These Are The 10 Poorest Cities In Pennsylvania For 2019


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 2019. This is our fourth 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.

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

  1. Johnstown (Photos)
  2. Duquesne (Photos)
  3. Indiana (Photos)
  4. Reading (Photos)
  5. Chester (Photos)
  6. McKeesport (Photos)
  7. York (Photos)
  8. Clairton (Photos)
  9. Uniontown (Photos)
  10. Aliquippa (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, Johnstown is the poorest place in Pennsylvania for 2019.

Rich people not 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:

How We Determined The Poorest Places In Pennsylvania 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 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 2019”.

You can learn more about the top ten below or skip to the end to see the rankings for all 187 places.

Johnstown, PA

Overall SnackAbility

4
/10

Population: 19,967
Rank Last Year: 2 (Up 1)
Median Income: $23,636 (1st lowest)
Unemployment Rate: 16.1% (4th highest)
Poverty Rate: 37.9% (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 19,967 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.

Overall SnackAbility

3
/10

Population: 5,544
Rank Last Year: 1 (No Change)
Median Income: $24,390 (2nd lowest)
Unemployment Rate: 19.2% (1st highest)
Poverty Rate: 36.3% (6th highest)
More on Duquesne:  Data | Photos

The second poorest city in Pennsylvania is Duquesne.

The city ranks as having the 6th highest incidence of poverty and 2nd lowest median household income. However, the unemployment rate ‘only’ ranks as the 1st highest in the Keystone State.

Indiana, PA

Overall SnackAbility

6
/10

Population: 13,690
Rank Last Year: 6 (Up 3)
Median Income: $28,125 (3rd lowest)
Unemployment Rate: 13.7% (8th highest)
Poverty Rate: 40.4% (2nd highest)
More on Indiana:  Data | Photos

Placing as the third poorest city, Indiana’s median income ranks as the 3rd 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 40.4% 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.

Reading, PA

Source: Public domain
Overall SnackAbility

3
/10

Population: 88,275
Rank Last Year: 3 (Down 1)
Median Income: $28,755 (7th lowest)
Unemployment Rate: 16.9% (3rd highest)
Poverty Rate: 36.6% (5th highest)
More on Reading:  Data | Photos

Reading ranks as the fourth poorest place in Pennsylvania.

The town ranks as having the 7th lowest median household income and the 5th 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.

Chester, PA

Source: Public domain
Overall SnackAbility

3
/10

Population: 34,102
Rank Last Year: 3 (Down 2)
Median Income: $29,954 (11th lowest)
Unemployment Rate: 18.1% (2nd highest)
Poverty Rate: 35.9% (7th highest)
More on Chester:  Data | Photos

The fifth poorest city in Pennsylvania is Chester.

The city ranks as having the 11th 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 Chester.

Mckeesport, PA

Overall SnackAbility

4
/10

Population: 19,488
Rank Last Year: 5 (Down 1)
Median Income: $28,750 (6th lowest)
Unemployment Rate: 15.7% (6th highest)
Poverty Rate: 33.1% (12th highest)
More on Mckeesport:  Data | Photos

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

It ranks as having the 12th highest incidence of poverty and the 5th highest unemployment rate.

York, PA

Source: Public domain
Overall SnackAbility

3
/10

Population: 44,058
Rank Last Year: 7 (No Change)
Median Income: $29,834 (10th lowest)
Unemployment Rate: 13.3% (10th highest)
Poverty Rate: 35.8% (8th highest)
More on York:  Data | Photos

York places as the seventh poorest city in Pennsylvania.

The city of over 44,058 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.

Clairton, PA

Source: Public domain
Overall SnackAbility

4
/10

Population: 6,692
Rank Last Year: 9 (Up 1)
Median Income: $31,112 (14th lowest)
Unemployment Rate: 15.7% (6th highest)
Poverty Rate: 28.2% (19th highest)
More on Clairton:  Data | Photos

Clairton ranks as the eighth poorest city in Pennsylvania.

The big issue for the town is the unemployment rate which ranks as the 5th highest in the state.

Uniontown, PA

Overall SnackAbility

5
/10

Population: 9,975
Rank Last Year: 11 (Up 2)
Median Income: $28,867 (8th lowest)
Unemployment Rate: 11.9% (16th highest)
Poverty Rate: 29.9% (16th highest)
More on Uniontown:  Data | Photos

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

While the median income is the 8th lowest, there are a substantial number of people that live below the poverty line. Overall, Uniontown ranks as having the 15th most people living in poverty of all the places we analyzed in Pennsylvania.

