Poorest Cities In Texas For 2023


We used science and data to determine which places in Texas are basically dead broke.

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 Texas 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 poorest places in Texas.

To do so, we analyzed the newest Census data from the American Community Survey for the 355 places in Texas with more than 5,000 people.

Here are the ten poorest places in Texas for 2023:

  1. Prairie View
  2. Marlin
  3. Roma
  4. Jasper
  5. Sinton
  6. Robstown
  7. Raymondville
  8. Alton
  9. Nacogdoches
  10. Rio Grande City

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 2023.

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:

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 2023. This is our tenth time ranking the poorest places in Texas.

The 10 Poorest Cities In Texas For 2023

1. Prairie View

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 6,464 people averages the 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.

Overall SnackAbility

4
/10

Population: 6,464
Rank Last Year: 1 (No Change)
Median Income: $16,914 (lowest)
Unemployment Rate: 14.7% (highest)
Poverty Rate: 53.5% (highest)
More on Prairie View:  Data | Photos

Prairie View, TX

2. Marlin

The second poorest city in Texas is Marlin.

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 3rd highest in the Lone Star State.

Overall SnackAbility

3
/10

Population: 5,512
Rank Last Year: 2 (No Change)
Median Income: $28,061 (4th lowest)
Unemployment Rate: 12.7% (3rd highest)
Poverty Rate: 39.6% (4th highest)
More on Marlin:  Data | Photos

Marlin, TX

3. Roma

Placing as the third poorest city, Roma’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 34.90524844991704% 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

3
/10

Population: 11,451
Rank Last Year: 5 (Up 2)
Median Income: $25,933 (3rd lowest)
Unemployment Rate: 10.2% (19th highest)
Poverty Rate: 34.9% (7th highest)
More on Roma:  Data | Photos

Roma, TX

4. Jasper

Jasper ranks as the fourth poorest place in Texas.

The town ranks as having the 11th lowest median household income and the 9th 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.

Overall SnackAbility

5
/10

Population: 7,070
Rank Last Year: 3 (Down 1)
Median Income: $36,202 (11th lowest)
Unemployment Rate: 10.8% (11th highest)
Poverty Rate: 34.2% (9th highest)
More on Jasper:  Data | Photos

Jasper, TX

5. Sinton

The fifth poorest city in Texas is Sinton.

The city ranks as having the 20th 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 5th highest in Texas.

Still not the best news for Sinton.

Overall SnackAbility

2
/10

Population: 5,557
Rank Last Year: 10 (Up 5)
Median Income: $37,891 (20th lowest)
Unemployment Rate: 10.7% (12th highest)
Poverty Rate: 37.4% (5th highest)
More on Sinton:  Data

6. Robstown

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

It ranks as having the 23rd highest incidence of poverty and the 5th highest unemployment rate.

Overall SnackAbility

1
/10

Population: 10,372
Rank Last Year: 11 (Up 5)
Median Income: $38,497 (2lowest)
Unemployment Rate: 11.8% (5th highest)
Poverty Rate: 30.0% (23rd highest)
More on Robstown:  Data | Photos

Robstown, TX

7. Raymondville

Raymondville places as the seventh poorest city in Texas.

The city of over 10,574 ranks as having the 11th 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

3
/10

Population: 10,574
Rank Last Year: 7 (No Change)
Median Income: $39,291 (26th lowest)
Unemployment Rate: 10.0% (2highest)
Poverty Rate: 32.8% (11th highest)
More on Raymondville:  Data | Photos

Raymondville, TX

Source: Wikipedia User |

8. Alton

Alton ranks as the eighth poorest city in Texas.

The big issue for the town is the unemployment rate which ranks as the 25th highest in the state.

Overall SnackAbility

3
/10

Population: 17,993
Rank Last Year: 6 (Down 2)
Median Income: $39,077 (23rd lowest)
Unemployment Rate: 9.9% (25th highest)
Poverty Rate: 30.6% (18th highest)
More on Alton:  Data

9. Nacogdoches

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

While the median income is the 15th lowest, there are a substantial number of people that live below the poverty line. Overall, Nacogdoches ranks as having the 20th most people living in poverty of all the places we analyzed in Texas.

Overall SnackAbility

3
/10

Population: 32,347
Rank Last Year: 4 (Down 5)
Median Income: $36,434 (15th lowest)
Unemployment Rate: 9.1% (33rd highest)
Poverty Rate: 30.4% (20th highest)
More on Nacogdoches:  Data | Photos

Nacogdoches, TX

10. Rio Grande City

And rounding out the top ten poorest cities in Texas is Rio Grande City.

The city of 15,494 people ranks in the bottom 20% for both median income and poverty rate in the Lone Star State.

