These Are The 10 Poorest Cities In Kentucky For 2019

We analyzed the over 140 places in Kentucky 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 2019. This is our fourth time ranking the poorest places in Kentucky.

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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 77 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 2019:

  1. Mayfield (Photos)
  2. Somerset (Photos)
  3. Middlesborough (Photos)
  4. Lebanon (Photos)
  5. Hazard (Photos)
  6. Glasgow (Photos)
  7. Russellville (Photos)
  8. Corbin (Photos)
  9. London (Photos)
  10. Harrodsburg (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 2019.

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.

If you’re looking for something more national, check out the poorest states in America or the poorest cities in America.

For more Kentucky reading, check out:

How We Determined The Poorest Places In Kentucky for 2019

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 2013-2017 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 77 places with more than 5,000 people in Kentucky, we ranked each place from 1 to 77 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 2019”.

You can learn more about the top ten below or skip to the end to see the rankings for all 77 places.

Mayfield, KY

Source: Public domain
Overall SnackAbility


Population: 9,936
Rank Last Year: 1 (No Change)
Median Income: $25,910 (3rd lowest)
Unemployment Rate: 16.9% (1st highest)
Poverty Rate: 30.2% (9th highest)
More on Mayfield:  Data | Photos

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

The city of 9,936 people averages the 3rd lowest median household income in Kentucky and the 9th 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.

Somerset, KY

Source: Public domain
Overall SnackAbility


Population: 11,334
Rank Last Year: 11 (Up 9)
Median Income: $23,518 (2nd lowest)
Unemployment Rate: 9.9% (10th highest)
Poverty Rate: 35.7% (2nd highest)
More on Somerset:  Data | Photos

The second poorest city in Kentucky is Somerset.

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 10th highest in the Bluegrass State.

Middlesborough, KY

Source: Public domain
Overall SnackAbility


Population: 9,709
Rank Last Year: 1 (Down 2)
Median Income: $22,425 (1st lowest)
Unemployment Rate: 9.4% (13th highest)
Poverty Rate: 41.7% (1st highest)
More on Middlesborough:  Data | Photos

Placing as the third poorest city, Middlesborough’s median income ranks as the 1st 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 41.7% 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.

Lebanon, KY

Overall SnackAbility


Population: 5,584
Rank Last Year: 8 (Up 4)
Median Income: $29,288 (8th lowest)
Unemployment Rate: 13.2% (5th highest)
Poverty Rate: 28.8% (14th highest)
More on Lebanon:  Data | Photos

Lebanon ranks as the fourth poorest place in Kentucky.

The town ranks as having the 8th lowest median household income and the 14th 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.

Hazard, KY

Overall SnackAbility


Population: 5,250
Rank Last Year: 13 (Up 8)
Median Income: $27,209 (5th lowest)
Unemployment Rate: 13.5% (4th highest)
Poverty Rate: 25.8% (19th highest)
More on Hazard:  Data | Photos

The fifth poorest city in Kentucky is Hazard.

The city ranks as having the 5th 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 19th highest in Kentucky.

Still not the best news for Hazard.

Glasgow, KY

Overall SnackAbility


Population: 14,318
Rank Last Year: 6 (No Change)
Median Income: $30,731 (11th lowest)
Unemployment Rate: 10.2% (9th highest)
Poverty Rate: 29.0% (13th highest)
More on Glasgow:  Data | Photos

Glasgow ranks as the sixth poorest place in the Bluegrass State.

It ranks as having the 13th highest incidence of poverty and the 9th highest unemployment rate.

Russellville, KY

Source: Public domain
Overall SnackAbility


Population: 7,015
Rank Last Year: 10 (Up 3)
Median Income: $29,143 (7th lowest)
Unemployment Rate: 9.3% (14th highest)
Poverty Rate: 29.1% (12th highest)
More on Russellville:  Data | Photos

Russellville places as the seventh poorest city in Kentucky.

The city of over 7,015 ranks as having the 12th highest incidence of poverty in the state. However, it has a very low cost of living which helps to pay the bills each month.

Corbin, KY

Source: Public domain
Overall SnackAbility


Population: 7,315
Rank Last Year: 6 (Down 2)
Median Income: $31,361 (13th lowest)
Unemployment Rate: 13.5% (4th highest)
Poverty Rate: 26.1% (18th highest)
More on Corbin:  Data | Photos

Corbin ranks as the eighth poorest city in Kentucky.

