These Are The 10 Poorest Cities In Kentucky For 2018


We analyzed the over 140 places in Kentucky to determine which ones are at the bottom of the income ladder.

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Kentucky brings to mind images of Frankfort, beautiful landscapes, and some of the best people you’ll find in the good ole US of A.

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

To do so, we analyzed the newest Census data from the American Community Survey for the 78 places in Kentucky with more than 5,000 people.

We were left with this set of the ten poorest places in the Bluegrass State for 2018:

  1. Mayfield (Photos)
  2. Middlesborough (Photos)
  3. Monticello (Photos)
  4. Harrodsburg (Photos)
  5. Glasgow (Photos)
  6. Campbellsville (Photos)
  7. Corbin (Photos)
  8. Newport (Photos)
  9. Lebanon (Photos)
  10. Russellville (Photos)

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.

And according to the facts, Mayfield is the poorest place in Kentucky for 2018.

Rich people not your cup of tea? Feel free to check out the richest places in Kentucky or the most dangerous.

For more on how we calculated the top ten, and for more information about these places, read on.

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How We Determined The Poorest Places In Kentucky For 2018

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 2012-2016 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 78 places with more than 5,000 people in Kentucky, we ranked each place from 1 to 78 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, Mayfield, crowned the ‘Poorest Place In Kentucky For 2018’.

You can learn more about the top ten below or skip to the end to see the rankings for all 78 places.

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1. Mayfield

Mayfield, Kentucky

Source: Wikipedia

Population: 10,078
Median Income: $26,069
Unemployment Rate: 14.5%
Poverty Rate: 30.9%
Mayfield, unfortunately, ranks as the poorest place in Kentucky thanks to combination of low pay and and a lack of jobs.

The city of 10,078 people averages the 5th lowest median household income in Kentucky and the 6th 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. Middlesborough

Middlesborough, Kentucky

Source: Wikipedia

Population: 9,842
Median Income: $22,500
Unemployment Rate: 10.0%
Poverty Rate: 39.3%
The second poorest city in Kentucky is Middlesborough.

The city ranks as having the 1st highest incidence of poverty and 1st lowest median household income. However, the unemployment rate ‘only’ ranks as the 11th highest in the Bluegrass State.

3. Monticello

Monticello, Kentucky

Source: Wikipedia

Population: 6,116
Median Income: $26,005
Unemployment Rate: 11.9%
Poverty Rate: 29.6%
Placing as the third poorest city, Monticello’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 29.6% 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 Bluegrass State.

4. Harrodsburg

Harrodsburg, Kentucky

Source: Wikipedia

Population: 8,409
Median Income: $31,794
Unemployment Rate: 14.8%
Poverty Rate: 26.8%
Harrodsburg ranks as the fourth poorest place in Kentucky.

The town ranks as having the 16th lowest median household income and the 18th 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. Glasgow

Glasgow, Kentucky

Source: Wikipedia

Population: 14,338
Median Income: $28,362
Unemployment Rate: 9.8%
Poverty Rate: 26.9%
The fifth poorest city in Kentucky is Glasgow.

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 16th highest in Kentucky.

Still not the best news for Glasgow.

6. Campbellsville

Campbellsville, Kentucky

Source: Wikipedia

Population: 11,329
Median Income: $26,733
Unemployment Rate: 8.0%
Poverty Rate: 30.1%
Campbellsville ranks as the sixth poorest place in the Bluegrass State.

It ranks as having the 7th highest incidence of poverty and the 24th highest unemployment rate.

7. Corbin

Corbin, Kentucky

Source: Wikipedia

Population: 7,306
Median Income: $29,613
Unemployment Rate: 12.3%
Poverty Rate: 25.6%
Corbin places as the seventh poorest city in Kentucky.

The city of over 7,306 ranks as having the 21st 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. Newport

Newport, Kentucky

Source: Wikipedia

Population: 15,321
Median Income: $33,008
Unemployment Rate: 9.2%
Poverty Rate: 33.7%
Newport ranks as the eighth poorest city in Kentucky.

The big issue for the town is the unemployment rate which ranks as the 17th highest in the state.

