These Are The 10 Poorest Cities In Wisconsin For 2019


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

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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 2019. This is our fourth time ranking the poorest places in Wisconsin.

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

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

To do so, we analyzed the newest Census data from the American Community Survey for the 143 places in Wisconsin with more than 5,000 people.

We were left with this set of the ten poorest places in the Badger State for 2019:

  1. Whitewater (Photos)
  2. Milwaukee (Photos)
  3. Antigo (Photos)
  4. Beloit (Photos)
  5. Wisconsin Rapids (Photos)
  6. Racine (Photos)
  7. Wausau (Photos)
  8. Menomonie (Photos)
  9. La Crosse (Photos)
  10. Baraboo (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, Whitewater is the poorest place in Wisconsin for 2019.

Rich people not your cup of tea? Feel free to check out the richest places in Wisconsin 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 Wisconsin reading, check out:

How We Determined The Poorest Places In Wisconsin for 2019

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 2013-2017 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 143 places with more than 5,000 people in Wisconsin, we ranked each place from 1 to 143 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, Whitewater, crowned the “Poorest Place In Wisconsin For 2019”.

You can learn more about the top ten below or skip to the end to see the rankings for all 143 places.

Whitewater, WI

Overall SnackAbility

6
/10

Population: 14,762
Rank Last Year: 1 (No Change)
Median Income: $31,827 (1st lowest)
Unemployment Rate: 8.6% (5th highest)
Poverty Rate: 40.2% (1st highest)
More on Whitewater:  Data | Photos

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

The city of 14,762 people averages the 1st lowest median household income in Wisconsin and the 1st 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.

Milwaukee, WI

Overall SnackAbility

4
/10

Population: 599,086
Rank Last Year: 2 (No Change)
Median Income: $38,289 (4th lowest)
Unemployment Rate: 9.0% (3rd highest)
Poverty Rate: 27.4% (3rd highest)
More on Milwaukee:  Data | Photos

The second poorest city in Wisconsin is Milwaukee.

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

Antigo, WI

Source: Public domain
Overall SnackAbility

5
/10

Population: 7,817
Rank Last Year: 3 (No Change)
Median Income: $35,908 (2nd lowest)
Unemployment Rate: 9.4% (2nd highest)
Poverty Rate: 20.9% (8th highest)
More on Antigo:  Data | Photos

Placing as the third poorest city, Antigo’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 20.9% 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 Badger State.

Beloit, WI

Overall SnackAbility

4
/10

Population: 36,733
Rank Last Year: 3 (No Change)
Median Income: $38,930 (6th lowest)
Unemployment Rate: 10.3% (1st highest)
Poverty Rate: 24.8% (5th highest)
More on Beloit:  Data | Photos

Beloit ranks as the fourth poorest place in Wisconsin.

The town ranks as having the 6th lowest median household income and the 5th 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.

Wisconsin Rapids, WI

Overall SnackAbility

7
/10

Population: 17,905
Rank Last Year: 8 (Up 3)
Median Income: $38,322 (5th lowest)
Unemployment Rate: 7.0% (8th highest)
Poverty Rate: 17.0% (19th highest)
More on Wisconsin Rapids:  Data | Photos

The fifth poorest city in Wisconsin is Wisconsin Rapids.

The city ranks as having the 5th 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 19th highest in Wisconsin.

Still not the best news for Wisconsin Rapids.

Racine, WI

Overall SnackAbility

5
/10

Population: 77,740
Rank Last Year: 5 (Down 1)
Median Income: $42,590 (19th lowest)
Unemployment Rate: 8.5% (6th highest)
Poverty Rate: 20.0% (9th highest)
More on Racine:  Data | Photos

Racine ranks as the sixth poorest place in the Badger State.

It ranks as having the 9th highest incidence of poverty and the 6th highest unemployment rate.

Wausau, WI

Overall SnackAbility

7
/10

Population: 38,934
Rank Last Year: 12 (Up 5)
Median Income: $40,260 (10th lowest)
Unemployment Rate: 6.2% (16th highest)
Poverty Rate: 17.7% (14th highest)
More on Wausau:  Data | Photos

Wausau places as the seventh poorest city in Wisconsin.

The city of over 38,934 ranks as having the 14th highest incidence of poverty in the state. However, it has a very low cost of living which helps to pay the bills each month.

Menomonie, WI

Overall SnackAbility

6
/10

Population: 16,222
Rank Last Year: 7 (No Change)
Median Income: $42,896 (20th lowest)
Unemployment Rate: 6.3% (14th highest)
Poverty Rate: 24.1% (6th highest)
More on Menomonie:  Data | Photos

Menomonie ranks as the eighth poorest city in Wisconsin.

The big issue for the town is the unemployment rate which ranks as the 14th highest in the state.

La Crosse, WI

Overall SnackAbility

7
/10

Population: 51,928
Rank Last Year: 13 (Up 4)
Median Income: $42,243 (17th lowest)
Unemployment Rate: 6.0% (20th highest)
Poverty Rate: 25.2% (4th highest)
More on La Crosse:  Data | Photos

La Crosse couldn’t stay out of the top ten poorest places in Wisconsin; 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, La Crosse ranks as having the 4th most people living in poverty of all the places we analyzed in Wisconsin.

