Poorest Cities In Pennsylvania For 2020


We used science and data to determine which places in Pennsylvania 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 Pennsylvania.

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

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

To do so, we analyzed the newest Census data from the American Community Survey for the 187 places in Pennsylvania with more than 5,000 people.

Here are the ten poorest places in Pennsylvania for 2020:

  1. Johnstown (Photos)
  2. Duquesne (Photos)
  3. Reading (Photos)
  4. Indiana (Photos)
  5. York (Photos)
  6. McKeesport (Photos)
  7. Chester (Photos)
  8. Uniontown (Photos)
  9. Clairton (Photos)
  10. Shamokin (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.

What's the poorst city in Pennsylvania? According to the facts, Johnstown is the poorest place in Pennsylvania for 2020.

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

The 10 Poorest Cities In Pennsylvania For 2020

Johnstown, PA

Overall SnackAbility

4
/10

Population: 19,812
Rank Last Year: 1 (No Change)
Median Income: $24,294 (1st lowest)
Unemployment Rate: 14.2% (4th highest)
Poverty Rate: 38.7% (4th highest)
More on Johnstown:  Data | Photos

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

The city of 19,812 people averages the 1st lowest median household income in Pennsylvania 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.

Duquesne, PA

Overall SnackAbility

3
/10

Population: 5,544
Rank Last Year: 2 (No Change)
Median Income: $26,532 (3rd lowest)
Unemployment Rate: 13.6% (6th highest)
Poverty Rate: 40.2% (3rd highest)
More on Duquesne:  Data | Photos

The second poorest city in Pennsylvania is Duquesne.

The city ranks as having the 3rd highest incidence of poverty and 3rd lowest median household income. However, the unemployment rate 'only' ranks as the 6th highest in the Keystone State.

Reading, PA

Source: Public domain
Overall SnackAbility

3
/10

Population: 88,211
Rank Last Year: 4 (Up 1)
Median Income: $30,087 (7th lowest)
Unemployment Rate: 15.5% (1st highest)
Poverty Rate: 35.4% (6th highest)
More on Reading:  Data | Photos

Placing as the third poorest city, Reading's median income ranks as the 7th 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 35.42397984769147% 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 Keystone State.

Indiana, PA

Overall SnackAbility

6
/10

Population: 13,512
Rank Last Year: 3 (Down 1)
Median Income: $26,192 (2nd lowest)
Unemployment Rate: 12.4% (10th highest)
Poverty Rate: 40.6% (2nd highest)
More on Indiana:  Data | Photos

Indiana ranks as the fourth poorest place in Pennsylvania.

The town ranks as having the 2nd lowest median household income and the 2nd 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.

York, PA

Source: Public domain
Overall SnackAbility

3
/10

Population: 44,044
Rank Last Year: 7 (Up 2)
Median Income: $30,283 (8th lowest)
Unemployment Rate: 13.2% (8th highest)
Poverty Rate: 35.2% (7th highest)
More on York:  Data | Photos

The fifth poorest city in Pennsylvania is York.

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 7th highest in Pennsylvania.

Still not the best news for York.

Mckeesport, PA

Overall SnackAbility

4
/10

Population: 19,365
Rank Last Year: 6 (No Change)
Median Income: $29,312 (4th lowest)
Unemployment Rate: 13.1% (9th highest)
Poverty Rate: 32.9% (10th highest)
More on Mckeesport:  Data | Photos

McKeesport ranks as the sixth poorest place in the Keystone State.

It ranks as having the 10th highest incidence of poverty and the 9th highest unemployment rate.

Chester, PA

Source: Public domain
Overall SnackAbility

3
/10

Population: 33,977
Rank Last Year: 5 (Down 2)
Median Income: $30,949 (12th lowest)
Unemployment Rate: 14.8% (3rd highest)
Poverty Rate: 33.6% (9th highest)
More on Chester:  Data | Photos

Chester places as the seventh poorest city in Pennsylvania.

The city of over 33,977 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.

Uniontown, PA

Overall SnackAbility

5
/10

Population: 9,908
Rank Last Year: 9 (Up 1)
Median Income: $29,911 (6th lowest)
Unemployment Rate: 13.6% (7th highest)
Poverty Rate: 28.8% (16th highest)
More on Uniontown:  Data | Photos

Uniontown ranks as the eighth poorest city in Pennsylvania.

The big issue for the town is the unemployment rate which ranks as the 7th highest in the state.

Clairton, PA

Source: Public domain
Overall SnackAbility

4
/10

Population: 6,640
Rank Last Year: 8 (Down 1)
Median Income: $31,374 (14th lowest)
Unemployment Rate: 15.0% (2nd highest)
Poverty Rate: 29.0% (13th highest)
More on Clairton:  Data | Photos

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

While the median income is the 14th lowest, there are a substantial number of people that live below the poverty line. Overall, Clairton ranks as having the 13th most people living in poverty of all the places we analyzed in Pennsylvania.