9. Lebanon

Lebanon, Kentucky

Source: Wikipedia

Population: 5,604
Median Income: $30,875
Unemployment Rate: 10.1%
Poverty Rate: 27.0%
Lebanon couldn’t stay out of the top ten poorest places in Kentucky; it ranks number 9.

While the median income is the 14th lowest, there are a substantial number of people that live below the poverty line. Overall, Lebanon ranks as having the 15th most people living in poverty of all the places we analyzed in Kentucky.

10. Russellville

Russellville, Kentucky

Source: Wikipedia

Population: 6,998
Median Income: $29,545
Unemployment Rate: 8.7%
Poverty Rate: 30.1%
And rounding out the top ten poorest cities in Kentucky is Russellville.

The city of 6,998 people ranks in the bottom 20% for both median income and poverty rate in the Bluegrass State.

There You Have It – The Poorest Places In Kentucky For 2018

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

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 Kentucky, according to data:

Richest: Edgewood
2nd Richest: Cold Spring
3rd Richest: Union

For more Kentucky reading , check out:

  • These Are The 10 Most Dangerous Cities In Kentucky
  • These Are The 10 Poorest Places In Kentucky
  • These Are The 10 Dumbest Cities In Kentucky
  • Detailed List Of The Poorest Cities In Kentucky

    City Rank Poverty Rate
    Mayfield 1 30.9%
    Middlesborough 2 39.3%
    Monticello 3 29.6%
    Harrodsburg 4 26.8%
    Glasgow 5 26.9%
    Campbellsville 6 30.1%
    Corbin 7 25.6%
    Newport 8 33.7%
    Lebanon 9 27.0%
    Russellville 10 30.1%
    Somerset 11 36.5%
    Richmond 12 32.6%
    Hazard 13 26.9%
    Murray 14 38.2%
    Leitchfield 15 27.5%
    Williamsburg 16 24.9%
    Maysville 17 20.4%
    Bowling Green 18 28.5%
    Hopkinsville 19 23.2%
    Covington 20 25.0%
    London 21 23.7%
    Princeton 22 24.5%
    Franklin 23 25.1%
    Central City 24 28.5%
    Dayton 25 25.5%
    Henderson 26 24.1%
    Paris 27 24.1%
    Bardstown 28 19.6%
    Ashland 29 23.0%
    Cynthiana 30 23.1%
    Nicholasville 31 23.7%
    Paducah 32 24.3%
    Radcliff 33 19.9%
    Shively 34 23.3%
    Mount Sterling 35 27.4%
    Morehead 36 29.2%
    Owensboro 37 20.4%
    Pikeville 38 26.1%
    Berea 39 25.5%
    Frankfort 40 20.0%
    Oak Grove 41 25.0%
    Versailles 42 25.2%
    Wilmore 43 26.7%
    Winchester 44 17.9%
    Louisville 45 17.7%
    Danville 46 19.5%
    Madisonville 47 17.6%
    Lawrenceburg 48 12.5%
    Flatwoods 49 14.2%
    Elizabethtown 50 16.3%
    Bellevue 51 9.6%
    Hillview 52 8.6%
    Lexington 53 18.9%
    Elsmere 54 22.5%
    Highland Heights 55 15.9%
    Shepherdsville 56 14.5%
    Florence 57 8.6%
    Shelbyville 58 16.7%
    Villa Hills 59 6.3%
    Lyndon 60 9.5%
    Mount Washington 61 9.0%
    Erlanger 62 11.4%
    Taylor Mill 63 11.8%
    La Grange 64 14.7%
    Georgetown 65 12.2%
    St. Matthews 66 9.9%
    Vine Grove 67 3.4%
    Middletown 68 10.4%
    Jeffersontown 69 8.1%
    Douglass Hills 70 7.0%
    Alexandria 71 9.3%
    Fort Mitchell 72 8.7%
    Independence 73 6.9%
    Fort Thomas 74 6.6%
    Fort Wright 75 5.5%
    Union 76 5.7%
    Cold Spring 77 3.6%
    Edgewood 78 4.2%

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