These Are The 10 Poorest Cities In Texas For 2019


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 2019. This is our fourth 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 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:

  1. Prairie View (Photos)
  2. Raymondville (Photos)
  3. Commerce (Photos)
  4. Elsa (Photos)
  5. Center (Photos)
  6. Roma (Photos)
  7. Robstown (Photos)
  8. Alton
  9. Hempstead (Photos)
  10. 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.

Rich people not 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:

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, TX

Overall SnackAbility

4
/10

Population: 6,286
Rank Last Year: 3 (Up 2)
Median Income: $20,643 (2nd lowest)
Unemployment Rate: 16.3% (4th highest)
Poverty Rate: 57.1% (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 6,286 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.

Overall SnackAbility

2
/10

Population: 11,087
Rank Last Year: 4 (Up 2)
Median Income: $23,281 (4th lowest)
Unemployment Rate: 18.4% (1st highest)
Poverty Rate: 41.5% (4th highest)
More on Raymondville:  Data | Photos

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.

Commerce, TX

Overall SnackAbility

6
/10

Population: 8,847
Rank Last Year: 1 (Down 2)
Median Income: $22,429 (3rd lowest)
Unemployment Rate: 12.0% (12th highest)
Poverty Rate: 44.9% (3rd highest)
More on Commerce:  Data | Photos

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.

Overall SnackAbility

2
/10

Population: 7,135
Rank Last Year: 1 (Down 3)
Median Income: $28,486 (10th lowest)
Unemployment Rate: 13.0% (11th highest)
Poverty Rate: 38.8% (6th highest)
More on Elsa:  Data | Photos

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.

Center, TX

Overall SnackAbility

1
/10

Population: 5,388
Rank Last Year: 12 (Up 7)
Median Income: $24,718 (6th lowest)
Unemployment Rate: 17.0% (3rd highest)
Poverty Rate: 31.4% (22nd highest)
More on Center:  Data | Photos

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, TX

Overall SnackAbility

3
/10

Population: 11,255
Rank Last Year: 5 (Down 1)
Median Income: $20,291 (1st lowest)
Unemployment Rate: 10.2% (28th highest)
Poverty Rate: 46.8% (2nd highest)
More on Roma:  Data | Photos

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, TX

Overall SnackAbility

1
/10

Population: 11,546
Rank Last Year: 13 (Up 6)
Median Income: $32,634 (18th lowest)
Unemployment Rate: 15.2% (8th highest)
Poverty Rate: 35.1% (10th highest)
More on Robstown:  Data | Photos

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.

Overall SnackAbility

4
/10

Population: 16,019
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, TX

Overall SnackAbility

4
/10

Population: 7,012
Rank Last Year: 6 (Down 3)
Median Income: $34,415 (30th lowest)
Unemployment Rate: 17.7% (2nd highest)
Poverty Rate: 35.5% (9th highest)
More on Hempstead:  Data | Photos

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.

Jacinto City, TX

Source: Public domain
Overall SnackAbility

3
/10

Population: 10,748
Rank Last Year: 14 (Up 4)
Median Income: $32,281 (15th lowest)
Unemployment Rate: 13.8% (9th highest)
Poverty Rate: 33.6% (18th highest)
More on Jacinto City:  Data | Photos

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

Rank City Population Poverty Rate
1 Prairie View 6,286 57.1%
2 Raymondville 11,087 41.5%
3 Commerce 8,847 44.9%
4 Elsa 7,135 38.8%
5 Center 5,388 31.4%
6 Roma 11,255 46.8%
7 Robstown 11,546 35.1%
8 Alton 16,019 34.6%
9 Hempstead 7,012 35.5%
10 Jacinto City 10,748 33.6%
11 Carrizo Springs 5,779 30.2%
12 San Benito 24,474 37.4%
13 Mexia 7,425 28.4%
14 Nacogdoches 33,589 30.9%
15 Marlin 5,692 39.1%
16 Palmview 5,693 29.2%
17 Port Arthur 55,177 30.7%
18 Donna 16,507 34.9%
19 Crockett 6,516 38.6%
20 Jasper 7,596 24.6%
21 Rio Grande City 14,310 27.8%
22 Crystal City 7,401 34.9%
23 Hidalgo 13,593 30.6%
24 Silsbee 6,650 30.9%
25 San Marcos 59,935 34.7%
26 Mercedes 16,588 35.0%
27 Hutchins 5,691 27.7%
28 Socorro 33,587 29.1%
29 Freeport 12,082 24.1%
30 Brownsville 182,083 31.4%
31 La Feria 7,314 25.3%
32 Alamo 19,442 29.3%
33 Kingsville 25,875 26.6%
34 San Juan 36,469 31.9%
35 Harlingen 65,444 29.8%
36 Diboll 5,325 25.1%
37 Hillsboro 8,325 24.1%
38 Cleveland 7,904 24.4%
39 Brookshire 5,087 23.7%
40 Wharton 8,723 23.1%
41 Rockdale 5,503 21.2%
42 Bonham 10,030 21.2%
43 Forest Hill 12,831 29.5%
44 Gilmer 5,113 19.7%
45 Athens 12,653 26.9%
46 Mineral Wells 15,341 23.5%
47 Eagle Pass 28,469 24.9%
48 Texarkana 37,222 24.9%
49 Cameron 5,427 25.0%
50 Paris 24,801 23.8%
51 Los Fresnos 7,588 34.3%
52 Anthony 5,503 19.9%
53 Corsicana 23,695 20.8%
54 Terrell 16,997 22.1%
55 Waco 131,996 26.8%
56 Gatesville 12,426 20.6%
57 Beeville 13,117 24.9%
58 Galveston 49,706 22.6%
59 Decatur 6,434 24.1%
60 Pharr 76,727 29.4%
61 Orange 18,950 22.1%
62 Mission 83,042 24.3%
63 Everman 6,321 21.1%
64 Jacksonville 14,791 27.0%
65 Texas City 47,262 22.0%
66 Hitchcock 7,633 24.8%
67 Mcallen 139,838 25.2%
68 Gonzales 7,496 23.2%
69 Weslaco 39,420 26.1%
70 Sinton 5,619 25.2%
71 Giddings 5,010 22.8%
72 Aransas Pass 8,343 20.4%
73 Sweetwater 10,740 18.9%
74 Sulphur Springs 15,849 22.3%
75 Humble 15,736 17.3%
76 Brownfield 9,740 14.1%
77 Gladewater 6,381 26.3%
78 Bellmead 10,315 26.6%
79 Denison 23,342 16.1%
80 Greenville 26,403 23.6%
81 Port Isabel 5,049 30.1%
82 Sansom Park 5,027 21.0%
83 Del Rio 35,951 22.5%
84 La Marque 15,912 16.9%
85 Gainesville 16,141 24.2%
86 Progreso 5,867 29.9%
87 Lufkin 35,888 21.3%
88 Laredo 255,305 30.6%
89 Edinburg 86,123 25.9%
90 Huntsville 40,727 34.4%
91 Elgin 9,024 18.4%
92 Balch Springs 25,236 21.7%
93 Lamesa 9,322 19.1%
94 Gun Barrel City 6,005 19.0%
95 Marshall 23,449 22.2%
96 Galena Park 11,103 26.4%
97 College Station 107,445 31.8%
98 Alice 19,226 26.0%
99 Uvalde 16,256 18.7%
100 South Houston 17,563 24.0%

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