Shamokin, PA

Overall SnackAbility

5
/10

Population: 7,096
Rank Last Year: 40 (Up 30)
Median Income: $29,461 (5th lowest)
Unemployment Rate: 10.1% (22nd highest)
Poverty Rate: 29.6% (12th highest)
More on Shamokin:  Data | Photos

And rounding out the top ten poorest cities in Pennsylvania is Shamokin.

The city of 7,096 people ranks in the bottom 20% for both median income and poverty rate in the Keystone State.

How We Determined The Poorest Places In Pennsylvania 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 187 places with more than 5,000 people in Pennsylvania, we ranked each place from 1 to 187 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, Johnstown, crowned the "Poorest Place In Pennsylvania For 2020". You can download the data here.

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

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

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 Pennsylvania, according to data:

    Richest: Jefferson Hills
    2nd Richest: Economy
    3rd Richest: Collegeville

For more Pennsylvania reading, check out:

Detailed List Of The Poorest Places To Live In Pennsylvania

Rank City Population Poverty Rate
1 Johnstown 19,812 38.7%
2 Duquesne 5,544 40.2%
3 Reading 88,211 35.4%
4 Indiana 13,512 40.6%
5 York 44,044 35.2%
6 Mckeesport 19,365 32.9%
7 Chester 33,977 33.6%
8 Uniontown 9,908 28.8%
9 Clairton 6,640 29.0%
10 Shamokin 7,096 29.6%
11 Clarion 5,436 28.5%
12 Aliquippa 9,066 34.0%
13 Sharon 13,378 28.9%
14 Bradford 8,424 32.5%
15 Mckees Rocks 5,966 27.3%
16 Stroudsburg 5,501 23.3%
17 New Castle 22,188 26.5%
18 Wilkes-Barre 40,847 27.5%
19 Harrisburg 49,230 27.7%
20 Coatesville 13,147 28.2%
21 Beaver Falls 8,547 27.7%
22 Butler 13,182 26.9%
23 Bloomsburg 14,275 28.7%
24 Allentown 120,410 26.2%
25 Turtle Creek 5,244 28.8%
26 Erie 98,156 26.4%
27 Meadville 12,949 23.9%
28 Darby 10,699 28.2%
29 California 6,441 21.1%
30 Lock Haven 9,345 38.3%
31 Wilkinsburg 15,637 23.5%
32 Pittston 7,697 25.1%
33 Connellsville 7,427 19.6%
34 Oil City 9,982 21.8%
35 Lebanon 25,739 24.9%
36 Titusville 5,337 25.8%
37 Tyrone 5,281 22.6%
38 State College 42,256 45.0%
39 Philadelphia 1,575,522 24.9%
40 Lehighton 5,313 23.0%
41 Williamsport 28,757 26.5%
42 Berwick 10,167 21.8%
43 Tamaqua 6,796 16.2%
44 Gettysburg 7,646 23.4%
45 Hazleton 24,812 22.5%
46 New Brighton 5,827 20.1%
47 Sunbury 9,581 21.9%
48 Washington 13,590 20.9%
49 Franklin 6,216 18.3%
50 Carbondale 8,565 21.9%
51 Huntingdon 6,987 23.0%
52 Lancaster 59,503 24.8%
53 Columbia 10,389 20.8%
54 East Stroudsburg 10,279 21.7%
55 Somerset 5,977 21.2%
56 Lewi 8,228 22.2%
57 Nanticoke 10,302 18.9%
58 Bangor 5,225 14.1%
59 Mount Carmel 5,668 14.6%
60 Norri 34,490 21.7%
61 Steelton 5,954 26.2%
62 Altoona 44,372 22.7%
63 Waynesboro 10,842 18.1%
64 Scranton 76,869 23.7%
65 Taylor 6,007 18.7%
66 Coraopolis 5,587 14.1%
67 New Kensington 12,568 24.7%
68 Sugarcreek 5,065 10.7%
69 Ambridge 6,787 14.3%
70 Pottsville 13,728 17.2%
71 Punxsutawney 5,808 24.4%
72 Shippensburg 5,479 17.6%
73 Jeannette 9,280 17.4%
74 Sayre 5,491 13.7%
75 Middl 9,176 19.9%
76 Pittsburgh 303,587 21.4%
77 Greensburg 14,377 20.8%
78 Swissvale 8,808 15.4%
79 Monessen 7,397 15.9%
80 Ellwood City 7,972 12.1%
81 Clearfield 5,970 14.3%
82 Pott 22,694 19.0%
83 Plymouth 5,832 19.4%
84 Collingdale 8,790 18.1%
85 Clifton Heights 6,680 16.6%
86 Corry 6,396 22.5%
87 Warren 9,250 13.8%
88 Nazareth 5,698 13.4%
89 Oxford 5,420 16.1%
90 Schuylkill Haven 5,211 9.2%
91 Yeadon 11,487 10.5%
92 Easton 27,100 16.7%
93 Bridgeville 5,066 10.6%
94 West Mifflin 19,946 13.2%
95 Lewisburg 5,740 18.7%
96 Kut 5,042 17.9%
97 Chambersburg 20,734 18.1%
98 West Chester 19,888 26.0%
99 Millersville 8,344 18.4%
100 Sharon Hill 5,691 11.1%

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