These Are The 10 Poorest Cities In New York For 2018


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

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New York brings to mind images of Albany, beautiful landscapes, and some of the best people you’ll find in the good ole US of A.

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

To do so, we analyzed the newest Census data from the American Community Survey for the 169 places in New York with more than 5,000 people.

We were left with this set of the ten poorest places in the Empire State for 2018:

  1. Monticello (Photos)
  2. New Square (Photos)
  3. Rochester (Photos)
  4. Binghamton (Photos)
  5. Newburgh (Photos)
  6. Utica (Photos)
  7. Syracuse (Photos)
  8. Salamanca (Photos)
  9. Buffalo (Photos)
  10. Massena (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, Monticello is the poorest place in New York for 2018.

Rich people not your cup of tea? Feel free to check out the richest places in New York or the most dangerous.

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 New York 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 169 places with more than 5,000 people in New York, we ranked each place from 1 to 169 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, Monticello, crowned the ‘Poorest Place In New York For 2018’.

You can learn more about the top ten below or skip to the end to see the rankings for all 169 places.

1. Monticello

Monticello, New York

Population: 6,577
Median Income: $26,786
Unemployment Rate: 15.9%
Poverty Rate: 32.2%
More on Monticello: Add A Comment | Data | Jobs

Monticello, unfortunately, ranks as the poorest place in New York thanks to combination of low pay and and a lack of jobs.

The city of 6,577 people averages the 4th lowest median household income in New York and the 10th 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. New Square

New Square, New York

Source: Public domain

Population: 7,804
Median Income: $21,773
Unemployment Rate: 11.7%
Poverty Rate: 70.0%
More on New Square: Add A Comment | Data | Jobs

The second poorest city in New York is New Square.

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 15th highest in the Empire State.

3. Rochester

Rochester, New York

Population: 210,291
Median Income: $31,684
Unemployment Rate: 13.0%
Poverty Rate: 32.8%
More on Rochester: Add A Comment | Data | Jobs

Placing as the third poorest city, Rochester’s median income ranks as the 12th 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 32.8% 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 Empire State.

User comment that mentions Rochester: This is so wrong. I lived in the Rochester suburbs, a block away from Rochester city proper and let me tell you some great things about living in Rachcha: ||||You can get anywhere in 15 minutes. ||Wegmans||Great cultural assets: the Memorial Art Gallery, the Rochester Symphony, the Eastman School of Music, not to mention top summer festivals: the Xerox International Jazz Festival is 10 days long and is one of the best in the country||Great public schools in the suburbs, that is||Affordable housing in a relatively stable housing market||Up and coming areas in the South Wedge, Park Avenue, East Avenue||Yes, sadly there are no jobs and that is why we had to move away, but don’t trash Rochester, it’s the state’s best kept secret

Your comment could be here. Add a comment on a city or town.

4. Binghamton

Binghamton, New York

Population: 46,277
Median Income: $30,183
Unemployment Rate: 10.8%
Poverty Rate: 33.6%
More on Binghamton: Add A Comment | Data | Jobs

Binghamton ranks as the fourth poorest place in New York.

The town ranks as having the 7th lowest median household income and the 6th 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. Newburgh

Newburgh, New York

Population: 28,406
Median Income: $33,469
Unemployment Rate: 11.9%
Poverty Rate: 33.0%
More on Newburgh: Add A Comment | Data | Jobs

The fifth poorest city in New York is Newburgh.

The city ranks as having the 17th 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 New York.

Still not the best news for Newburgh.

6. Utica

Utica, New York

Population: 61,337
Median Income: $32,201
Unemployment Rate: 11.9%
Poverty Rate: 31.2%
More on Utica: Add A Comment | Data | Jobs

Utica ranks as the sixth poorest place in the Empire State.

It ranks as having the 13th highest incidence of poverty and the 12th highest unemployment rate.

User comment that mentions Utica: A lot of people like to talk smack about Utica, but I like to believe thatthey aremostly people who don’t really understand our fair city. Utica is aunique place with a lot more to offer than meets the eye, butwe also have challengesthat other cities might not have to deal with or understand. So, let me tell you a bit about my hometown!

Your comment could be here. Add a comment on a city or town.

7. Syracuse

Syracuse, New York

Population: 144,350
Median Income: $32,704
Unemployment Rate: 10.7%
Poverty Rate: 33.6%
More on Syracuse: Add A Comment | Data | Jobs

Syracuse places as the seventh poorest city in New York.

The city of over 144,350 ranks as having the 6th highest incidence of poverty in the state. However, it has a very low cost of living which helps to pay the bills each month.

User comment that mentions Syracuse: Rochester IS a GREAT PLACE to live ! Trust me I lived in Syracuse – the armpit of the universe. Rochester is cosmopolitan – non-judgmental, progressive. Cant comment on cost of living RE: retirement. Namaste – David

Your comment could be here. Add a comment on a city or town.

