Poorest Cities In Missouri For 2020


We used science and data to determine which places in Missouri are basically dead broke.

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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 Missouri.

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Missouri brings to mind images of Jefferson City, beautiful landscapes, and some of the best people you'll find in the good ole US of A.

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

To do so, we analyzed the newest Census data from the American Community Survey for the 129 places in Missouri 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 Missouri? According to the facts, Caruthersville is the poorest place in Missouri for 2020.

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

The 10 Poorest Cities In Missouri For 2020

Caruthersville, MO

Source: Public domain
Overall SnackAbility

1
/10

Population: 5,760
Rank Last Year: 1 (No Change)
Median Income: $29,087 (2nd lowest)
Unemployment Rate: 15.3% (1st highest)
Poverty Rate: 30.8% (4th highest)
More on Caruthersville:  Data | Photos

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

The city of 5,760 people averages the 2nd lowest median household income in Missouri 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.

Charleston, MO

Source: Public domain
Overall SnackAbility

5
/10

Population: 5,704
Rank Last Year: 2 (No Change)
Median Income: $30,388 (4th lowest)
Unemployment Rate: 11.2% (3rd highest)
Poverty Rate: 27.6% (5th highest)
More on Charleston:  Data | Photos

The second poorest city in Missouri is Charleston.

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 Show Me State.

Kirksville, MO

Overall SnackAbility

5
/10

Population: 17,483
Rank Last Year: 6 (Up 3)
Median Income: $28,888 (1st lowest)
Unemployment Rate: 8.0% (16th highest)
Poverty Rate: 34.1% (1st highest)
More on Kirksville:  Data | Photos

Placing as the third poorest city, Kirksville'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 34.14733139416898% 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 Show Me State.

Poplar Bluff, MO

Overall SnackAbility

3
/10

Population: 17,107
Rank Last Year: 4 (No Change)
Median Income: $29,733 (3rd lowest)
Unemployment Rate: 8.8% (9th highest)
Poverty Rate: 26.4% (9th highest)
More on Poplar Bluff:  Data | Photos

Poplar Bluff ranks as the fourth poorest place in Missouri.

The town ranks as having the 3rd lowest median household income and the 9th 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.

Jennings, MO

Source: Public domain
Overall SnackAbility

4
/10

Population: 14,794
Rank Last Year: 3 (Down 2)
Median Income: $32,383 (5th lowest)
Unemployment Rate: 10.5% (5th highest)
Poverty Rate: 21.0% (29th highest)
More on Jennings:  Data | Photos

The fifth poorest city in Missouri is Jennings.

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 29th highest in Missouri.

Still not the best news for Jennings.

Kennett, MO

Overall SnackAbility

3
/10

Population: 10,225
Rank Last Year: 8 (Up 2)
Median Income: $33,853 (7th lowest)
Unemployment Rate: 6.9% (29th highest)
Poverty Rate: 27.3% (6th highest)
More on Kennett:  Data | Photos

Kennett ranks as the sixth poorest place in the Show Me State.

It ranks as having the 6th highest incidence of poverty and the 29th highest unemployment rate.

Park Hills, MO

Overall SnackAbility

4
/10

Population: 8,568
Rank Last Year: 9 (Up 2)
Median Income: $34,463 (10th lowest)
Unemployment Rate: 7.0% (27th highest)
Poverty Rate: 26.6% (8th highest)
More on Park Hills:  Data | Photos

Park Hills places as the seventh poorest city in Missouri.

The city of over 8,568 ranks as having the 8th highest incidence of poverty in the state. However, it has a very low cost of living which helps to pay the bills each month.

Clinton, MO

Overall SnackAbility

5
/10

Population: 9,107
Rank Last Year: 7 (Down 1)
Median Income: $36,751 (16th lowest)
Unemployment Rate: 7.5% (21st highest)
Poverty Rate: 24.9% (11th highest)
More on Clinton:  Data | Photos

Clinton ranks as the eighth poorest city in Missouri.

The big issue for the town is the unemployment rate which ranks as the 21st highest in the state.

Sedalia, MO

Source: Public domain
Overall SnackAbility

3
/10

Population: 21,642
Rank Last Year: 15 (Up 6)
Median Income: $37,983 (18th lowest)
Unemployment Rate: 8.7% (11th highest)
Poverty Rate: 21.6% (26th highest)
More on Sedalia:  Data | Photos

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

While the median income is the 18th lowest, there are a substantial number of people that live below the poverty line. Overall, Sedalia ranks as having the 26th most people living in poverty of all the places we analyzed in Missouri.

Overall SnackAbility

4
/10

Population: 6,390
Rank Last Year: 14 (Up 4)
Median Income: $38,585 (21st lowest)
Unemployment Rate: 9.6% (8th highest)
Poverty Rate: 21.2% (27th highest)
More on De Soto:  Data

And rounding out the top ten poorest cities in Missouri is De Soto.

