Poorest Cities In Texas For 2021


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 2021. This is our seventh time ranking the poorest places in Texas.

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 353 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 2021.

Rich people more your cup of tea? Feel free to check out the best 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 2021

1. Prairie View

Prairie View, TX

Overall SnackAbility

5
/10

Population: 6,678
Rank Last Year: 1 (No Change)
Median Income: $24,363 (3rd lowest)
Unemployment Rate: 12.1% (9th highest)
Poverty Rate: 50.5% (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 6,678 people averages the 3rd lowest median household income in Texas and the 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.

2. Carrizo Springs

Carrizo Springs, TX

Overall SnackAbility

4
/10

Population: 5,554
Rank Last Year: 10 (Up 8)
Median Income: $30,158 (11th lowest)
Unemployment Rate: 14.9% (4th highest)
Poverty Rate: 38.4% (5th highest)
More on Carrizo Springs:  Data | Photos

The second poorest city in Texas is Carrizo Springs.

The city ranks as having the 5th highest incidence of poverty and 11th lowest median household income. However, the unemployment rate 'only' ranks as the 4th highest in the Lone Star State.

3. Center

Center, TX

Overall SnackAbility

1
/10

Population: 5,250
Rank Last Year: 6 (Up 3)
Median Income: $34,507 (20th lowest)
Unemployment Rate: 14.9% (3rd highest)
Poverty Rate: 38.8% (3rd highest)
More on Center:  Data | Photos

Placing as the third poorest city, Center's median income ranks as the 20th 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 38.78716282732822% 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.

4. Marlin

Marlin, TX

Overall SnackAbility

4
/10

Population: 5,607
Rank Last Year: 9 (Up 5)
Median Income: $21,667 (lowest)
Unemployment Rate: 9.4% (23rd highest)
Poverty Rate: 47.1% (2nd highest)
More on Marlin:  Data | Photos

Marlin ranks as the fourth poorest place in Texas.

The town ranks as having the 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.

5. Commerce

Commerce, TX

Overall SnackAbility

6
/10

Population: 9,293
Rank Last Year: 4 (Down 1)
Median Income: $28,135 (6th lowest)
Unemployment Rate: 10.4% (14th highest)
Poverty Rate: 36.6% (8th highest)
More on Commerce:  Data | Photos

The fifth poorest city in Texas is Commerce.

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 8th highest in Texas.

Still not the best news for Commerce.

6. Robstown

Robstown, TX

Overall SnackAbility

4
/10

Population: 11,400
Rank Last Year: 3 (Down 3)
Median Income: $35,504 (25th lowest)
Unemployment Rate: 15.4% (2nd highest)
Poverty Rate: 38.4% (4th highest)
More on Robstown:  Data | Photos

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

It ranks as having the 4th highest incidence of poverty and the 2nd highest unemployment rate.

7. Raymondville

Raymondville, TX

Source: Wikipedia User |
Overall SnackAbility

1
/10

Population: 11,021
Rank Last Year: 2 (Down 5)
Median Income: $29,750 (9th lowest)
Unemployment Rate: 17.6% (highest)
Poverty Rate: 29.8% (23rd highest)
More on Raymondville:  Data | Photos

Raymondville places as the seventh poorest city in Texas.

The city of over 11,021 ranks as having the 23rd highest incidence of poverty in the state. However, it has a very low cost of living which helps to pay the bills each month.

8. Rio Grande City

Rio Grande City, TX

Overall SnackAbility

3
/10

Population: 14,408
Rank Last Year: 12 (Up 4)
Median Income: $33,084 (17th lowest)
Unemployment Rate: 14.9% (5th highest)
Poverty Rate: 34.1% (13th highest)
More on Rio Grande City:  Data | Photos

Rio Grande City ranks as the eighth poorest city in Texas.

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

9. Alton

Overall SnackAbility

4
/10

Population: 16,976
Rank Last Year: 7 (Down 2)
Median Income: $32,495 (14th lowest)
Unemployment Rate: 13.0% (7th highest)
Poverty Rate: 32.0% (18th highest)
More on Alton:  Data

Alton couldn't stay out of the top ten poorest places in Texas; 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, Alton ranks as having the 18th most people living in poverty of all the places we analyzed in Texas.

10. Hidalgo

Hidalgo, TX

Overall SnackAbility

4
/10

Population: 13,884
Rank Last Year: 19 (Up 9)
Median Income: $33,576 (18th lowest)
Unemployment Rate: 9.4% (24th highest)
Poverty Rate: 33.3% (16th highest)
More on Hidalgo:  Data | Photos

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

The city of 13,884 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 2021

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 2015-2019 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 353 places with more than 5,000 people in Texas, we ranked each place from 1 to 353 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 2021". You can download the data here.

