America's Poorest State

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The U.S. Census Bureau has issued its 2022 income statistics by race, age and location. The state income spread (including the District of Columbia) was significant. The median household income in D.C. was $101,027. At the far end of the list was Mississippi at $52,719. (25 Ways the Federal Poverty Rate Does Not Tell the Whole Story.)

The spread between rich and poor states has persisted for decades. States below the Mason-Dixon line continue to have the lowest household incomes. These include Alabama, Louisiana, Mississippi and West Virginia. Median household income remains high in Connecticut, Massachusetts and New Hampshire.

The ripple effects because of income also remain the same. Poor health is based on poor health habits (smoking and overconsumption of calories), low educational attainment and racial disparity.

States with low incomes are trapped in a cycle. Low education begets low income begets low education. The poorest states are often those with the worst schools. They are also ones where healthy food is in low supply.

Businesses are reluctant to locate operations in areas with low educational attainment. That cycle has been broken in some cases. Car companies like the low-income states because they are less likely to have unions.

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