Baraboo, WI

Overall SnackAbility

7
/10

Population: 12,080
Rank Last Year: 16 (Up 6)
Median Income: $42,482 (18th lowest)
Unemployment Rate: 6.6% (12th highest)
Poverty Rate: 15.6% (25th highest)
More on Baraboo:  Data | Photos

And rounding out the top ten poorest cities in Wisconsin is Baraboo.

The city of 12,080 people ranks in the bottom 20% for both median income and poverty rate in the Badger State.

There You Have It – The Poorest Places In Wisconsin For 2019

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

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 Wisconsin, according to data:

    Richest: Fox Point
    2nd Richest: Whitefish Bay
    3rd Richest: Elm Grove

For more Wisconsin reading, check out:

Detailed List Of The Poorest Places To Live In Wisconsin

Rank City Population Poverty Rate
1 Whitewater 14,762 40.2%
2 Milwaukee 599,086 27.4%
3 Antigo 7,817 20.9%
4 Beloit 36,733 24.8%
5 Wisconsin Rapids 17,905 17.0%
6 Racine 77,740 20.0%
7 Wausau 38,934 17.7%
8 Menomonie 16,222 24.1%
9 La Crosse 51,928 25.2%
10 Baraboo 12,080 15.6%
11 Ashland 7,997 12.9%
12 Kenosha 99,623 19.0%
13 Marinette 10,729 16.8%
14 Superior 26,473 18.0%
15 Stevens Point 26,526 23.1%
16 Platteville 12,194 32.7%
17 Chippewa Falls 13,920 17.7%
18 Lake Geneva 7,766 14.2%
19 Prairie Du Chien 5,715 16.8%
20 Green Bay 104,796 17.2%
21 South Milwaukee 21,185 16.3%
22 Sheboygan 48,560 12.3%
23 Two Rivers 11,305 12.3%
24 Portage 10,321 15.0%
25 Sparta 9,621 17.4%
26 New London 7,001 13.9%
27 Delavan 8,383 12.2%
28 Fond Du Lac 42,910 12.6%
29 Tomah 9,347 11.7%
30 Oshkosh 66,649 18.8%
31 Beaver Dam 16,346 11.1%
32 Watertown 23,730 12.2%
33 West Allis 60,546 13.4%
34 Eau Claire 67,945 17.4%
35 Shawano 9,052 14.6%
36 Janesville 63,957 13.3%
37 Fort Atkinson 12,429 13.6%
38 Cudahy 18,350 12.5%
39 Menasha 17,945 12.8%
40 Menasha 17,945 12.8%
41 Manitowoc 32,939 13.8%
42 Richland Center 5,053 13.6%
43 St. Francis 9,532 12.1%
44 Jefferson 7,975 9.2%
45 Rice Lake 8,302 15.1%
46 Merrill 9,264 13.3%
47 Berlin 5,423 13.4%
48 Twin Lakes 6,040 10.3%
49 Madison 248,856 18.3%
50 Madison 248,856 18.3%
51 Sturgeon Bay 8,917 10.6%
52 Rhinelander 7,501 12.6%
53 Marshfield 18,326 11.3%
54 Fitchburg 27,914 12.2%
55 Reedsburg 9,480 14.5%
56 Monroe 10,688 13.7%
57 Ashwaubenon 17,141 9.4%
58 Waupaca 5,942 7.7%
59 Greenfield 37,082 8.9%
60 Waupun 11,277 10.1%
61 Shorewood 13,367 12.8%
62 Brown Deer 12,076 6.2%
63 Edgerton 5,496 15.9%
64 Elkhorn 9,930 8.7%
65 Appleton 73,832 11.6%
66 Bellevue 15,373 11.3%
67 Stoughton 13,058 8.6%
68 Waukesha 72,173 10.6%
69 Burlington 10,652 9.6%
70 Hobart 8,178 9.2%
71 River Falls 15,256 16.2%
72 Plover 12,494 10.3%
73 Sheboygan Falls 7,850 6.1%
74 Howard 19,121 8.4%
75 West Bend 31,656 8.0%
76 Altoona 7,350 8.4%
77 Milton 5,566 7.4%
78 Greendale 14,293 6.5%
79 Jackson 6,942 10.4%
80 Middleton 18,951 7.9%
81 New Richmond 8,761 6.8%
82 North Fond Du Lac 5,069 7.2%
83 Onalaska 18,452 6.9%
84 Hartford 14,552 9.6%
85 Pleasant Prairie 20,552 7.5%
86 De Pere 24,695 7.4%
87 Kimberly 6,718 6.5%
88 Neenah 25,821 11.1%
89 Plymouth 8,477 7.1%
90 Little Chute 11,006 9.1%
91 Mount Pleasant 26,300 6.6%
92 Weston 15,068 12.0%
93 Monona 7,989 7.9%
94 Sun Prairie 32,112 9.1%
95 Ripon 7,738 8.5%
96 Rothschild 5,292 7.8%
97 Caledonia 24,803 5.4%
98 Cottage Grove 6,795 8.3%
99 Oak Creek 35,588 6.8%
100 Evansville 5,222 6.3%

 Poorest 

One thought on “These Are The 10 Poorest Cities In Wisconsin For 2019

  1. I live near whitewater friends live in whitewater, there is no place that rents for 700 or less month, average house goes for 1,500 month

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