Maryland brings to mind images of Annapolis, beautiful landscapes, and some of the best people you’ll find in the good ole US of A.
However, like all states, Maryland 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 Maryland that could use a helping hand.
To do so, we analyzed the newest Census data from the American Community Survey for the 41 places in Maryland with more than 5,000 people.
We were left with this set of the ten poorest places in the Old Line State for 2018:
- Frostburg (Photos)
- Cambridge (Photos)
- Cumberland (Photos)
- Hagerstown (Photos)
- Baltimore (Photos)
- Salisbury (Photos)
- Bladensburg (Photos)
- Mount Rainier
- New Carrollton (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, Frostburg is the poorest place in Maryland for 2018.
For more on how we calculated the top ten, and for more information about these places, read on.
How We Determined The Poorest Places In Maryland 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 41 places with more than 5,000 people in Maryland, we ranked each place from 1 to 41 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, Frostburg, crowned the ‘Poorest Place In Maryland For 2018’.
You can learn more about the top ten below or skip to the end to see the rankings for all 41 places.
Population: 8,718Median Income: $35,833
Unemployment Rate: 12.1%
Poverty Rate: 29.6%
Frostburg, unfortunately, ranks as the poorest place in Maryland thanks to combination of low pay and and a lack of jobs.
The city of 8,718 people averages the 2nd lowest median household income in Maryland and the 1st 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.
Population: 12,552Median Income: $36,600
Unemployment Rate: 10.9%
Poverty Rate: 27.3%
The second poorest city in Maryland is Cambridge.
The city ranks as having the 4th highest incidence of poverty and 3rd lowest median household income. However, the unemployment rate ‘only’ ranks as the 5th highest in the Old Line State.
Population: 20,290Median Income: $31,855
Unemployment Rate: 10.6%
Poverty Rate: 24.0%
Placing as the third poorest city, Cumberland’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 24.0% 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 Old Line State.
Population: 40,325Median Income: $40,342
Unemployment Rate: 10.4%
Poverty Rate: 27.3%
Hagerstown ranks as the fourth poorest place in Maryland.
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.
Population: 621,000Median Income: $44,262
Unemployment Rate: 11.4%
Poverty Rate: 23.1%
The fifth poorest city in Maryland is Baltimore.
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 8th highest in Maryland.
Still not the best news for Baltimore.
Population: 32,338Median Income: $37,780
Unemployment Rate: 7.7%
Poverty Rate: 27.8%
Salisbury ranks as the sixth poorest place in the Old Line State.
It ranks as having the 2nd highest incidence of poverty and the 16th highest unemployment rate.
Population: 9,505Median Income: $44,236
Unemployment Rate: 8.0%
Poverty Rate: 20.1%
Bladensburg places as the seventh poorest city in Maryland.
The city of over 9,505 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.
8. Mount Rainier
Population: 8,364Median Income: $50,345
Unemployment Rate: 7.8%
Poverty Rate: 12.0%
Mount Rainier ranks as the eighth poorest city in Maryland.
The big issue for the town is the unemployment rate which ranks as the 15th highest in the state.
Population: 5,122 Median Income: $38,813
Unemployment Rate: 5.1%
Poverty Rate: 24.8%
Cheste couldn’t stay out of the top ten poorest places in Maryland; it ranks number 9.
While the median income is the 5th lowest, there are a substantial number of people that live below the poverty line. Overall, Cheste ranks as having the 6th most people living in poverty of all the places we analyzed in Maryland.
10. New Carrollton
Population: 12,727Median Income: $60,645
Unemployment Rate: 11.7%
Poverty Rate: 9.9%
And rounding out the top ten poorest cities in Maryland is New Carrollton.
The city of 12,727 people ranks in the bottom 20% for both median income and poverty rate in the Old Line State.
There You Have It – The Poorest Places In Maryland For 2018
Like we said earlier, when we set out to identify the poorest places in Maryland, we weren’t sure what we’d encounter, but it ended up being some of the best places to live in Maryland.
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 Maryland, according to data:
2nd Richest: Mount Airy
3rd Richest: Hampstead
For more Maryland reading , check out:
Detailed List Of The Poorest Cities In Maryland
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