The 12 Poorest Towns and Cities in Idaho Revealed
“Money, money! It’s like the sun we walk under; it can kill or cure.”
If you are a bit of a theater nerd, that quote should sound eerily familiar to you. It’s from Thorton Wilder’s 1954 play The Matchmaker, which inspired the script for the musical Hello, Dolly! ten years later. Deeper into the monologue, Dolly Levi goes on to say:
“The difference between a little money and no money at all is enormous…and can shatter the world. And the difference between a little money and an enormous amount of money is very slight…and that also can shatter the world.”
In some ways, that monologue hits close to home in Idaho. On one hand, you have the glitz and glam of Sun Valley or Coeur d’Alene that draws celebrities to buy homes or vacation in Idaho. On the other hand, you have families desperate to find somewhere to live. They don’t have enough money for a down payment in insanely overvalued housing markets like Boise and because they don’t make three times the rent, they’re getting turned away from apartment complexes too.
Idaho might be a beautiful state to live in, but there’s an uncomfortable amount of our neighbors just trying to get by. The daily struggle seems to be the toughest in these twelve Idaho cities and towns which were named the “poorest” in Idaho.
To score this list for 2022, we used the same formula that Roadsnacks used for their 2021 list, but with the latest data available from the United Census Bureau. We found the median household income, percent of the population living below the poverty level and unemployment rates for 33 Idaho cities with populations of 5,000 or more. We ranked each category and then averaged them into a final score. At the end of the day, here’s how things played out.