Now that it’s the time of year that we like to focus on need and giving, we should take a look at the Arkansas towns where residents might welcome a little extra help this year. When it comes to overall financial health, Arkansas ranks 48th out of the 50 US states in terms of wealth. Maybe we don’t have a lot to give, but Arkansans are well known for assisting neighbors in need. Based on per capita income data collected from 2000-2010 Census data (and not based on the reported percentage of residents living below poverty), these 15 towns are ranked as the least wealthy in the state.
We’re aware that these uncertain times are limiting many aspects of life as we all practice social and physical distancing. While we’re continuing to feature destinations that make our state wonderful, we don’t expect or encourage you to go check them out immediately. We believe that supporting local attractions is important now more than ever and we hope our articles inspire your future adventures! And on that note, please nominate your favorite local business that could use some love right now:
The town of Reed in Desha County reported a population of 141 as of the 2010 census. Located not far from the Mississippi state line, Reed reported a per capita income of $8,727 during that census year. Nearly 40% of the town's population was reported as living below the poverty line.
The very small town of Victoria, Arkansas is located on State Highway 158 in Mississippi County and reported a population of 59 as of the 2000 census. Despite none of the population being reported as living below the poverty line, Victoria's per capita income was reported as $8,721 - one of the lowest in the state.
With a population of 360 reported as of the 2000 census, Mitchellville is located in Desha County and local students are served by the Dumas School District. The town's per capita income is listed as $8,680 with nearly 44% of residents reported as living under the poverty line.
Once notable as one of Arkansas's railroad towns, Fargo is located in Monroe County and once was home to a six-mile link of railway on the Missouri and North Arkansas Railroad. The railway was one of the last portions to be abandoned by the railroad in the 1970s, leaving Fargo to become one of the state's least prosperous locations. As of the 2000 census the town's per capita income was $8,634 and 30% of the town's population was listed as living under the poverty line.
The town of Pyatt is located in the northernmost part of the state in Marion County. The 2000 census reported a population of 253 for the town and a per capita income of $8,633. 17% of the population reported as living below the poverty line.
Located 10 miles north of West Memphis along Arkansas Highway 77, the town of Jericho had a population of 119 as reported by 2010 census data. A little over 25% of the population reported living in poverty as of the last census, and the town's per capita income is $8,577.
Once known as one of Arkansas's most prosperous towns during the booming mining period of the 1920s, the population of Zinc has dwindled to 103 as reported by 2010 census data. The town's prosperity has also struggled to maintain its former glory as well - the town's per capita income was reported in 2000 as $8,512 with nearly 26% of the population living below the poverty line.
The town of Bradley is in southwest Arkansas, located in Lafayette County not far from the Louisiana state line. Data from the 2000 census has the town's population listed at 563 residents. The town has a per capita income of $8,455 as reported by that year's data and slightly over 49% of the population was reported as living below the poverty line.
Located in Polk County with school service in the Cossatot River School District, the town of Cove had a population of 383 reported in the 2000 census. The town's per capita income was reported as $8,310 and approximately 29% of the population was reported as living below the poverty line.
Overlooking the beautiful White River in southeastern White County, Georgetown was first settled in 1789 and remains Arkansas's oldest continuously settled area. The 2000 census reported the town at 126 residents with a per capita income of $8,283 and 38% of the population living below the poverty line.
Named after the surname of a prominent early 20th century railway financier's mother, the town of Vandervoort is located in Polk County and had a population of 120 when the 2000 census was taken. The town's per capita income was reported as $8,135 and 17% of the population were stated as living under the poverty line.
Haynes is in Lee County and had a population of 214 as noted in the 2000 census. Approximately 42% of the population was reported as living below the poverty line and the town's per capita income was $8,057.
A Crittenden County town located about 12 minutes northwest of Memphis, the population of Sunset, Arkansas was 198 as of the 2010 census. Nearly 50% of the population was counted below the poverty line and the town's per capita income was $7,766.
Wickes is in Polk County and has a long history - the town's landmarks include a city hall building that's over a century old as well as a drive-in movie theater. The 2010 census listed Wickes as having a population of 754 residents with 37% of people living below the poverty line. The town's per capita income was $7,572.
The town of Jennette is located in Crittenden County, 21 miles west of Memphis. The 2010 population of Jennette was listed as 115. 45% of the population was listed as living below the property line and the town's per capita income was listed as $7,571.
Note that it’s been 15 years since U.S. Census data has been collected on many of these locations. How much has changed in these cities? Do they still deserve the distinction of the lowest income towns in Arkansas? What, if anything, has turned around the income in these areas? Leave a comment about these towns and what can and has been done to help.