The city of 6,390 people ranks in the bottom 20% for both median income and poverty rate in the Show Me State.

How We Determined The Poorest Places In Missouri 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 129 places with more than 5,000 people in Missouri, we ranked each place from 1 to 129 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, Caruthersville, crowned the "Poorest Place In Missouri For 2020". You can download the data here.

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

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

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 Missouri, according to data:

    Richest: Ladue
    2nd Richest: Des Peres
    3rd Richest: Glendale

For more Missouri reading, check out:

Detailed List Of The Poorest Places To Live In Missouri

Rank City Population Poverty Rate
1 Caruthersville 5,760 30.8%
2 Charleston 5,704 27.6%
3 Kirksville 17,483 34.1%
4 Poplar Bluff 17,107 26.4%
5 Jennings 14,794 21.0%
6 Kennett 10,225 27.3%
7 Park Hills 8,568 26.6%
8 Clinton 9,107 24.9%
9 Sedalia 21,642 21.6%
10 De Soto 6,390 21.2%
11 Berkeley 8,991 17.0%
12 Carthage 14,690 26.7%
13 St. Louis 311,273 24.2%
14 Rolla 20,117 31.1%
15 Springfield 166,633 24.8%
16 Ferguson 20,931 21.6%
17 Mexico 11,544 18.9%
18 Waynesville 5,262 24.0%
19 Lebanon 14,637 21.6%
20 Sikeston 16,366 24.3%
21 Maryville 11,771 32.4%
22 Hannibal 17,575 20.7%
23 Harrisonville 10,023 22.2%
24 Sullivan 6,496 17.9%
25 Dexter 7,885 19.9%
26 Aurora 7,435 14.2%
27 Branson 11,345 20.1%
28 Bellefontaine Neighbors 10,613 19.2%
29 Warrensburg 20,025 24.8%
30 Macon 5,379 16.2%
31 Marshfield 7,226 14.7%
32 Moberly 13,762 18.1%
33 Cape Girardeau 39,323 23.4%
34 Monett 8,917 22.1%
35 Neosho 12,009 23.9%
36 Fulton 12,799 21.8%
37 Joplin 50,073 18.2%
38 St. Ann 12,853 15.2%
39 Webb City 11,572 19.2%
40 Boonville 8,410 12.8%
41 St. Joseph 76,465 18.6%
42 West Plains 12,222 25.8%
43 Warrenton 8,129 19.3%
44 Columbia 120,248 22.2%
45 Grandview 25,174 15.1%
46 Cameron 9,665 19.9%
47 Richmond 5,606 19.5%
48 Chillicothe 9,136 22.6%
49 Overland 15,787 15.7%
50 Nevada 8,252 16.2%
51 Bowling Green 5,501 15.4%
52 St. John 6,432 12.3%
53 Kansas City 481,417 16.5%
54 Independence 117,207 14.5%
55 Pacific 6,329 13.0%
56 Marshall 13,001 18.4%
57 Festus 11,970 9.4%
58 Bolivar 10,760 15.4%
59 Bonne Terre 7,110 10.4%
60 Pleasant Hill 8,418 16.4%
61 Florissant 51,744 9.9%
62 Trenton 5,846 16.6%
63 Republic 16,044 15.3%
64 Jackson 14,826 12.4%
65 Bridgeton 11,690 12.7%
66 Excelsior Springs 11,575 14.0%
67 Hazelwood 25,399 11.7%
68 University City 34,653 15.5%
69 Black Jack 6,943 11.1%
70 Gladstone 26,995 12.9%
71 Odessa 5,189 15.0%
72 Farmington 18,269 11.8%
73 St. Robert 5,767 21.1%
74 Raytown 29,216 12.4%
75 Jefferson City 43,013 13.5%
76 Nixa 21,113 10.7%
77 Maplewood 8,008 14.1%
78 Maryland Heights 27,128 10.8%
79 Ozark 19,418 9.2%
80 Peculiar 5,006 7.5%
81 Pevely 5,784 18.7%
82 Arnold 21,107 10.2%
83 Perryville 8,403 10.8%
84 Smithville 9,541 5.2%
85 Union 11,274 11.1%
86 Belton 23,348 9.6%
87 Savannah 5,124 11.1%
88 Troy 11,771 8.5%
89 Oak Grove 8,008 11.0%
90 Manchester 18,189 7.5%
91 Valley Park 6,832 9.5%
92 St. Charles 69,576 9.3%
93 Blue Springs 54,370 7.9%
94 Richmond Heights 8,457 6.3%
95 Ellisville 9,581 5.4%
96 Crestwood 11,881 6.4%
97 St. Peters 56,838 3.5%
98 Battlefield 6,104 7.4%
99 Grain Valley 13,715 6.3%
100 Willard 5,453 7.1%

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