States With the Most Big Spenders

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5. Hawaii
> 2012 spending per capita: $30,160
> Personal income per capita: $44,767 (20th highest)
> Pct. bachelor’s degree: 30.1% (17th highest)
> June unemployment rate: 4.9% (13th lowest)

Hawaii is the only state among the lowest spenders where the average personal income was above the national rate of $43,735. However, Hawaii residents spent less than 68% of their incomes in 2012, the lowest share in the country. This may change in the future as consumption expenditure has risen rapidly in recent years, growing at an annualized rate of 6.8% between 1997 and 2012. However, between 2011 and 2012, per capita expenditure grew by just 1.8%, among the lowest rates in the nation.

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4. Alabama
> 2012 spending per capita: $29,537
> Personal income per capita: $35,926 (9th lowest)
> Pct. bachelor’s degree: 23.3% (7th lowest)
> June unemployment rate: 7.1% (10th highest)

More than one in 10 Alabama residents earn less than $10,000 a year, which likely contributes to low consumption expenditure. Low earnings may also be tied to low education rates in the state. As of 2012, only 84% of adult residents had at least a high school diploma and only 23.3% had at least a bachelor’s degree, both among the lowest rates in the country. And while total consumption grew between 1997 and 2012, annualized growth was only 4.2%, suggesting that poverty and poor education may stifle income and consumption growth. In 2012, residents allotted nearly 15% of their total expenditure to health care, the fourth-lowest rate in the country.

3. Nevada
> 2012 spending per capita: $29,514
> Personal income per capita: $38,221 (14th lowest)
> Pct. bachelor’s degree: 22.4% (6th lowest)
> June unemployment rate: 7.8% (4th highest)

In June, 7.8% of Nevada’s workforce was unemployed, a substantial improvement from recent years, but still higher than all but two other states. Like a majority of states spending the least, educational attainment rates were relatively low in 2012. Less than 85% of adults had received at least a high school diploma, and 22.4% had completed at least a bachelor’s degree, both among the lowest rates nationwide. While personal incomes in Nevada were also relatively low, Nevadans spent just 77.2% of their income in 2012, among the lower ratios in the country. This may mean Nevadans are better able to save money.

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2. Arkansas
> 2012 spending per capita: $28,366
> Personal income per capita: $35,437 (6th lowest)
> Pct. bachelor’s degree: 21.0% (3rd lowest)
> June unemployment rate: 6.5% (tied-16th highest)

A typical household in Arkansas earned just over $40,000 in 2012, less than every state except for Mississippi. And nearly one in five residents lived beneath the poverty line that year, nearly the highest rate in the country. Low income and poverty mean Arkansas residents will spend considerably less than wealthier residents in other states. A less-educated population also generally reports lower earnings. Just 21% of Arkansas’ adult residents had attained at least a bachelor’s degree in 2012, less than all but two other states.

1. Mississippi
> 2012 spending per capita: $27,406
> Personal income per capita: $33,657 (the lowest)
> Pct. bachelor’s degree: 20.7% (2nd lowest)
> June unemployment rate: 8.7% (the highest)

Mississippi residents spent $27,406 in 2012, $20,000 less than the average person in Massachusetts. The state had among the highest unemployment rates in the country, peaking at nearly 12% in 2011. Poverty likely explains residents’ low consumption levels. Nearly one in four Mississippi residents lived below the poverty line at some point during 2012, the highest rate in the country. Additionally, only 20% of adult residents had at least a bachelor’s degree, the second lowest rate in the country. Nearly 30% of the income that residents spent in 2012 went towards non-durable goods. Of this, a third was spent on food and beverages in grocery and convenience stores, one of the higher rates in the country.

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