Poorest Cities In Texas For 2020


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

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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 352 places in Texas with more than 5,000 people.

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 Texas? According to the facts, Prairie View is the poorest place in Texas for 2020.

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

The 10 Poorest Cities In Texas For 2020

Prairie View, TX

Overall SnackAbility

4
/10

Population: 6,337
Rank Last Year: 1 (No Change)
Median Income: $26,313 (6th lowest)
Unemployment Rate: 15.7% (3rd highest)
Poverty Rate: 52.5% (1st highest)
More on Prairie View:  Data | Photos

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 6,337 people averages the 6th 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.

Raymondville, TX

Source: Wikipedia User |
Overall SnackAbility

2
/10

Population: 11,051
Rank Last Year: 2 (No Change)
Median Income: $24,094 (3rd lowest)
Unemployment Rate: 19.7% (2nd highest)
Poverty Rate: 40.0% (5th highest)
More on Raymondville:  Data | Photos

The second poorest city in Texas is Raymondville.

The city ranks as having the 5th highest incidence of poverty and 3rd lowest median household income. However, the unemployment rate 'only' ranks as the 2nd highest in the Lone Star State.

Robstown, TX

Overall SnackAbility

1
/10

Population: 11,494
Rank Last Year: 7 (Up 4)
Median Income: $29,218 (10th lowest)
Unemployment Rate: 20.0% (1st highest)
Poverty Rate: 41.1% (3rd highest)
More on Robstown:  Data | Photos

Placing as the third poorest city, Robstown's median income ranks as the 10th 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 41.11217976742152% 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.

Commerce, TX

Overall SnackAbility

6
/10

Population: 9,000
Rank Last Year: 3 (Down 1)
Median Income: $24,640 (4th lowest)
Unemployment Rate: 12.2% (13th highest)
Poverty Rate: 39.7% (6th highest)
More on Commerce:  Data | Photos

Commerce ranks as the fourth poorest place in Texas.

The town ranks as having the 4th 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.

Elsa, TX

Source: Wikipedia User |
Overall SnackAbility

2
/10

Population: 7,142
Rank Last Year: 4 (Down 1)
Median Income: $26,793 (7th lowest)
Unemployment Rate: 12.8% (10th highest)
Poverty Rate: 38.8% (8th highest)
More on Elsa:  Data | Photos

The fifth poorest city in Texas is Elsa.

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 8th highest in Texas.

Still not the best news for Elsa.

Center, TX

Overall SnackAbility

1
/10

Population: 5,319
Rank Last Year: 5 (Down 1)
Median Income: $28,988 (9th lowest)
Unemployment Rate: 13.6% (7th highest)
Poverty Rate: 36.2% (12th highest)
More on Center:  Data | Photos

Center ranks as the sixth poorest place in the Lone Star State.

It ranks as having the 12th highest incidence of poverty and the 7th highest unemployment rate.

Overall SnackAbility

4
/10

Population: 16,566
Rank Last Year: 8 (Up 1)
Median Income: $30,975 (15th lowest)
Unemployment Rate: 14.7% (5th highest)
Poverty Rate: 35.2% (13th highest)
More on Alton:  Data

Alton places as the seventh poorest city in Texas.

The city of over 16,566 ranks as having the 13th highest incidence of poverty in the state. However, it has a very low cost of living which helps to pay the bills each month.

Roma, TX

Overall SnackAbility

3
/10

Population: 11,363
Rank Last Year: 6 (Down 2)
Median Income: $22,886 (1st lowest)
Unemployment Rate: 9.3% (35th highest)
Poverty Rate: 39.1% (7th highest)
More on Roma:  Data | Photos

Roma ranks as the eighth poorest city in Texas.

The big issue for the town is the unemployment rate which ranks as the 35th highest in the state.

Marlin, TX

Overall SnackAbility

3
/10

Population: 5,653
Rank Last Year: 15 (Up 6)
Median Income: $25,241 (5th lowest)
Unemployment Rate: 8.9% (41st highest)
Poverty Rate: 44.0% (2nd highest)
More on Marlin:  Data | Photos

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

While the median income is the 5th lowest, there are a substantial number of people that live below the poverty line. Overall, Marlin ranks as having the 2nd most people living in poverty of all the places we analyzed in Texas.

Carrizo Springs, TX

Overall SnackAbility

5
/10

Population: 5,676
Rank Last Year: 11 (Up 1)
Median Income: $30,755 (14th lowest)
Unemployment Rate: 15.6% (4th highest)
Poverty Rate: 29.0% (32nd highest)
More on Carrizo Springs:  Data | Photos

And rounding out the top ten poorest cities in Texas is Carrizo Springs.

