These Are The 10 Poorest Cities In Missouri For 2019


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

Join RoadSnacks
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 Missouri.

Swipe left for slideshow. Article continues below.

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.

We were left with this set of the ten poorest places in the Show Me State for 2019:

  1. Caruthersville (Photos)
  2. Charleston (Photos)
  3. Jennings (Photos)
  4. Poplar Bluff (Photos)
  5. Berkeley (Photos)
  6. Kirksville (Photos)
  7. Clinton (Photos)
  8. Kennett (Photos)
  9. Park Hills (Photos)
  10. Dexter (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, Caruthersville is the poorest place in Missouri for 2019.

Rich people not 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:

How We Determined The Poorest Places In Missouri 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 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 2019”.

You can learn more about the top ten below or skip to the end to see the rankings for all 129 places.

Caruthersville, MO

Source: Public domain
Overall SnackAbility

1
/10

Population: 5,859
Rank Last Year: 2 (Up 1)
Median Income: $27,244 (1st lowest)
Unemployment Rate: 17.1% (2nd 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 5,859 people averages the 1st 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: 5,765
Rank Last Year: 1 (No Change)
Median Income: $27,875 (3rd lowest)
Unemployment Rate: 15.6% (3rd highest)
Poverty Rate: 38.6% (1st highest)
More on Charleston:  Data | Photos

The second poorest city in Missouri is Charleston.

The city ranks as having the 1st highest incidence of poverty and 3rd lowest median household income. However, the unemployment rate ‘only’ ranks as the 3rd highest in the Show Me State.

Jennings, MO

Source: Public domain
Overall SnackAbility

4
/10

Population: 14,743
Rank Last Year: 4 (Up 1)
Median Income: $30,947 (4th lowest)
Unemployment Rate: 18.2% (1st highest)
Poverty Rate: 25.0% (14th highest)
More on Jennings:  Data | Photos

Placing as the third poorest city, Jennings’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 25.0% 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 Show Me State.

Poplar Bluff, MO

Overall SnackAbility

3
/10

Population: 17,112
Rank Last Year: 11 (Up 7)
Median Income: $32,819 (8th lowest)
Unemployment Rate: 8.6% (18th highest)
Poverty Rate: 25.5% (12th highest)
More on Poplar Bluff:  Data | Photos

Poplar Bluff ranks as the fourth poorest place in Missouri.

The town ranks as having the 8th lowest median household income and the 12th 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.

Berkeley, MO

Source: Public domain
Overall SnackAbility

5
/10

Population: 9,014
Rank Last Year: 3 (Down 2)
Median Income: $32,589 (7th lowest)
Unemployment Rate: 12.3% (6th highest)
Poverty Rate: 21.9% (30th highest)
More on Berkeley:  Data | Photos

The fifth poorest city in Missouri is Berkeley.

The city ranks as having the 7th 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 30th highest in Missouri.

Still not the best news for Berkeley.

Kirksville, MO

Overall SnackAbility

5
/10

Population: 17,519
Rank Last Year: 6 (No Change)
Median Income: $27,667 (2nd lowest)
Unemployment Rate: 6.5% (40th highest)
Poverty Rate: 34.2% (2nd highest)
More on Kirksville:  Data | Photos

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

It ranks as having the 2nd highest incidence of poverty and the 40th highest unemployment rate.

Clinton, MO

Overall SnackAbility

5
/10

Population: 9,088
Rank Last Year: 22 (Up 15)
Median Income: $36,091 (20th lowest)
Unemployment Rate: 8.6% (18th highest)
Poverty Rate: 27.5% (8th highest)
More on Clinton:  Data | Photos

Clinton places as the seventh poorest city in Missouri.

The city of over 9,088 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.

Kennett, MO

Overall SnackAbility

3
/10

Population: 10,271
Rank Last Year: 5 (Down 3)
Median Income: $30,973 (5th lowest)
Unemployment Rate: 6.8% (37th highest)
Poverty Rate: 29.7% (6th highest)
More on Kennett:  Data | Photos

Kennett ranks as the eighth poorest city in Missouri.

The big issue for the town is the unemployment rate which ranks as the 37th highest in the state.

Park Hills, MO

Overall SnackAbility

4
/10

Population: 8,592
Rank Last Year: 8 (Down 1)
Median Income: $36,868 (23rd lowest)
Unemployment Rate: 8.8% (16th highest)
Poverty Rate: 25.9% (10th highest)
More on Park Hills:  Data | Photos

Park Hills couldn’t stay out of the top ten poorest places in Missouri; it ranks number 9.

While the median income is the 23rd lowest, there are a substantial number of people that live below the poverty line. Overall, Park Hills ranks as having the 10th most people living in poverty of all the places we analyzed in Missouri.

