Poorest Cities In Maryland For 2021


We analyzed the cities and towns in Maryland 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 2021. This is our seventh time ranking the poorest places in Maryland.

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.

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 Maryland? According to the facts, Cumberland is the poorest place in Maryland for 2021.

Rich people more your cup of tea? Feel free to check out the best places in Maryland 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 Maryland reading, check out:

The 10 Poorest Cities In Maryland For 2021

1. Cumberland

Cumberland, MD

Source: Public domain
Overall SnackAbility

4
/10

Population: 19,650
Rank Last Year: 2 (Up 1)
Median Income: $36,145 (lowest)
Unemployment Rate: 8.3% (6th highest)
Poverty Rate: 23.5% (4th highest)
More on Cumberland:  Data | Photos

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

The city of 19,650 people averages the lowest median household income in Maryland 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.

2. Frostburg

Frostburg, MD

Overall SnackAbility

7
/10

Population: 8,591
Rank Last Year: 1 (Down 1)
Median Income: $42,699 (4th lowest)
Unemployment Rate: 11.1% (3rd highest)
Poverty Rate: 23.2% (5th highest)
More on Frostburg:  Data | Photos

The second poorest city in Maryland is Frostburg.

The city ranks as having the 5th highest incidence of poverty and 4th lowest median household income. However, the unemployment rate 'only' ranks as the 3rd highest in the Old Line State.

3. Hagerstown

Hagerstown, MD

Source: Public domain
Overall SnackAbility

4
/10

Population: 40,152
Rank Last Year: 3 (No Change)
Median Income: $40,800 (2nd lowest)
Unemployment Rate: 7.6% (9th highest)
Poverty Rate: 25.7% (2nd highest)
More on Hagerstown:  Data | Photos

Placing as the third poorest city, Hagerstown's median income ranks as the 2nd 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 25.651688812252765% 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.

4. Salisbury

Salisbury, MD

Overall SnackAbility

6
/10

Population: 32,693
Rank Last Year: 5 (Up 1)
Median Income: $41,905 (3rd lowest)
Unemployment Rate: 8.3% (8th highest)
Poverty Rate: 24.7% (3rd highest)
More on Salisbury:  Data | Photos

Salisbury ranks as the fourth poorest place in Maryland.

The town ranks as having the 3rd lowest median household income and the 3rd 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. Cambridge

Cambridge, MD

Overall SnackAbility

6
/10

Population: 12,375
Rank Last Year: 4 (Down 1)
Median Income: $43,120 (5th lowest)
Unemployment Rate: 9.5% (5th highest)
Poverty Rate: 21.3% (6th highest)
More on Cambridge:  Data | Photos

The fifth poorest city in Maryland is Cambridge.

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 6th highest in Maryland.

Still not the best news for Cambridge.

6. Baltimore

Baltimore, MD

Overall SnackAbility

5
/10

Population: 609,032
Rank Last Year: 6 (No Change)
Median Income: $50,379 (8th lowest)
Unemployment Rate: 8.3% (7th highest)
Poverty Rate: 21.2% (7th highest)
More on Baltimore:  Data | Photos

Baltimore ranks as the sixth poorest place in the Old Line State.

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

7. Fruitland

Fruitland, MD

Overall SnackAbility

6
/10

Population: 5,244
Rank Last Year: 7 (No Change)
Median Income: $56,964 (12th lowest)
Unemployment Rate: 12.6% (2nd highest)
Poverty Rate: 16.8% (10th highest)
More on Fruitland:  Data | Photos

Fruitland places as the seventh poorest city in Maryland.

The city of over 5,244 ranks as having the 10th 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. Bladensburg

Bladensburg, MD

Source: Public domain
Overall SnackAbility

6
/10

Population: 9,402
Rank Last Year: 10 (Up 2)
Median Income: $44,905 (6th lowest)
Unemployment Rate: 7.3% (10th highest)
Poverty Rate: 13.6% (12th highest)
More on Bladensburg:  Data | Photos

Bladensburg ranks as the eighth poorest city in Maryland.

The big issue for the town is the unemployment rate which ranks as the 10th highest in the state.

9. Elkton

Elkton, MD

Source: Public domain
Overall SnackAbility

5
/10

Population: 15,644
Rank Last Year: 9 (No Change)
Median Income: $56,250 (11th lowest)
Unemployment Rate: 6.2% (14th highest)
Poverty Rate: 21.1% (8th highest)
More on Elkton:  Data | Photos

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

While the median income is the 11th lowest, there are a substantial number of people that live below the poverty line. Overall, Elkton ranks as having the 8th most people living in poverty of all the places we analyzed in Maryland.

10. District Heights

District Heights, MD

Overall SnackAbility

8
/10

Population: 6,000
Rank Last Year: 8 (Down 2)
Median Income: $77,278 (23rd lowest)
Unemployment Rate: 13.3% (highest)
Poverty Rate: 13.1% (13th highest)
More on District Heights:  Data | Photos

And rounding out the top ten poorest cities in Maryland is District Heights.

The city of 6,000 people ranks in the bottom 20% for both median income and poverty rate in the Old Line State.

How We Determined The Poorest Places In Maryland for 2021

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 2015-2019 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, Cumberland, crowned the "Poorest Place In Maryland For 2021". You can download the data here.

There You Have It - The Poorest Places In Maryland For 2021

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:

    Richest: Mount Airy
    2nd Richest: Chesapeake Beach
    3rd Richest: Poolesville

For more Maryland reading, check out:

Detailed List Of The Poorest Places To Live In Maryland

Rank City Population Poverty Rate
1 Cumberland 19,650 23.5%
2 Frostburg 8,591 23.2%
3 Hagerstown 40,152 25.7%
4 Salisbury 32,693 24.7%
5 Cambridge 12,375 21.3%
6 Baltimore 609,032 21.2%
7 Fruitland 5,244 16.8%
8 Bladensburg 9,402 13.6%
9 Elkton 15,644 21.1%
10 District Heights 6,000 13.1%
11 Mount Rainier 8,107 9.0%
12 College Park 32,159 26.7%
13 New Carrollton 12,935 7.6%
14 Westminster 18,552 11.5%
15 Aberdeen 15,848 16.9%
16 Ocean City 6,972 7.6%
17 Havre De Grace 13,652 10.1%
18 Cheste 5,088 15.9%
19 Frederick 70,887 11.1%
20 Greenbelt 23,219 10.2%
21 Riverdale Park 7,198 10.3%
22 Brunswick 6,258 8.5%
23 Bel Air 10,071 11.7%
24 Annapolis 39,278 11.0%
25 Hampstead 6,362 5.8%
26 Takoma Park 17,672 8.8%
27 Easton 16,591 9.0%
28 Glenarden 6,140 8.6%
29 Gaithersburg 67,742 9.5%
30 Taneytown 6,787 10.0%
31 Hyattsville 18,242 11.0%
32 Laurel 25,767 7.4%
33 Cheverly 6,435 4.7%
34 Thurmont 6,638 6.3%
35 Walkersville 6,179 9.0%
36 Rockville 67,542 6.3%
37 La Plata 9,376 4.3%
38 Bowie 58,481 3.2%
39 Poolesville 5,191 1.5%
40 Chesapeake Beach 5,960 4.2%
41 Mount Airy 9,397 5.6%

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