The city of 5,676 people ranks in the bottom 20% for both median income and poverty rate in the Lone Star State.

How We Determined The Poorest Places In Texas 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 352 places with more than 5,000 people in Texas, we ranked each place from 1 to 352 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 2020". You can download the data here.

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

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: Highland Park

For more Texas reading, check out:

Detailed List Of The Poorest Places To Live In Texas

Rank City Population Poverty Rate
1 Prairie View 6,337 52.5%
2 Raymondville 11,051 40.0%
3 Robstown 11,494 41.1%
4 Commerce 9,000 39.7%
5 Elsa 7,142 38.8%
6 Center 5,319 36.2%
7 Alton 16,566 35.2%
8 Roma 11,363 39.1%
9 Marlin 5,653 44.0%
10 Carrizo Springs 5,676 29.0%
11 Nacogdoches 33,610 31.1%
12 Rio Grande City 14,415 33.4%
13 Mexia 7,396 28.5%
14 Beeville 13,044 29.0%
15 La Feria 7,329 27.7%
16 Donna 16,576 36.8%
17 Kingsville 25,782 29.7%
18 San Marcos 61,751 34.4%
19 Hidalgo 13,760 31.7%
20 Hutchins 5,726 28.8%
21 San Benito 24,466 36.9%
22 Port Arthur 55,249 27.5%
23 Palmview 5,740 27.9%
24 Diboll 5,308 27.0%
25 Jacinto City 10,747 24.2%
26 Hempstead 7,397 23.7%
27 Freeport 12,098 24.3%
28 Mercedes 16,648 32.9%
29 Wharton 8,718 22.4%
30 Eagle Pass 29,151 27.5%
31 Mineral Wells 15,041 23.9%
32 Harlingen 65,449 30.2%
33 Jasper 7,586 24.7%
34 Crystal City 7,381 30.9%
35 Socorro 33,923 26.9%
36 Alamo 19,591 26.7%
37 Hillsboro 8,333 21.7%
38 Brownsville 182,679 31.0%
39 Gatesville 12,387 20.3%
40 San Juan 36,740 31.4%
41 Everman 6,252 22.9%
42 Lacy-Lakeview 6,629 24.7%
43 Anthony 5,578 24.4%
44 Texarkana 37,277 23.0%
45 Terrell 17,378 22.0%
46 Orange 18,901 23.8%
47 Brookshire 5,199 19.5%
48 Progreso 5,905 26.9%
49 Silsbee 6,640 26.7%
50 Gilmer 5,122 19.6%
51 Athens 12,677 27.3%
52 Brownfield 9,596 17.1%
53 Humble 15,861 20.3%
54 Gainesville 16,275 24.9%
55 Childress 6,203 16.1%
56 Jacksonville 14,821 27.7%
57 Breckenridge 5,479 26.7%
58 Lufkin 35,874 20.9%
59 Sinton 5,556 36.2%
60 Alice 19,146 25.7%
61 Cleveland 7,998 17.1%
62 Pharr 77,835 28.5%
63 Waco 133,964 26.8%
64 Gladewater 6,085 29.4%
65 Texas City 47,902 21.3%
66 Mission 83,709 24.1%
67 Forest Hill 12,913 25.6%
68 Hitchcock 7,730 21.1%
69 Bay City 17,681 23.4%
70 Galveston 50,039 20.8%
71 Mcallen 141,597 24.9%
72 Edinburg 94,019 25.9%
73 Cameron 5,455 24.6%
74 Lamesa 9,264 24.8%
75 Paris 24,842 22.7%
76 La Marque 16,225 16.4%
77 Corsicana 23,736 19.8%
78 Bonham 10,106 15.1%
79 Del Rio 35,921 22.2%
80 Crockett 6,534 41.1%
81 Laredo 257,575 29.1%
82 Big Spring 28,367 19.4%
83 Sweetwater 10,701 16.6%
84 Galena Park 11,075 29.4%
85 Cuero 8,349 18.1%
86 El Paso 680,354 20.0%
87 Port Isabel 5,057 32.1%
88 Marshall 23,315 20.2%
89 Webster 11,165 20.6%
90 Carthage 6,646 19.0%
91 Plainview 20,714 19.0%
92 Huntsville 41,079 34.4%
93 Livingston 5,046 16.1%
94 Denison 23,820 15.0%
95 Gonzales 7,520 23.0%
96 Aransas Pass 8,113 16.2%
97 Borger 12,856 18.1%
98 Los Fresnos 7,707 32.0%
99 Elgin 9,616 14.2%
100 College Station 110,782 30.8%

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