Dexter, MO

Overall SnackAbility

4
/10

Population: 7,887
Rank Last Year: 9 (Down 1)
Median Income: $33,813 (11th lowest)
Unemployment Rate: 10.3% (13th highest)
Poverty Rate: 22.2% (27th highest)
More on Dexter:  Data | Photos

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

The city of 7,887 people ranks in the bottom 20% for both median income and poverty rate in the Show Me State.

There You Have It – The Poorest Places In Missouri For 2019

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: Glendale
    3rd Richest: Eureka

For more Missouri reading, check out:

Detailed List Of The Poorest Places To Live In Missouri

Rank City Population Poverty Rate
1 Caruthersville 5,859 30.8%
2 Charleston 5,765 38.6%
3 Jennings 14,743 25.0%
4 Poplar Bluff 17,112 25.5%
5 Berkeley 9,014 21.9%
6 Kirksville 17,519 34.2%
7 Clinton 9,088 27.5%
8 Kennett 10,271 29.7%
9 Park Hills 8,592 25.9%
10 Dexter 7,887 22.2%
11 St. Louis 314,867 25.0%
12 Macon 5,412 20.2%
13 Lebanon 14,610 24.5%
14 De Soto 6,399 21.1%
15 Sedalia 21,477 22.6%
16 Carthage 14,280 30.7%
17 Springfield 165,785 25.7%
18 Maryville 11,855 31.2%
19 Sullivan 6,587 18.0%
20 Rolla 20,013 28.9%
21 Ferguson 20,927 22.5%
22 Hannibal 17,551 21.6%
23 Warrensburg 19,890 27.1%
24 Moberly 13,775 21.6%
25 Dellwood 5,005 19.1%
26 Bellefontaine Neighbors 10,751 22.8%
27 Sikeston 16,482 22.1%
28 Mexico 11,528 18.5%
29 Aurora 7,431 13.0%
30 Cape Girardeau 39,092 24.6%
31 Branson 11,228 20.0%
32 Fulton 12,807 22.1%
33 Monett 8,861 22.8%
34 Harrisonville 10,025 17.4%
35 Marshfield 7,080 16.1%
36 Nevada 8,248 19.2%
37 Neosho 11,983 21.4%
38 Warrenton 8,091 21.0%
39 Chillicothe 9,138 24.4%
40 Joplin 51,540 17.9%
41 Bowling Green 5,479 22.6%
42 Waynesville 5,291 15.8%
43 West Plains 12,218 24.8%
44 Columbia 118,620 22.9%
45 St. Ann 12,864 13.3%
46 St. Joseph 76,819 18.8%
47 Overland 15,901 17.6%
48 Independence 117,369 16.0%
49 Hazelwood 25,505 13.6%
50 Grandview 25,226 16.5%
51 Pleasant Hill 8,321 17.2%
52 Festus 11,910 10.5%
53 Marshall 12,865 19.1%
54 Webb City 11,148 15.8%
55 Excelsior Springs 11,555 15.3%
56 Kansas City 476,974 17.3%
57 Bolivar 10,654 16.7%
58 Trenton 5,915 22.5%
59 Richmond 5,609 21.2%
60 Bonne Terre 7,138 8.5%
61 St. John 6,426 12.1%
62 Black Jack 6,941 10.8%
63 Bridgeton 11,712 13.6%
64 University City 34,922 15.8%
65 Odessa 5,200 16.9%
66 Ozark 19,091 11.0%
67 Florissant 51,952 9.0%
68 Boonville 8,388 13.8%
69 Republic 15,890 16.0%
70 Gladstone 26,738 15.0%
71 Pevely 5,721 22.8%
72 Jefferson City 43,092 15.6%
73 Raytown 29,334 12.5%
74 Maplewood 7,975 14.5%
75 Perryville 8,366 11.0%
76 Pacific 6,294 14.3%
77 Cameron 9,904 19.4%
78 Farmington 18,047 13.2%
79 Jackson 14,690 13.3%
80 Arnold 21,102 10.8%
81 Nixa 20,757 10.7%
82 Savannah 5,111 10.8%
83 Union 11,041 10.9%
84 Belton 23,299 10.0%
85 Smithville 9,274 5.0%
86 Maryland Heights 27,246 9.9%
87 Troy 11,505 11.6%
88 Oak Grove 7,921 8.5%
89 St. Charles 69,026 9.8%
90 St. Robert 5,658 12.0%
91 Ellisville 9,463 6.0%
92 Shrewsbury 6,180 8.8%
93 Crestwood 11,921 4.8%
94 Liberty 30,602 8.3%
95 Manchester 18,130 7.2%
96 Greenwood 5,771 7.8%
97 Blue Springs 54,036 8.3%
98 Valley Park 6,939 8.7%
99 Olivette 7,830 3.5%
100 Willard 5,426 6.2%

Like RoadSnacks on Facebook:

 Poorest 

One thought on “These Are The 10 Poorest Cities In Missouri For 2019

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *