Poorest Cities In Vermont For 2020


We analyzed the cities and towns in Vermont to determine which ones are at the bottom of the income ladder.

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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 Vermont.

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Vermont brings to mind images of Montpelier, beautiful landscapes, and some of the best people you'll find in the good ole US of A.

However, like all states, Vermont 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 Vermont that could use a helping hand.

To do so, we analyzed the newest Census data from the American Community Survey for the 13 places in Vermont with more than 2,000 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 Vermont? According to the facts, Barre is the poorest place in Vermont for 2020.

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

The 10 Poorest Cities In Vermont For 2020

Barre, VT

Overall SnackAbility

5
/10

Population: 8,711
Rank Last Year: 1 (No Change)
Median Income: $39,187 (3rd lowest)
Unemployment Rate: 6.3% (4th highest)
Poverty Rate: 26.6% (2nd highest)
More on Barre:  Data | Photos

Barre, unfortunately, ranks as the poorest place in Vermont thanks to combination of low pay and and a lack of jobs.

The city of 8,711 people averages the 3rd lowest median household income in Vermont and the 2nd 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.

Winooski, VT

Overall SnackAbility

8
/10

Population: 7,232
Rank Last Year: 4 (Up 2)
Median Income: $49,663 (6th lowest)
Unemployment Rate: 6.9% (2nd highest)
Poverty Rate: 31.0% (1st highest)
More on Winooski:  Data | Photos

The second poorest city in Vermont is Winooski.

The city ranks as having the 1st highest incidence of poverty and 6th lowest median household income. However, the unemployment rate 'only' ranks as the 2nd highest in the Green Mountain State.

Newport, VT

Source: Public domain
Overall SnackAbility

4
/10

Population: 4,331
Rank Last Year: 2 (Down 1)
Median Income: $39,112 (2nd lowest)
Unemployment Rate: 6.4% (3rd highest)
Poverty Rate: 17.2% (5th highest)
More on Newport:  Data | Photos

Placing as the third poorest city, Newport's median income ranks as the 2nd 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 17.17487620536878% 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 Green Mountain State.

Burlington, VT

Overall SnackAbility

7.5
/10

Population: 42,513
Rank Last Year: 6 (Up 2)
Median Income: $50,324 (7th lowest)
Unemployment Rate: 4.4% (7th highest)
Poverty Rate: 24.7% (3rd highest)
More on Burlington:  Data | Photos

Burlington ranks as the fourth poorest place in Vermont.

The town ranks as having the 7th lowest median household income and the 3rd 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.

Morrisville, VT

Source: Public domain
Overall SnackAbility

5
/10

Population: 2,183
Rank Last Year: 5 (No Change)
Median Income: $42,583 (4th lowest)
Unemployment Rate: 5.7% (6th highest)
Poverty Rate: 12.6% (7th highest)
More on Morrisville:  Data | Photos

The fifth poorest city in Vermont is Morrisville.

The city ranks as having the 4th 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 7th highest in Vermont.

Still not the best news for Morrisville.

Swanton, VT

Overall SnackAbility

5
/10

Population: 2,371
Rank Last Year: 10 (Up 4)
Median Income: $51,538 (8th lowest)
Unemployment Rate: 7.1% (1st highest)
Poverty Rate: 10.5% (8th highest)
More on Swanton:  Data | Photos

Swanton ranks as the sixth poorest place in the Green Mountain State.

It ranks as having the 8th highest incidence of poverty and the 1st highest unemployment rate.

Bellows Falls, VT

Overall SnackAbility

7
/10

Population: 2,985
Rank Last Year: 3 (Down 4)
Median Income: $32,576 (1st lowest)
Unemployment Rate: 2.9% (13th highest)
Poverty Rate: 23.8% (4th highest)
More on Bellows Falls:  Data | Photos

Bellows Falls places as the seventh poorest city in Vermont.

The city of over 2,985 ranks as having the 4th highest incidence of poverty in the state. However, it has a very low cost of living which helps to pay the bills each month.

Rutland, VT

Overall SnackAbility

6
/10

Population: 15,577
Rank Last Year: 7 (Down 1)
Median Income: $45,229 (5th lowest)
Unemployment Rate: 4.1% (9th highest)
Poverty Rate: 14.1% (6th highest)
More on Rutland:  Data | Photos

Rutland ranks as the eighth poorest city in Vermont.

The big issue for the town is the unemployment rate which ranks as the 9th highest in the state.

St. Albans, VT

Overall SnackAbility

6
/10

Population: 6,824
Rank Last Year: 8 (Down 1)
Median Income: $53,113 (9th lowest)
Unemployment Rate: 6.0% (5th highest)
Poverty Rate: 8.5% (11th highest)
More on St. Albans:  Data | Photos

St. Albans couldn't stay out of the top ten poorest places in Vermont; it ranks number 9.

While the median income is the 9th lowest, there are a substantial number of people that live below the poverty line. Overall, St. Albans ranks as having the 11th most people living in poverty of all the places we analyzed in Vermont.

Vergennes, VT

Source: Public domain
Overall SnackAbility

5
/10

Population: 2,612
Rank Last Year: 9 (Down 1)
Median Income: $59,464 (10th lowest)
Unemployment Rate: 4.4% (8th highest)
Poverty Rate: 9.9% (10th highest)
More on Vergennes:  Data | Photos

And rounding out the top ten poorest cities in Vermont is Vergennes.

The city of 2,612 people ranks in the bottom 20% for both median income and poverty rate in the Green Mountain State.

How We Determined The Poorest Places In Vermont 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 13 places with more than 2,000 people in Vermont, we ranked each place from 1 to 13 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, Barre, crowned the "Poorest Place In Vermont For 2020". You can download the data here.

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

Like we said earlier, when we set out to identify the poorest places in Vermont, we weren't sure what we'd encounter, but it ended up being some of the best places to live in Vermont.

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 Vermont, according to data:

    Richest: Essex Junction
    2nd Richest: South Burlington
    3rd Richest: Montpelier

For more Vermont reading, check out:

Detailed List Of The Poorest Places To Live In Vermont

Rank City Population Poverty Rate
1 Barre 8,711 26.6%
2 Winooski 7,232 31.0%
3 Newport 4,331 17.2%
4 Burlington 42,513 24.7%
5 Morrisville 2,183 12.6%
6 Swanton 2,371 10.5%
7 Bellows Falls 2,985 23.8%
8 Rutland 15,577 14.1%
9 St. Albans 6,824 8.5%
10 Vergennes 2,612 9.9%
11 Montpelier 7,547 10.3%
12 South Burlington 18,975 5.9%
13 Essex Junction 10,395 6.2%

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