Poorest Cities In Kansas For 2020

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 2020. This is our sixth time ranking the poorest places in Kansas.

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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.

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 2020.

Rich people more your cup of tea? Feel free to check out the richest 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 2020

Coffeyville, KS

Overall SnackAbility


Population: 9,578
Rank Last Year: 1 (No Change)
Median Income: $35,083 (3rd lowest)
Unemployment Rate: 7.1% (3rd highest)
Poverty Rate: 24.9% (4th 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 9,578 people averages the 3rd lowest median household income in Kansas and the 4th 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.

Iola, KS

Overall SnackAbility


Population: 5,400
Rank Last Year: 9 (Up 7)
Median Income: $31,218 (1st lowest)
Unemployment Rate: 6.1% (13th highest)
Poverty Rate: 26.7% (2nd highest)
More on Iola:  Data | Photos

The second poorest city in Kansas is Iola.

The city ranks as having the 2nd highest incidence of poverty and 1st lowest median household income. However, the unemployment rate 'only' ranks as the 13th highest in the Sunflower State.

Emporia, KS

Overall SnackAbility


Population: 24,649
Rank Last Year: 3 (No Change)
Median Income: $39,063 (6th lowest)
Unemployment Rate: 7.1% (5th highest)
Poverty Rate: 21.2% (10th highest)
More on Emporia:  Data | Photos

Placing as the third poorest city, Emporia's median income ranks as the 6th 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 21.16470537523169% 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.

Chanute, KS

Overall SnackAbility


Population: 9,119
Rank Last Year: 11 (Up 7)
Median Income: $36,288 (5th lowest)
Unemployment Rate: 6.2% (12th highest)
Poverty Rate: 22.5% (6th highest)
More on Chanute:  Data | Photos

Chanute ranks as the fourth poorest place in Kansas.

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.

Kansas City, KS

Overall SnackAbility


Population: 152,069
Rank Last Year: 4 (Down 1)
Median Income: $43,573 (12th lowest)
Unemployment Rate: 7.6% (1st highest)
Poverty Rate: 20.7% (11th highest)
More on Kansas City:  Data | Photos

The fifth poorest city in Kansas is Kansas City.

The city ranks as having the 12th 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 11th highest in Kansas.

Still not the best news for Kansas City.

Arkansas City, KS

Overall SnackAbility


Population: 11,986
Rank Last Year: 6 (No Change)
Median Income: $40,573 (8th lowest)
Unemployment Rate: 7.0% (6th highest)
Poverty Rate: 19.5% (13th highest)
More on Arkansas City:  Data | Photos

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

It ranks as having the 13th highest incidence of poverty and the 6th highest unemployment rate.

Atchison, KS

Overall SnackAbility


Population: 10,675
Rank Last Year: 2 (Down 5)
Median Income: $43,604 (13th lowest)
Unemployment Rate: 6.6% (9th highest)
Poverty Rate: 21.7% (9th highest)
More on Atchison:  Data | Photos

Atchison places as the seventh poorest city in Kansas.

The city of over 10,675 ranks as having the 9th highest incidence of poverty in the state. However, it has a very low cost of living which helps to pay the bills each month.

El Dorado, KS

Source: Public domain
Overall SnackAbility


Population: 12,988
Rank Last Year: 8 (No Change)
Median Income: $43,331 (11th lowest)
Unemployment Rate: 7.2% (2nd highest)
Poverty Rate: 16.8% (19th highest)
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.

Pittsburg, KS

Overall SnackAbility


Population: 20,280
Rank Last Year: 5 (Down 4)
Median Income: $35,525 (4th lowest)
Unemployment Rate: 4.5% (27th highest)
Poverty Rate: 29.5% (1st highest)
More on Pittsburg:  Data | Photos

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

While the median income is the 4th lowest, there are a substantial number of people that live below the poverty line. Overall, Pittsburg ranks as having the 1st most people living in poverty of all the places we analyzed in Kansas.

Parsons, KS

Overall SnackAbility


Population: 9,876
Rank Last Year: 7 (Down 3)
Median Income: $41,653 (10th lowest)
Unemployment Rate: 4.6% (25th highest)
Poverty Rate: 22.7% (5th highest)
More on Parsons:  Data | Photos

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

The city of 9,876 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 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 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 2020". You can download the data here.

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

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: Leawood
    3rd Richest: Prairie Village

For more Kansas reading, check out:

Detailed List Of The Poorest Places To Live In Kansas

Rank City Population Poverty Rate
1 Coffeyville 9,578 24.9%
2 Iola 5,400 26.7%
3 Emporia 24,649 21.2%
4 Chanute 9,119 22.5%
5 Kansas City 152,069 20.7%
6 Arkansas City 11,986 19.5%
7 Atchison 10,675 21.7%
8 El Dorado 12,988 16.8%
9 Pittsburg 20,280 29.5%
10 Parsons 9,876 22.7%
11 Independence 8,847 22.2%
12 Manhattan 55,489 25.4%
13 Concordia 5,138 14.4%
14 Winfield 12,138 18.3%
15 Wellington 7,834 18.1%
16 Great Bend 15,544 20.4%
17 Liberal 20,251 17.2%
18 Fort Scott 7,800 18.8%
19 Topeka 126,877 15.9%
20 Lawrence 95,294 21.8%
21 Hutchinson 41,146 15.0%
22 Dodge City 27,808 15.8%
23 Wichita 389,563 16.2%
24 Ottawa 12,275 12.9%
25 Augusta 9,358 12.6%
26 Junction City 23,703 12.0%
27 Ulysses 5,639 9.6%
28 Garden City 26,806 15.0%
29 Abilene 6,422 10.8%
30 Hays 20,956 18.4%
31 Salina 47,230 13.3%
32 Bonner Springs 7,796 11.3%
33 Pratt 6,774 14.3%
34 Leavenworth 36,008 14.7%
35 Newton 18,923 14.5%
36 Basehor 5,669 8.0%
37 Eudora 6,745 8.5%
38 Colby 5,505 12.5%
39 Merriam 11,243 8.9%
40 De Soto 6,138 8.9%
41 Roeland Park 6,796 8.1%
42 Haysville 11,298 9.0%
43 Mcpherson 13,041 12.4%
44 Paola 5,585 9.1%
45 Mulvane 5,719 6.3%
46 Gardner 21,351 5.5%
47 Shawnee 65,239 7.1%
48 Park City 7,885 8.3%
49 Overland Park 188,687 5.4%
50 Tonganoxie 5,073 5.1%
51 Spring Hill 6,315 7.2%
52 Mission 9,437 6.3%
53 Lansing 11,835 3.7%
54 Olathe 135,986 6.4%
55 Derby 23,768 4.9%
56 Andover 12,862 6.5%
57 Lenexa 53,051 5.2%
58 Valley Center 6,747 3.6%
59 Prairie Village 22,048 3.7%
60 Leawood 34,570 1.8%
61 Bel Aire 7,671 1.1%

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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.


One thought on “Poorest Cities In Kansas, 2020

  1. I think you totally missed Manchester Kansas on this list. Either that, or you’re only looking at towns with names people would recognize. Some of the places on your list are tourist traps or college towns and only have income during those seasons. So yes I can understand where you are coming from but they should not be making the poorest list by any means.

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