Overall SnackAbility

3
/10

Population: 15,494
Rank Last Year: 8 (Down 2)
Median Income: $42,050 (35th lowest)
Unemployment Rate: 10.9% (10th highest)
Poverty Rate: 29.5% (27th highest)
More on Rio Grande City:  Data | Photos

Rio Grande City, TX

Methodology: How We Determined The Poorest Places In Texas for 2023

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 2017-2021 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 355 places with more than 5,000 people in Texas, we ranked each place from 1 to 355 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 2023”.

Summary: The Poorest Places In Texas For 2023

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: Southlake
    2nd Richest: Bellaire
    3rd Richest: Alamo Heights

For more Texas reading, check out:

Detailed List Of The Poorest Places To Live In Texas

Rank City Population Poverty Rate
1 Prairie View 6,464 53.5%
2 Marlin 5,512 39.6%
3 Roma 11,451 34.9%
4 Jasper 7,070 34.2%
5 Sinton 5,557 37.4%
6 Robstown 10,372 30.0%
7 Raymondville 10,574 32.8%
8 Alton 17,993 30.6%
9 Nacogdoches 32,347 30.4%
10 Rio Grande City 15,494 29.5%
11 Los Fresnos 8,023 33.0%
12 Galena Park 10,770 29.8%
13 Mercedes 16,274 27.0%
14 Hutchins 5,613 30.3%
15 Everman 6,148 29.1%
16 Lamesa 8,685 25.3%
17 Commerce 8,667 30.0%
18 San Marcos 64,812 30.6%
19 Hidalgo 13,939 29.6%
20 Donna 16,743 43.2%
21 Penitas 6,206 27.3%
22 Beeville 13,780 24.3%
23 Brownfield 9,065 26.5%
24 Port Arthur 55,757 25.8%
25 Pharr 78,997 32.5%
26 Alamo 19,644 23.5%
27 Bay City 17,918 23.3%
28 Palmview 14,654 22.4%
29 Jacksonville 14,029 22.2%
30 Marshall 22,862 25.0%
31 Brady 5,129 18.5%
32 Navasota 7,614 23.6%
33 Breckenridge 5,258 17.4%
34 Slaton 5,886 19.4%
35 Eagle Pass 28,367 25.8%
36 Brownsville 185,849 26.5%
37 Vernon 10,206 17.1%
38 Freeport 10,864 20.9%
39 Huntsville 45,446 28.1%
40 Sweetwater 10,605 18.8%
41 Socorro 34,687 23.3%
42 San Benito 24,812 32.0%
43 Mexia 6,946 34.6%
44 Livingston 5,597 17.5%
45 San Juan 35,384 26.0%
46 Jacinto City 9,734 17.8%
47 Gainesville 17,146 23.1%
48 South Houston 16,354 20.0%
49 Lufkin 34,264 20.9%
50 Harlingen 71,124 26.6%
51 Cuero 8,200 21.7%
52 Bonham 10,295 18.1%
53 Mission 85,311 19.8%
54 Stephenville 20,504 20.5%
55 Center 5,197 35.2%
56 Kingsville 25,415 31.3%
57 El Campo 12,280 19.8%
58 Weslaco 40,393 26.2%
59 Rockdale 5,378 20.3%
60 Aransas Pass 9,101 19.1%
61 Waco 136,800 24.8%
62 Brookshire 5,188 21.5%
63 Pecos 12,467 17.9%
64 Edinburg 98,759 23.3%
65 Pearsall 7,888 28.0%
66 Killeen 150,082 15.7%
67 Baytown 82,543 18.5%
68 Gun Barrel City 6,152 17.4%
69 Texarkana 36,256 21.3%
70 Levelland 12,854 17.5%
71 Plainview 20,180 18.4%
72 Mcgregor 5,345 21.4%
73 Forest Hill 13,797 15.5%
74 Mineral Wells 14,925 16.2%
75 Denison 24,324 18.1%
76 Galveston 53,092 18.6%
77 Atlanta 5,417 24.9%
78 El Paso 676,395 18.3%
79 Cameron 5,350 32.5%
80 Mcallen 141,941 21.0%
81 Bryan 85,204 23.5%
82 Brownwood 18,865 16.8%
83 Athens 12,719 24.3%
84 Carrizo Springs 5,014 49.5%
85 Hillsboro 8,193 15.0%
86 Sansom Park 5,363 20.8%
87 Crockett 6,441 30.8%
88 Beaumont 115,013 20.9%
89 Pasadena 151,964 17.9%
90 Wharton 8,595 15.0%
91 Rusk 5,501 11.3%
92 Houston 2,293,288 19.5%
93 Borger 12,612 13.8%
94 Childress 5,751 11.9%
95 Paris 24,447 23.0%
96 Crystal City 6,504 28.7%
97 Orange 19,329 17.0%
98 Humble 16,603 17.9%
99 Laredo 254,697 22.2%
100 Big Spring 26,199 19.2%