These Are The 10 Poorest Cities In Washington For 2018

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

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Washington brings to mind images of Olympia, beautiful landscapes, and some of the best people you’ll find in the good ole US of A.

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

To do so, we analyzed the newest Census data from the American Community Survey for the 118 places in Washington with more than 5,000 people.

We were left with this set of the ten poorest places in the Evergreen State for 2018:

  1. Cheney (Photos)
  2. Pullman (Photos)
  3. Wapato (Photos)
  4. Kelso
  5. Grandview (Photos)
  6. Toppenish (Photos)
  7. Longview (Photos)
  8. Hoquiam (Photos)
  9. Shelton (Photos)
  10. Port Angeles (Photos)

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, Cheney is the poorest place in Washington for 2018.

Rich people not your cup of tea? Feel free to check out the richest places in Washington or the most dangerous.

For more on how we calculated the top ten, and for more information about these places, read on.

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How We Determined The Poorest Places In Washington 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 118 places with more than 5,000 people in Washington, we ranked each place from 1 to 118 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, Cheney, crowned the ‘Poorest Place In Washington For 2018’.

You can learn more about the top ten below or skip to the end to see the rankings for all 118 places.

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1. Cheney

Cheney, Washington

Source: Wikipedia

Population: 11,479
Median Income: $31,004
Unemployment Rate: 11.9%
Poverty Rate: 39.6%
Cheney, unfortunately, ranks as the poorest place in Washington thanks to combination of low pay and and a lack of jobs.

The city of 11,479 people averages the 2nd lowest median household income in Washington 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.

2. Pullman

Pullman, Washington

Source: Wikipedia

Population: 32,176
Median Income: $27,831
Unemployment Rate: 11.0%
Poverty Rate: 40.8%
The second poorest city in Washington is Pullman.

The city ranks as having the 1st highest incidence of poverty and 1st lowest median household income. However, the unemployment rate ‘only’ ranks as the 10th highest in the Evergreen State.

3. Wapato

Wapato, Washington

Source: Wikipedia

Population: 5,062
Median Income: $34,183
Unemployment Rate: 13.0%
Poverty Rate: 36.0%
Placing as the third poorest city, Wapato’s median income ranks as the 5th 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 36.0% 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 Evergreen State.

4. Kelso

Kelso, Washington

Source: Wikipedia

Population: 11,871
Median Income: $34,556
Unemployment Rate: 14.7%
Poverty Rate: 29.7%
Kelso ranks as the fourth poorest place in Washington.

The town ranks as having the 7th lowest median household income and the 6th 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. Grandview

Grandview, Washington

Source: Wikipedia

Population: 11,098
Median Income: $38,936
Unemployment Rate: 16.0%
Poverty Rate: 22.5%
The fifth poorest city in Washington is Grandview.

The city ranks as having the 16th 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 14th highest in Washington.

Still not the best news for Grandview.

6. Toppenish

Toppenish, Washington

Source: Wikipedia

Population: 8,977
Median Income: $37,109
Unemployment Rate: 9.7%
Poverty Rate: 34.1%
Toppenish ranks as the sixth poorest place in the Evergreen State.

It ranks as having the 5th highest incidence of poverty and the 20th highest unemployment rate.

7. Longview

Longview, Washington

Source: Wikipedia

Population: 36,720
Median Income: $38,793
Unemployment Rate: 11.5%
Poverty Rate: 23.4%
Longview places as the seventh poorest city in Washington.

The city of over 36,720 ranks as having the 12th 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. Hoquiam

Hoquiam, Washington

Source: Wikipedia

Population: 8,434
Median Income: $37,628
Unemployment Rate: 13.2%
Poverty Rate: 21.1%
Hoquiam ranks as the eighth poorest city in Washington.

The big issue for the town is the unemployment rate which ranks as the 4th highest in the state.

9. Shelton

Shelton, Washington

Source: Wikipedia

Population: 9,832
Median Income: $38,550
Unemployment Rate: 10.6%
Poverty Rate: 24.3%
Shelton couldn’t stay out of the top ten poorest places in Washington; 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, Shelton ranks as having the 11th most people living in poverty of all the places we analyzed in Washington.

