4. West Virginia
> Median income: $40,824
> Poverty rate: 15.7% (12th highest)
> Without health insurance: 13.9% (25th highest)
> Unemployment rate: 8.1% (tied for 24th lowest)
The percetange of West Virginia residents living below the poverty line has increased steadily since 2008. Worst still, approximately one in five West Virginia children now live in poverty. There has been an increase in the number of West Virginians with health insurance, however. This is likely due to government programs such as Medicaid and the Children’s Health Insurance Program, according to the Center on Budget and Policy, as there has been a decrease in employer-based coverage.
> Median income: $40,026
> Poverty rate: 16.1% (11th highest)
> Without health insurance: 14.7% (20th highest)
> Unemployment rate: 9.8% (11th highest)
Tennessee has the third-lowest median income in the United states, as well as some of the worst poverty and unemployment rates in the country. While speaking at the Kingsport Center for Higher Education, Governor Bill Haslan announced that the centerpiece of his job creation initiative was “setting the right environment.” “It has to have a low-tax and low-regulatory environment,” he continued. “We need to have elected officials who understand business.”
> Median income: $38,600
> Poverty rate: 16.5% (8th highest)
> Without health insurance: 18.5% (9th highest)
> Unemployment rate: 8.2% (25th highest)
Despite an unemployment rate that is almost a full percentage point below the national average, Arkansas is one of the poorest states. The state’s median income is the second lowest in the country. Its poverty rate and the percentage of people without health insurance also place the state among the ten worst. Poverty may be even worse among children in the state. According to a recent study by the Annie E. Casey Foundation, about 27% of children in the state lived in impoverished homes as of 2009.
> Median income: $36,850
> Poverty rate: 21.3% (the highest)
> Without health insurance: 18.7% (8th highest)
> Unemployment rate: 10.4% (7th highest)
In nearly every metric associated with poverty, education, employment, health risk, and insurance coverage, Mississippi has been close to the bottom for years. The state is among the ten worst for both unemployment and health insurance coverage. It has the worst poverty rate in the U.S., and by far the lowest median income in the country, at just $36,850 — not quite half of New Hampshire’s median household income. The state was also hit hard by Katrina, including the Gulfport Harbor, which the Federal Government is allotting $500 million to help rebuild. Proponents of the project expect thousands of jobs will be created in the process.