There You Have It - The Poorest Places In Texas For 2021

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: Highland Park
    3rd Richest: Celina

For more Texas reading, check out:

Detailed List Of The Poorest Places To Live In Texas

Rank City Population Poverty Rate
1 Prairie View 6,678 50.5%
2 Carrizo Springs 5,554 38.4%
3 Center 5,250 38.8%
4 Marlin 5,607 47.1%
5 Commerce 9,293 36.6%
6 Robstown 11,400 38.4%
7 Raymondville 11,021 29.8%
8 Rio Grande City 14,408 34.1%
9 Alton 16,976 32.0%
10 Hidalgo 13,884 33.3%
11 Roma 11,397 36.9%
12 Nacogdoches 33,200 31.0%
13 Palmview 5,733 29.6%
14 Beeville 12,912 27.4%
15 Diboll 5,266 28.1%
16 Mercedes 16,564 33.6%
17 San Benito 24,371 34.5%
18 Hutchins 5,718 36.0%
19 Sinton 5,504 35.4%
20 Freeport 12,147 25.6%
21 San Marcos 63,220 32.1%
22 Hempstead 7,691 25.5%
23 Cameron 5,489 29.8%
24 Crystal City 7,310 26.7%
25 Port Arthur 55,109 27.2%
26 Kingsville 25,605 29.8%
27 Brownfield 9,525 21.5%
28 Eagle Pass 29,348 27.0%
29 Mineral Wells 15,096 23.5%
30 Jasper 7,583 24.1%
31 Forest Hill 12,994 25.4%
32 Mexia 7,356 26.8%
33 Lacy-Lakeview 6,633 28.0%
34 Elsa 7,225 30.6%
35 Jacinto City 10,667 21.7%
36 Gladewater 5,991 29.5%
37 Donna 16,409 36.5%
38 Harlingen 65,129 29.1%
39 Athens 12,664 30.2%
40 Brownsville 182,271 29.3%
41 Rockdale 5,531 20.6%
42 Everman 6,255 20.4%
43 Lamesa 9,221 29.4%
44 Anthony 5,236 25.9%
45 San Juan 36,744 28.4%
46 Texarkana 36,688 21.7%
47 Gatesville 12,377 17.4%
48 Jacksonville 14,790 23.2%
49 Atlanta 5,495 23.6%
50 Socorro 33,778 23.7%
51 Gilmer 5,105 22.0%
52 Wharton 8,711 20.1%
53 Brookshire 5,376 20.9%
54 Granite Shoals 5,121 23.5%
55 Gainesville 16,441 24.7%
56 Childress 6,201 15.9%
57 Vernon 10,509 21.8%
58 Alamo 19,613 26.8%
59 Alice 19,007 26.9%
60 La Feria 7,267 28.6%
61 Marshall 23,080 25.2%
62 Mission 83,567 22.5%
63 Galena Park 10,983 29.1%
64 Yoakum 5,996 17.4%
65 Orange 18,762 20.7%
66 Slaton 5,960 17.2%
67 Edinburg 95,847 23.9%
68 Pharr 78,073 29.1%
69 South Houston 17,587 20.8%
70 Progreso 5,905 20.3%
71 Humble 15,864 16.0%
72 Hillsboro 8,342 14.7%
73 Breckenridge 5,457 22.1%
74 Mcallen 141,968 23.0%
75 Livingston 5,115 17.1%
76 Borger 12,698 16.7%
77 Terrell 17,869 19.4%
78 Kaufman 7,330 26.1%
79 Waco 135,858 26.2%
80 Levelland 13,596 16.9%
81 Big Spring 28,041 20.4%
82 Gun Barrel City 6,084 16.6%
83 Texas City 48,569 19.1%
84 Bowie 5,050 22.1%
85 Aransas Pass 8,088 17.0%
86 Lufkin 35,465 20.9%
87 Denison 24,340 15.5%
88 Cleveland 8,061 14.4%
89 Galveston 50,241 19.9%
90 Paris 24,807 23.6%
91 Willis 6,566 15.3%
92 Hitchcock 7,800 19.4%
93 Sweetwater 10,626 17.5%
94 Sansom Park 5,411 16.8%
95 Cuero 8,297 17.5%
96 Los Fresnos 7,738 29.3%
97 Killeen 145,686 14.7%
98 El Paso 679,813 19.1%
99 Pasadena 153,350 17.0%
100 Bay City 17,694 21.3%

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