The big issue for the town is the unemployment rate which ranks as the 3rd highest in the state.

London, KY

Overall SnackAbility


Population: 8,000
Rank Last Year: 21 (Up 12)
Median Income: $32,551 (16th lowest)
Unemployment Rate: 10.7% (8th highest)
Poverty Rate: 28.4% (15th highest)
More on London:  Data | Photos

London couldn’t stay out of the top ten poorest places in Kentucky; it ranks number 9.

While the median income is the 16th lowest, there are a substantial number of people that live below the poverty line. Overall, London ranks as having the 15th most people living in poverty of all the places we analyzed in Kentucky.

Harrodsburg, KY

Overall SnackAbility


Population: 8,351
Rank Last Year: 4 (Down 6)
Median Income: $33,449 (20th lowest)
Unemployment Rate: 14.5% (2nd highest)
Poverty Rate: 25.5% (20th highest)
More on Harrodsburg:  Data | Photos

And rounding out the top ten poorest cities in Kentucky is Harrodsburg.

The city of 8,351 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 2019

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: Douglass Hills

For more Kentucky reading, check out:

Detailed List Of The Poorest Places To Live In Kentucky

Rank City Population Poverty Rate
1 Mayfield 9,936 30.2%
2 Somerset 11,334 35.7%
3 Middlesborough 9,709 41.7%
4 Lebanon 5,584 28.8%
5 Hazard 5,250 25.8%
6 Glasgow 14,318 29.0%
7 Russellville 7,015 29.1%
8 Corbin 7,315 26.1%
9 London 8,000 28.4%
10 Harrodsburg 8,351 25.5%
11 Newport 15,219 33.3%
12 Monticello 6,120 24.1%
13 Central City 5,841 31.6%
14 Richmond 33,993 31.1%
15 Murray 18,900 35.1%
16 Campbellsville 11,364 29.8%
17 Cynthiana 6,328 24.6%
18 Covington 40,578 24.7%
19 Maysville 8,804 21.6%
20 Leitchfield 6,826 29.3%
21 Hopkinsville 31,741 22.7%
22 Ashland 21,035 24.1%
23 Pikeville 7,065 30.6%
24 Franklin 8,675 23.3%
25 Bowling Green 64,302 26.4%
26 Paducah 24,879 24.7%
27 Shively 15,701 22.1%
28 Radcliff 22,718 19.6%
29 Princeton 6,173 20.2%
30 Mount Sterling 7,139 24.1%
31 Winchester 18,364 18.9%
32 Paris 9,807 22.7%
33 Dayton 5,378 22.5%
34 Henderson 28,859 23.4%
35 Morehead 7,663 34.3%
36 Nicholasville 29,547 22.4%
37 Berea 14,927 24.2%
38 Madisonville 19,303 19.6%
39 Owensboro 58,791 20.0%
40 Versailles 9,132 25.0%
41 Williamsburg 5,261 22.0%
42 Bardstown 13,034 16.4%
43 Danville 16,657 19.2%
44 Frankfort 27,453 16.8%
45 Lawrenceburg 11,087 14.4%
46 Louisville 615,478 16.7%
47 Wilmore 6,226 26.7%
48 Flatwoods 7,274 14.4%
49 Elizabethtown 29,794 15.4%
50 Oak Grove 7,426 22.9%
51 Shepherdsville 12,006 13.7%
52 Highland Heights 7,128 16.3%
53 Elsmere 8,555 19.1%
54 Florence 31,603 8.2%
55 Bellevue 5,838 10.2%
56 Hillview 8,913 6.3%
57 Mount Washington 14,285 8.0%
58 Georgetown 32,142 12.9%
59 Lyndon 11,394 6.8%
60 Shelbyville 15,318 15.1%
61 La Grange 8,620 14.2%
62 Vine Grove 5,793 3.7%
63 Erlanger 18,674 11.5%
64 Middletown 7,817 12.2%
65 St. Matthews 17,993 9.9%
66 Taylor Mill 6,739 10.7%
67 Villa Hills 7,397 7.1%
68 Alexandria 9,022 8.9%
69 Independence 26,772 6.2%
70 Jeffersontown 27,406 5.4%
71 Fort Mitchell 8,239 8.5%
72 Fort Thomas 16,254 6.2%
73 Fort Wright 5,718 7.2%
74 Union 5,751 1.2%
75 Douglass Hills 5,677 2.4%
76 Cold Spring 6,283 2.7%
77 Edgewood 8,688 4.1%

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.

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