Texas brings to mind images of Austin, beautiful landscapes, and some of the best people you’ll find in the good ole US of A.
However, like all states, Texas 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 Texas that could use a helping hand.
To do so, we analyzed the newest Census data from the American Community Survey for the 349 places in Texas with more than 5,000 people.
We were left with this set of the ten poorest places in the Lone Star State for 2019:
- Prairie View (Photos)
- Raymondville (Photos)
- Commerce (Photos)
- Elsa (Photos)
- Center (Photos)
- Roma (Photos)
- Robstown (Photos)
- Hempstead (Photos)
- Jacinto City (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, Prairie View is the poorest place in Texas for 2019.
For more on how we calculated the top ten, and for more information about these places, read on.
For more Texas reading, check out:
- 10 Best Places To Live In Texas
- 10 Cheapest Places To Live In Texas
- 10 Most Dangerous Places In Texas
How We Determined The Poorest Places In Texas 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 349 places with more than 5,000 people in Texas, we ranked each place from 1 to 349 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, Prairie View, crowned the “Poorest Place In Texas For 2019”.
You can learn more about the top ten below or skip to the end to see the rankings for all 349 places.
Prairie View, unfortunately, ranks as the poorest place in Texas thanks to combination of low pay and and a lack of jobs.
The city of 6,286 people averages the 2nd lowest median household income in Texas and the 1st 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.
The second poorest city in Texas is Raymondville.
The city ranks as having the 4th highest incidence of poverty and 4th lowest median household income. However, the unemployment rate ‘only’ ranks as the 1st highest in the Lone Star State.
Placing as the third poorest city, Commerce’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 44.9% 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 Lone Star State.
Elsa ranks as the fourth poorest place in Texas.
The town ranks as having the 10th 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.
The fifth poorest city in Texas is Center.
The city ranks as having the 6th 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 21st highest in Texas.
Still not the best news for Center.
Roma ranks as the sixth poorest place in the Lone Star State.
It ranks as having the 2nd highest incidence of poverty and the 28th highest unemployment rate.
Robstown places as the seventh poorest city in Texas.
The city of over 11,546 ranks as having the 10th highest incidence of poverty in the state. However, it has a very low cost of living which helps to pay the bills each month.
Rank Last Year: 7 (Down 1)
Median Income: $31,716 (14th lowest)
Unemployment Rate: 15.2% (8th highest)
Poverty Rate: 34.6% (15th highest)
More on Alton: Data
Alton ranks as the eighth poorest city in Texas.
The big issue for the town is the unemployment rate which ranks as the 7th highest in the state.
Hempstead couldn’t stay out of the top ten poorest places in Texas; it ranks number 9.
While the median income is the 30th lowest, there are a substantial number of people that live below the poverty line. Overall, Hempstead ranks as having the 9th most people living in poverty of all the places we analyzed in Texas.
And rounding out the top ten poorest cities in Texas is Jacinto City.
The city of 10,748 people ranks in the bottom 20% for both median income and poverty rate in the Lone Star State.
There You Have It – The Poorest Places In Texas For 2019
Like we said earlier, when we set out to identify the poorest places in Texas, we weren’t sure what we’d encounter, but it ended up being some of the best places to live in Texas.
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 Texas, according to data:
Richest: Terrell Hills
2nd Richest: Bellaire
3rd Richest: West University Place
For more Texas reading, check out:
Detailed List Of The Poorest Places To Live In Texas
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