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 25 places in Vermont with more than 2,000 people.
We were left with this set of the ten poorest places in the Green Mountain State for 2018:
- Newport (Photos)
- Fair Haven
- Bellows Falls (Photos)
- St. Johnsbury (Photos)
- Burlington (Photos)
- West Brattleboro
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, Bennington is the poorest place in Vermont for 2018.
For more on how we calculated the top ten, and for more information about these places, read on.
How We Determined The Poorest Places In Vermont For 2018
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 2012-2016 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 25 places with more than 2,000 people in Vermont, we ranked each place from 1 to 25 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, Bennington, crowned the ‘Poorest Place In Vermont For 2018’.
You can learn more about the top ten below or skip to the end to see the rankings for all 25 places.
Population: 8,945Median Income: $37,001
Unemployment Rate: 8.2%
Poverty Rate: 25.8%
Bennington, unfortunately, ranks as the poorest place in Vermont thanks to combination of low pay and and a lack of jobs.
The city of 8,945 people averages the 7th 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.
Population: 4,426Median Income: $32,083
Unemployment Rate: 7.9%
Poverty Rate: 22.2%
The second poorest city in Vermont is Newport.
The city ranks as having the 7th highest incidence of poverty and 2nd lowest median household income. However, the unemployment rate ‘only’ ranks as the 5th highest in the Green Mountain State.
Population: 8,831Median Income: $36,992
Unemployment Rate: 6.9%
Poverty Rate: 23.5%
Placing as the third poorest city, Barre’s median income ranks as the 6th 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 23.5% 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.
4. Fair Haven
Population: 2,273Median Income: $37,644
Unemployment Rate: 8.9%
Poverty Rate: 19.0%
Fair Haven ranks as the fourth poorest place in Vermont.
The town ranks as having the 8th lowest median household income and the 11th 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. Bellows Falls
Population: 3,032Median Income: $31,963
Unemployment Rate: 5.7%
Poverty Rate: 22.6%
The fifth poorest city in Vermont is Bellows Falls.
The city ranks as having the 1st 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 6th highest in Vermont.
Still not the best news for Bellows Falls.
Population: 7,322Median Income: $49,000
Unemployment Rate: 11.0%
Poverty Rate: 21.5%
Brattleboro ranks as the sixth poorest place in the Green Mountain State.
It ranks as having the 9th highest incidence of poverty and the 1st highest unemployment rate.
Population: 3,731 Median Income: $33,254
Unemployment Rate: 4.4%
Poverty Rate: 24.1%
Springfield places as the seventh poorest city in Vermont.
The city of over 3,731 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.
8. St. Johnsbury
Population: 6,153Median Income: $39,232
Unemployment Rate: 10.3%
Poverty Rate: 14.0%
St. Johnsbury ranks as the eighth poorest city in Vermont.
The big issue for the town is the unemployment rate which ranks as the 2nd highest in the state.
Population: 42,556Median Income: $46,754
Unemployment Rate: 6.9%
Poverty Rate: 25.1%
Burlington couldn’t stay out of the top ten poorest places in Vermont; it ranks number 9.
While the median income is the 17th lowest, there are a substantial number of people that live below the poverty line. Overall, Burlington ranks as having the 3rd most people living in poverty of all the places we analyzed in Vermont.
10. West Brattleboro
Population: 2,657Median Income: $36,838
Unemployment Rate: 6.1%
Poverty Rate: 17.1%
And rounding out the top ten poorest cities in Vermont is West Brattleboro.
The city of 2,657 people ranks in the bottom 20% for both median income and poverty rate in the Green Mountain State.
There You Have It – The Poorest Places In Vermont For 2018
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: South Burlington
2nd Richest: Essex Junction
3rd Richest: Manchester Center
For more Vermont reading , check out:
Detailed List Of The Poorest Cities In Vermont
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