflower State.
It ranks as having the 13th highest incidence of poverty and the 55th highest unemployment rate.
Fort Scott places as the seventh poorest city in Kansas.
The city of over 7,579 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.
Winfield ranks as the eighth poorest city in Kansas.
The big issue for the town is the unemployment rate which ranks as the 9th highest in the state.
Chanute couldn’t stay out of the top ten poorest places in Kansas; it ranks number 9.
While the median income is the 13th lowest, there are a substantial number of people that live below the poverty line. Overall, Chanute ranks as having the 8th most people living in poverty of all the places we analyzed in Kansas.
And rounding out the top ten poorest cities in Kansas is Great Bend.
The city of 14,864 people ranks in the bottom 20% for both median income and poverty rate in the Sunflower State.
Methodology: How We Determined The Poorest Places In Kansas for 2023
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 used Saturday Night Science to look at this set of criteria from the newly released 2017-2021 American Community Survey:
- Poverty Level
- Median Household Income
After we collected the data for all 62 places with more than 5,000 people in Kansas, we ranked each place from 1 to 62 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, Pittsburg, crowned the “Poorest Place In Kansas For 2023”.
This report has been updated for 2023, which is our tenth time ranking the poorest places in Kansas.
Summary: The Poorest Cities In Kansas For 2023
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:
2nd Richest: Lansing
3rd Richest: Andover
For more Kansas reading, check out:
Detailed List Of The Poorest Places To Live In Kansas
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