Aliquippa, PA

Source: Public domain
Overall SnackAbility

5
/10

Population: 9,173
Rank Last Year: 18 (Up 8)
Median Income: $31,121 (15th lowest)
Unemployment Rate: 10.9% (20th highest)
Poverty Rate: 33.2% (11th highest)
More on Aliquippa:  Data | Photos

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

The city of 9,173 people ranks in the bottom 20% for both median income and poverty rate in the Keystone State.

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

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

For more Pennsylvania reading, check out:

Detailed List Of The Poorest Places To Live In Pennsylvania

Rank City Population Poverty Rate
1 Johnstown 19,967 37.9%
2 Duquesne 5,544 36.3%
3 Indiana 13,690 40.4%
4 Reading 88,275 36.6%
5 Chester 34,102 35.9%
6 Mckeesport 19,488 33.1%
7 York 44,058 35.8%
8 Clairton 6,692 28.2%
9 Uniontown 9,975 29.9%
10 Aliquippa 9,173 33.2%
11 Clarion 5,135 34.1%
12 Harrisburg 49,278 29.9%
13 New Castle 22,434 27.2%
14 Stroudsburg 5,491 24.1%
15 Wilkinsburg 15,748 25.1%
16 Sharon 13,505 25.2%
17 Bradford 8,440 34.8%
18 State College 42,224 43.7%
19 Coatesville 13,169 30.1%
20 Lock Haven 9,540 39.6%
21 Butler 13,292 29.6%
22 Allentown 120,128 27.3%
23 Darby 10,710 27.9%
24 Erie 98,970 26.8%
25 Williamsport 28,938 27.1%
26 Lebanon 25,703 25.1%
27 Oil City 10,101 23.1%
28 Mckees Rocks 6,037 28.6%
29 Meadville 13,105 24.9%
30 California 6,513 21.7%
31 Philadelphia 1,569,657 25.8%
32 Gettysburg 7,627 25.9%
33 Titusville 5,381 25.9%
34 Somerset 6,035 23.7%
35 Connellsville 7,454 24.0%
36 Lancaster 59,556 26.5%
37 Washington 13,624 21.0%
38 Carbondale 8,625 24.2%
39 Beaver Falls 8,641 25.7%
40 Shamokin 7,165 23.8%
41 Hazleton 24,882 23.5%
42 Bloomsburg 14,500 31.3%
43 Pittston 7,682 20.7%
44 Mount Carmel 5,724 17.3%
45 Tamaqua 6,841 18.8%
46 Lehighton 5,332 20.0%
47 Berwick 10,231 23.6%
48 Huntingdon 7,025 24.7%
49 Lewi 8,264 22.8%
50 Tyrone 5,320 21.9%
51 New Brighton 5,889 20.0%
52 Franklin 6,269 19.7%
53 Columbia 10,430 19.5%
54 Sunbury 9,643 19.5%
55 East Stroudsburg 10,149 19.3%
56 Collingdale 8,800 21.5%
57 Greensburg 14,476 24.6%
58 Nanticoke 10,296 18.7%
59 Steelton 5,953 26.2%
60 Waynesboro 10,793 16.6%
61 Norri 34,556 21.5%
62 Edinboro 6,206 24.4%
63 Bangor 5,217 14.8%
64 Dubois 7,556 20.9%
65 Altoona 44,749 23.2%
66 Scranton 76,624 23.6%
67 Ambridge 6,853 17.1%
68 Swissvale 8,881 15.3%
69 New Kensington 12,679 22.9%
70 Pott 22,715 22.0%
71 Monessen 7,474 19.1%
72 Vandergrift 5,037 24.9%
73 Sugarcreek 5,112 9.5%
74 Shippensburg 5,558 23.7%
75 Plymouth 5,863 22.0%
76 Oxford 5,327 22.0%
77 Clearfield 6,012 13.5%
78 Pittsburgh 305,012 22.0%
79 Taylor 6,061 14.2%
80 Ellwood City 7,998 11.8%
81 Warren 9,333 14.4%
82 Coraopolis 5,607 13.2%
83 Punxsutawney 5,848 20.8%
84 Carnegie 7,935 21.0%
85 Sayre 5,525 15.1%
86 Millersville 8,366 20.2%
87 West Mifflin 20,075 14.7%
88 Easton 27,045 18.6%
89 Kut 5,035 20.9%
90 Yeadon 11,523 12.5%
91 Chambersburg 20,640 19.1%
92 Middl 9,098 17.4%
93 West Chester 19,698 27.0%
94 Blakely 6,372 16.7%
95 Pottsville 13,827 11.6%
96 Corry 6,451 22.2%
97 Jeannette 9,341 16.5%
98 Turtle Creek 5,281 18.7%
99 Milton 6,926 17.5%
100 Carlisle 19,113 17.1%

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