8. Salamanca

Salamanca, New York

Population: 5,638
Median Income: $30,921
Unemployment Rate: 12.0%
Poverty Rate: 27.0%
More on Salamanca: Add A Comment | Data | Jobs

Salamanca ranks as the eighth poorest city in New York.

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

9. Buffalo

Buffalo, New York

Population: 258,989
Median Income: $33,119
Unemployment Rate: 9.9%
Poverty Rate: 31.2%
More on Buffalo: Add A Comment | Data | Jobs

Buffalo couldn’t stay out of the top ten poorest places in New York; 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, Buffalo ranks as having the 13th most people living in poverty of all the places we analyzed in New York.

10. Massena

Massena, New York

Population: 11,000
Median Income: $34,330
Unemployment Rate: 15.2%
Poverty Rate: 24.4%
More on Massena: Add A Comment | Data | Jobs

And rounding out the top ten poorest cities in New York is Massena.

The city of 11,000 people ranks in the bottom 20% for both median income and poverty rate in the Empire State.

There You Have It – The Poorest Places In New York For 2018

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

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 New York, according to data:

Richest: North Hills
2nd Richest: Scarsdale
3rd Richest: Lawrence

For more New York reading , check out:

  • 10 Cheapest Places To Live In New York
  • 10 Worst Places To Live In New York State
  • 10 Most Dangerous Places In New York
  • Detailed List Of The Poorest Cities In New York

    Rank City Poverty Rate
    1 Monticello 32.2%
    2 New Square 70.0%
    3 Rochester 32.8%
    4 Binghamton 33.6%
    5 Newburgh 33.0%
    6 Utica 31.2%
    7 Syracuse 33.6%
    8 Salamanca 27.0%
    9 Buffalo 31.2%
    10 Massena 24.4%
    11 Gloversville 27.7%
    12 Jamestown 30.1%
    13 New Paltz 31.9%
    14 Niagara Falls 27.2%
    15 Fulton 26.6%
    16 Elmira 31.7%
    17 Dunkirk 28.2%
    18 Amsterdam 27.8%
    19 Potsdam 29.0%
    20 Poughkeepsie 22.6%
    21 Newark 20.9%
    22 Oswego 28.9%
    23 Albion 27.4%
    24 Ithaca 44.8%
    25 Lackawanna 24.3%
    26 Troy 25.5%
    27 Hornell 23.7%
    28 Hudson Falls 23.1%
    29 Spring Valley 26.4%
    30 Endicott 19.6%
    31 Ogdensburg 22.3%
    32 Oneonta 29.0%
    33 Ilion 20.1%
    34 Schenectady 21.1%
    35 Brockport 29.5%
    36 Watertown 24.2%
    37 Kaser 77.7%
    38 Hudson 25.2%
    39 Malone 28.1%
    40 Kiryas Joel 55.7%
    41 Rensselaer 18.2%
    42 Auburn 16.2%
    43 Albany 25.6%
    44 Norwich 24.9%
    45 Canton 20.4%
    46 Bath 18.2%
    47 North Syracuse 12.6%
    48 Herkimer 16.7%
    49 Geneseo 43.0%
    50 Kingston 18.1%
    51 Fredonia 23.8%
    52 Plattsburgh 25.8%
    53 Olean 22.5%
    54 Geneva 21.7%
    55 Mount Vernon 16.0%
    56 Port Jervis 18.1%
    57 New York 20.3%
    58 Saranac Lake 20.0%
    59 Sleepy Hollow 21.3%
    60 Cohoes 15.0%
    61 Glens Falls 16.0%
    62 Johnstown 15.6%
    63 Mastic Beach 15.2%
    64 Oneida 17.7%
    65 Johnson City 17.8%
    66 Haverstraw 15.3%
    67 Yonkers 17.0%
    68 Medina 11.1%
    69 East Rochester 16.4%
    70 Lockport 15.8%
    71 Hempstead 20.3%
    72 Canandaigua 16.3%
    73 Mechanicville 16.0%
    74 Watervliet 15.7%
    75 Peekskill 12.4%
    76 Batavia 20.8%
    77 Cortland 22.4%
    78 North Tonawanda 9.4%
    79 Middletown 16.8%
    80 Rome 18.8%
    81 Port Chester 12.9%
    82 Beacon 9.9%
    83 Webster 26.7%
    84 Lancaster 8.3%
    85 Solvay 14.8%
    86 Walden 10.1%
    87 Ballston Spa 8.1%
    88 Corning 16.5%
    89 Ossining 11.8%
    90 New Rochelle 11.4%
    91 West Haverstraw 12.4%
    92 Baldwinsville 7.7%
    93 Patchogue 16.1%
    94 Valley Stream 7.0%
    95 Freeport 13.5%
    96 Nyack 19.0%
    97 Rye Brook 8.1%
    98 Mount Kisco 12.1%
    99 Hilton 9.1%
    100 Depew 8.9%

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