The 10 Poorest Cities In Virginia For 2023


The poorest places in Virginia are Richlands and Farmville for 2023 based on Saturday Night Science.

Like all states, Virginia has certain places that are going on hard times. These Virginia places have an above-average percentage of people living in poverty, out of work, or not making as much as they should be.

Even as the economy continues to improve, it’s worthwhile to look at the places in each state struggling to make ends meet. So we set our sites on locating the poorest places in Virginia.

To do so, we used Saturday Night Science to analyze the newest Census data from the American Community Survey for the 63 cities in Virginia with more than 5,000 people.


Table Of Contents: Top Ten | Methodology | Summary | Table


Here are the ten poorest places in Virginia for 2023:

  1. Richlands
  2. Farmville
  3. Blacksburg
  4. Martinsville
  5. Wytheville
  6. Danville
  7. Radford
  8. Emporia
  9. Hopewell
  10. Marion

What’s the poorest city in Virginia? According to the facts, Richlands is the poorest place in Virginia for 2023.

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.

For more Virginia reading, check out:


Table Of Contents: Top Ten | Methodology | Summary | Table


The 10 Poorest Cities In Virginia For 2023

1. Richlands

Richlands, VA

Source: Wikipedia User Brian Stansberry | CC BY 4.0
Overall SnackAbility

4
/10

Population: 5,300
Rank Last Year: 1 (No Change)
Median Income: $31,169 (lowest)
Poverty Rate: 27.8% (3rd highest)
People In Poverty: 1,470
More on Richlands: Data | Crime | Cost Of Living

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

The city of 5,300 people averages the lowest median household income in Virginia and the 3rd 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. Farmville

Farmville, VA

Source: Public domain
Overall SnackAbility

4
/10

Population: 7,266
Rank Last Year: 2 (No Change)
Median Income: $35,690 (3rd lowest)
Poverty Rate: 26.9% (4th highest)
People In Poverty: 1,957
More on Farmville: Data | Crime | Cost Of Living

The second poorest city in Virginia is Farmville.

The city ranks as having the 4th highest incidence of poverty and 3rd lowest median household income. However, the unemployment rate ‘only’ ranks as the 38th highest in the Old Dominion.

3. Blacksburg

Blacksburg, VA

Source: Wikipedia User Smash the Iron Cage | CC BY-SA 4.0
Overall SnackAbility

8.5
/10

Population: 44,385
Rank Last Year: 7 (Up 4)
Median Income: $43,804 (11th lowest)
Poverty Rate: 45.2% (highest)
People In Poverty: 20,070
More on Blacksburg: Data | Crime | Cost Of Living

Placing as the third poorest city, Blacksburg’s median income ranks as the 11th 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 45.21934438347596% 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 Old Dominion.

4. Martinsville

Martinsville, VA

Source: Wikipedia User Sleddog116 at en.wikipedia | CC BY-SA 3.0
Overall SnackAbility

4
/10

Population: 13,476
Rank Last Year: 5 (Up 1)
Median Income: $36,832 (5th lowest)
Poverty Rate: 25.4% (7th highest)
People In Poverty: 3,418
More on Martinsville: Data | Crime | Cost Of Living

Martinsville ranks as the fourth poorest place in Virginia.

The town ranks as having the 5th lowest median household income and the 7th 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. Wytheville

Wytheville, VA

Source: Wikipedia User Mark Warner | CC BY-SA 2.0
Overall SnackAbility

6
/10

Population: 8,260
Rank Last Year: 12 (Up 7)
Median Income: $41,074 (8th lowest)
Poverty Rate: 25.8% (6th highest)
People In Poverty: 2,128
More on Wytheville: Data | Crime | Cost Of Living

The fifth poorest city in Virginia is Wytheville.

The city ranks as having the 8th 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 Virginia.

Still not the best news for Wytheville.

6. Danville

Danville, VA

Source: Wikipedia User Miguel Gereda | CC BY-SA 4.0
Overall SnackAbility

5
/10

Population: 42,556
Rank Last Year: 10 (Up 4)
Median Income: $38,904 (6th lowest)
Poverty Rate: 23.1% (9th highest)
People In Poverty: 9,828
More on Danville: Data | Crime | Cost Of Living

Danville ranks as the sixth poorest place in the Old Dominion.

It ranks as having the 9th highest incidence of poverty and the 19th highest unemployment rate.

7. Radford

Radford, VA

Source: Wikipedia User DwayneP at English Wikipedia | CC BY-SA 3.0
Overall SnackAbility

6
/10

Population: 16,205
Rank Last Year: 3 (Down 4)
Median Income: $44,360 (14th lowest)
Poverty Rate: 35.4% (2nd highest)
People In Poverty: 5,734
More on Radford: Data | Crime | Cost Of Living

Radford places as the seventh poorest city in Virginia.

The city of over 16,205 ranks as having the 2nd 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. Emporia

Emporia, VA

Source: Public domain
Overall SnackAbility

5
/10

Population: 5,761
Rank Last Year: 9 (Up 1)
Median Income: $36,111 (4th lowest)
Poverty Rate: 21.5% (16th highest)
People In Poverty: 1,237
More on Emporia: Data | Crime | Cost Of Living

Emporia ranks as the eighth poorest city in Virginia.

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

9. Hopewell

Hopewell, VA

Source: Public domain
Overall SnackAbility

4
/10

Population: 23,020
Rank Last Year: 11 (Up 2)
Median Income: $44,209 (13th lowest)
Poverty Rate: 24.0% (8th highest)
People In Poverty: 5,521
More on Hopewell: Data | Crime | Cost Of Living

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

While the median income is the 13th lowest, there are a substantial number of people that live below the poverty line. Overall, Hopewell ranks as having the 8th most people living in poverty of all the places we analyzed in Virginia.

