We always hear about the most expensive cities to live in the Pacific Northwest but rarely do we hear about the poorest ones. MindYourDollars.com released a list of the poorest cities in America and we wanted to see which cities in the great Pacific Northwest made it for Washington, Idaho, and Oregon.

I looked over the list and disagree that they should be called "the poorest." One person's "poorest city" is another person's heartland in the Pacific Norrthwest! See for yourself.

OH NO! The 3 Poorest Cities in the PNW Explained

 1. Chewelah, WA 

Chewelah, WA Scenic Beauty
Sawyer Bardwell
Brokered by: RE/MAX SELECT ASSOCIATES via Realtor.com

Poor Chewelah can’t seem to catch a break. They’ve been dealing with wildfires, their police chief under investigation, and being named the “absolute poorest city” in the state of Washington.


  • It is pronounced as “Chuh-WEE-luh”.
  • It is the ancestral land of the Chewelah Band of Indians tribe.
  • Chewelah is surrounded by the gorgeous natural beauty of Washington state including views of foggy mountain peaks and acres of evergreen trees.
  • Allen Stone (singer of soul music) is from here.
  • There’s an Art Walk on every 1st Thursday of the month.
  • Boo Fest comes around for Halloween and it looks like a ton of fun.
  • The City of Chewelah once broke a world record for the longest row of lighted pumpkins.
  • The townsfolk show up for holiday parades.
  • There are some great winter outdoor fun opportunities in Chewelah.

“Known as “Your Place for All Seasons” and the “Southern Gateway to the Colville National Forest”, Chewelah has the small-town charm that people fall in love with. Just 45 minutes north of Spokane and 70 miles south of the Canadian border on Hwy 395, Chewelah is an easy get away with a lot to offer. “ - Chewelah Chamber of Commerce 

Chewelah is located in Stevens County near Spokane and has an estimated population of less than 2,500 people. population The town demographics are about 90% White. A little over half the population are homeowners and the average price of a home there is around $177,000. That’s not to say there are no pockets of wealth in Chewelah, for example, this Chewelah house is for sale for nearly two million dollars!

Chewelah WA House for Sale
Sawyer Bardwell
Brokered by: RE/MAX SELECT ASSOCIATES via Realtor.com

The average income of those living there hovers below $37,000 annually for males. Women living and working in Chewelah reportedly make less than that, averaging less than $33,000 annually. Working for local city government and healthcare industries seem to pay wages that double the average resident of Chewelah.

Get our free mobile app

RELATED ARTICLE: These 9 Washington Restaurants Featured on TV Will Be Very Missed


2. Coquille, Oregon: 

Coquille, Oregon
Dan Billings via YouTube

If you take I-82 East to the I-84 West and hang a right to the I-5 South toward Salem, Oregon, you’ll run smack dab into the city of Coquille once you merge onto the OR-42 West. From the looks of it, nothing about Coquille screams “poorest city” in Oregon.


  • It is pronounced as “Ko-KEEL”.
  • This is the ancestral lands of the Coquille Tribe. They pronounce it as “Ko-KWELL”.
  • Actress Amanda Warren is from Coquille, Oregon. (IMDB say she is from Coquille but her social media says “New York, NY, born & raised.”   Either way, she’s been in some of my favorite movies and TV shows (like NCIS: New Orleans, Madame Secretary, Power, Black Mirror, Three Billboards Outside Ebbing, Missouri, This Is Us, Gossip Girl, The Good Wife, and Law & Order: SVU and Law & Order: Criminal Intent).
  • There is an abundance of natural beauty surrounding the city, including open farm land as far as the eye can see as well as lush greenery.
    They have fun indoor and outdoor recreation opportunities, including a community pool, upcoming construction of a woods walking trail called “Hundred Acre Woods”, the Oregon Coast Railriders, and five public parks.

The population of Coquille is close to 4,000 people. It is a mostly White town (around 92% from estimates taken from the 2020 census). The average annual income for Coquille residents is somewhere close to $31,000. That is less than half the Oregon average annual salary, so you can see why some say Coquille is the poorest city in Oregon.


Coquille Oregon House for Sale
Sherrill Gray with Pacific Properties

RELATED ARTICLE: Check Out This Incredible Private Oregon Rainforest Airbnb

3. Bonners Ferry, Idaho:

Bonners Ferry, Idaho is about two hours or so from Spokane, Washington. It is only half an hour from the Canadian border, which must be cool! There is a lot of land for sale near Bonners Ferry and houses that are going for millions because they have hundreds of acres attached to the properties, but there are also pockets of folks with not a lot of money, too. The population is about 2,500 people and is mostly White (94%). The average income is less than $35,000. Most residents in Bonners Ferry work in the construction, education, and food service industries.

This house is for sale in Bonners Ferry and if you feel safe enough to live there and had the means to purchase, this would be a great deal for you!

Bonners Ferry Idaho House for Sale
Darlene Schneider
Brokered by: Pace-Kerby & Co., Inc. via Realtor.com


  • Bonners Ferry boasts that it is “Idaho’s most friendly town.”
  • They allow absentee voting.
  • The Bonners Ferry High School Homecoming Parade.
  • They have a GOLF Committee on the City Council. The Mirror Lake 9-Hole Golf Course is managed by the City.
    They fight wildfires!
  • Tree Trimmers can make a lot of money out there.

“Vision Statement: Bonners Ferry, “The Friendliest City”, strives to achieve balanced growth, builds on community strengths, respects natural resources, promotes excellence in Government, and values quality life. We are a city that welcomes all people.” - Bonners Ferry City Council

Report a typo

RELATED ARTICLE: Idaho's Trailing of the Sheep Festival Might Be Perfect for Ewe

LOOK: Here are the 50 best beach towns in America

Every beach town has its share of pluses and minuses, which got us thinking about what makes a beach town the best one to live in. To find out, Stacker consulted data from WalletHub, released June 17, 2020, that compares U.S. beach towns. Ratings are based on six categories: affordability, weather, safety, economy, education and health, and quality of life. The cities ranged in population from 10,000 to 150,000, but they had to have at least one local beach listed on TripAdvisor. Read the full methodology here. From those rankings, we selected the top 50. Readers who live in California and Florida will be unsurprised to learn that many of towns featured here are in one of those two states.

Keep reading to see if your favorite beach town made the cut.

The 12 Deadliest Serial Killers in Washington State's Bloody History

Every state is known for something. Florida has swamps and beautiful weather, Iowa has wrestling and corn, New York has Manhattan and Brooklyn-style pizza, Maryland has crabcakes. Washington has apples, wine, IPAs, and serial killers. This article is not meant to glorify these evil people in any way, just shed some light on a bizarre Washington truth. From Bundy to the Green River Killer, these are twelve of the deadliest killers in Washington state history.

More From KMGWFM