10. Port Angeles

Port Angeles, Washington

Source: Wikipedia

Population: 19,420
Median Income: $40,398
Unemployment Rate: 11.0%
Poverty Rate: 22.3%
And rounding out the top ten poorest cities in Washington is Port Angeles.

The city of 19,420 people ranks in the bottom 20% for both median income and poverty rate in the Evergreen State.

There You Have It – The Poorest Places In Washington For 2018

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

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 Washington, according to data:

Richest: Snoqualmie
2nd Richest: Sammamish
3rd Richest: Woodinville

For more Washington reading , check out:

  • These Are The 10 Most Boring Places In Washington
  • These Are The 10 Dumbest Cities In Washington
  • These Are The 10 Most Dangerous Cities In Washington
  • Detailed List Of The Poorest Cities In Washington

    City Rank Poverty Rate
    Cheney 1 39.6%
    Pullman 2 40.8%
    Wapato 3 36.0%
    Kelso 4 29.7%
    Grandview 5 22.5%
    Toppenish 6 34.1%
    Longview 7 23.4%
    Hoquiam 8 21.1%
    Shelton 9 24.3%
    Port Angeles 10 22.3%
    Clarkston 11 21.1%
    Yakima 12 22.9%
    Centralia 13 22.5%
    Airway Heights 14 21.1%
    Aberdeen 15 21.6%
    Lakewood 16 20.3%
    Sedro-Woolley 17 21.4%
    Sunnyside 18 24.5%
    Walla Walla 19 21.9%
    Quincy 20 20.5%
    Bellingham 21 22.2%
    Yelm 22 18.4%
    Burlington 23 20.5%
    Ocean Shores 24 10.2%
    Bremerton 25 19.6%
    Ellensburg 26 36.7%
    Spokane 27 19.7%
    Sequim 28 12.9%
    Chehalis 29 20.5%
    Union Gap 30 26.5%
    Mount Vernon 31 19.6%
    Tukwila 32 21.5%
    Moses Lake 33 14.5%
    Oak Harbor 34 14.0%
    Everett 35 17.6%
    Connell 36 29.5%
    Olympia 37 17.1%
    Tacoma 38 17.9%
    Ferndale 39 16.1%
    Port Orchard 40 15.4%
    Seatac 41 18.1%
    Vancouver 42 13.5%
    Kennewick 43 17.6%
    Spokane Valley 44 14.5%
    Ephrata 45 16.0%
    Pacific 46 11.8%
    Othello 47 26.6%
    Fife 48 13.6%
    Wenatchee 49 13.5%
    Pasco 50 16.9%
    College Place 51 17.7%
    Auburn 52 14.5%
    Lacey 53 10.6%
    Port Townsend 54 13.4%
    East Wenatchee 55 16.5%
    Burien 56 17.4%
    Kent 57 15.2%
    Federal Way 58 13.5%
    Des Moines 59 13.6%
    Enumclaw 60 12.9%
    Lynnwood 61 14.8%
    Sumner 62 14.6%
    Liberty Lake 63 7.8%
    University Place 64 11.4%
    Gig Harbor 65 6.2%
    Battle Ground 66 11.7%
    Puyallup 67 10.7%
    Stanwood 68 14.0%
    Steilacoom 69 12.0%
    Dupont 70 7.0%
    Arlington 71 11.1%
    Snohomish 72 12.2%
    Selah 73 13.2%
    Marysville 74 7.8%
    North Bend 75 13.2%
    Fircrest 76 5.9%
    Washougal 77 9.1%
    Shoreline 78 9.9%
    Tumwater 79 8.6%
    Prosser 80 12.2%
    Anacortes 81 10.0%
    Woodland 82 15.5%
    Monroe 83 10.4%
    Renton 84 11.9%
    West Richland 85 9.2%
    Richland 86 10.5%
    Orting 87 10.1%
    Seattle 88 13.0%
    Bonney Lake 89 8.4%
    Mountlake Terrace 90 7.6%
    Bothell 91 6.7%
    Maple Valley 92 4.2%
    Poulsbo 93 6.4%
    Milton 94 6.1%
    Edmonds 95 7.1%
    Lake Stevens 96 7.6%
    Duvall 97 7.8%
    Lynden 98 6.7%
    Lake Forest Park 99 4.8%
    Kenmore 100 7.4%

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