10. Marion

Marion, VA

Source: Wikipedia User DwayneP (talk) | CC BY-SA 3.0
Overall SnackAbility

5
/10

Population: 5,817
Rank Last Year: 4 (Down 6)
Median Income: $33,250 (2nd lowest)
Poverty Rate: 21.1% (19th highest)
People In Poverty: 1,226
More on Marion: Data | Crime | Cost Of Living

And rounding out the top ten poorest cities in Virginia is Marion.

The city of 5,817 people ranks in the bottom 20% for both median income and poverty rate in the Old Dominion.

Methodology: How We Determined The Poorest Places In Virginia 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 used Saturday Night Science to look at this set of criteria from the newly released 2017-2021 American Community Survey:

  • Poverty Level
  • Median Household Income

After we collected the data for all 63 places with more than 5,000 people in Virginia, we ranked each place from 1 to 63 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, Richlands, crowned the “Poorest Place In Virginia For 2023”.

This report has been updated for 2023, which is our tenth time ranking the poorest places in Virginia.

Summary: The Poorest Cities In Virginia For 2023

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

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 Virginia, according to data:

    Richest: Falls Church
    2nd Richest: Vienna
    3rd Richest: Leesburg

For more Virginia reading, check out:

Detailed List Of The Poorest Places To Live In Virginia

Rank City Population Poverty Rate Median Income People In Poverty
1 Richlands 5,300 27.8% $31,169 1,470
2 Farmville 7,266 26.9% $35,690 1,957
3 Blacksburg 44,385 45.2% $43,804 20,070
4 Martinsville 13,476 25.4% $36,832 3,418
5 Wytheville 8,260 25.8% $41,074 2,128
6 Danville 42,556 23.1% $38,904 9,828
7 Radford 16,205 35.4% $44,360 5,734
8 Emporia 5,761 21.5% $36,111 1,237
9 Hopewell 23,020 24.0% $44,209 5,521
10 Marion 5,817 21.1% $33,250 1,226
11 Galax 6,681 21.9% $39,808 1,466
12 Harrisonburg 52,062 25.8% $51,055 13,435
13 Buena Vista 6,649 21.4% $42,156 1,425
14 South Boston 8,011 22.9% $45,408 1,835
15 Petersburg 33,229 21.3% $44,890 7,088
16 Pulaski 8,984 21.8% $50,410 1,962
17 Bristol 16,996 17.7% $43,879 3,010
18 Franklin 8,249 19.8% $49,424 1,632
19 Covington 5,716 15.8% $41,242 905
20 Roanoke 99,578 18.4% $48,476 18,320
21 Waynesboro 22,149 16.6% $47,238 3,666
22 Woodstock 5,716 23.1% $61,210 1,318
23 Richmond 225,676 19.8% $54,795 44,649
24 Lynchburg 78,973 17.6% $54,015 13,901
25 Charlottesville 46,597 23.1% $63,470 10,759
26 Portsmouth 97,454 17.2% $54,020 16,728
27 Big Stone Gap 5,280 18.9% $57,431 998
28 Norfolk 238,556 17.4% $56,244 41,509
29 Lexington 7,287 22.8% $66,114 1,661
30 Ashland 7,478 16.9% $55,521 1,263
31 Abingdon 8,350 15.5% $54,384 1,295
32 Front Royal 15,039 14.5% $54,731 2,183
33 Bluefield 5,079 16.2% $57,895 823
34 Staunton 25,358 12.3% $53,041 3,113
35 Newport News 185,069 15.8% $57,463 29,189
36 Orange 5,012 15.7% $58,908 788
37 Hampton 136,748 14.4% $59,380 19,642
38 Vinton 8,039 11.3% $56,829 908
39 Williamsburg 15,299 15.5% $65,297 2,364
40 Winchester 28,194 13.3% $61,321 3,740
41 Strasburg 7,036 5.6% $52,486 391
42 Christiansburg 23,174 12.9% $63,934 2,999
43 Fredericksburg 28,027 14.3% $72,293 4,004
44 Dumfries 5,669 14.1% $71,784 801
45 Salem 25,335 10.0% $66,472 2,521
46 Bridgewater 6,092 9.8% $66,847 598
47 Colonial Heights 18,127 9.0% $65,570 1,629
48 Culpeper 19,740 9.7% $79,572 1,915
49 Smithfield 8,513 12.0% $92,913 1,020
50 Suffolk 93,268 9.6% $81,883 8,950
51 Virginia Beach 457,658 7.8% $81,810 35,772
52 Warrenton 10,002 6.2% $78,275 618
53 Chesapeake 247,172 8.0% $85,563 19,657
54 Fairfax 23,980 10.1% $118,492 2,413
55 Alexandria 158,185 9.6% $105,450 15,149
56 Manassas 42,596 5.6% $101,934 2,392
57 Manassas Park 17,081 4.4% $90,544 751
58 Herndon 24,574 7.3% $117,741 1,803
59 Poquoson 12,382 4.4% $112,026 547
60 Purcellville 8,910 4.5% $140,536 398
61 Leesburg 48,223 3.6% $116,350 1,743
62 Vienna 16,465 3.7% $200,938 610
63 Falls Church 14,494 2.5% $155,071 359
About Chris Kolmar

Chris Kolmar has been in the real estate business for almost ten years now. He originally worked for Movoto Real Estate as the director of marketing before founding HomeSnacks.

He believes the key to finding the right place to live comes down to looking at the data, reading about things to do, and, most importantly, checking it out yourself before you move.

If you've been looking for a place to live in the past several years, you've probably stumbled upon his writing already.

You can find out more about him on LinkedIn or his website.

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