Special Report

The Poorest County in Each State

26. Sanders County, Montana
> County median household income, 2009-2013: $32,881
> State median household income, 2009-2013: $46,230
> Poverty rate, 2009-2013: 22.0%
> Unemployment, 2013: 12.6%

As in the poorest counties in a majority of states, the job market in Sanders County was relatively weak. In 2013, nearly 13% of the workforce was unemployed, versus the national unemployment rate of 7.4%. In addition, more than one-third of children were estimated to be living in poverty between 2009 and 2013, versus 21.3% of children across the U.S. during that time.

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27. Red Willow County, Nebraska
> County median household income, 2009-2013: $42,345
> State median household income, 2009-2013: $51,672
> Poverty rate, 2009-2013: 12.7%
> Unemployment, 2013: 3.1%

Households located in Red Willow County had an annual median income of $42,345 over the five years prior to 2013, the lowest in Nebraska, and $10,000 lower than the comparable state figure. While incomes were relatively low, residents were much better off than residents of the poorest counties in most other states. The unemployment rate, for example, was just 3.1% in 2013, the lowest among the poorest counties for each state. Additionally, less than 13% of people lived in poverty between 2009 and 2013, versus the national figure of 15.4%.

28. Nye County, Nevada
> County median household income, 2009-2013: $39,876
> State median household income, 2009-2013: $52,800
> Poverty rate, 2009-2013: 18
> Unemployment, 2013: 11.9%

As in the poorest counties in many other states, the population of Nye County dropped slightly between the middles of 2012 and 2013. Nye’s 2013 unemployment rate of nearly 12% may have encouraged many residents to relocate from the area. The relatively poor job market may also explain in part the low area incomes. A typical Nye household earned less than $40,000 between 2009 and 2013, nearly $13,000 less than the statewide median household income over that time.

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29. Coos County, New Hampshire
> County median household income, 2009-2013: $41,985
> State median household income, 2009-2013: $64,916
> Poverty rate, 2009-2013: 13.4%
> Unemployment, 2013: 6.4%

As in other wealthy states, residents living in the poorest county in New Hampshire were not especially burdened financially. A typical household earned less than $42,000 annually over the five years through 2013, considerably less than the national figure of $53,046. However, the poverty rate was 13.4%, and the unemployment rate was 6.4%, both lower than the national rates of 15.4% and 7.4%, respectively.

30. Cumberland County, New Jersey
> County median household income, 2009-2013: $50,750
> State median household income, 2009-2013: $71,629
> Poverty rate, 2009-2013: 17.5%
> Unemployment, 2013: 12.2%

Over the five years through 2013, a typical New Jersey household earned $71,629 annually, the second-highest median household income of any state. Typical Cumberland County households earned $50,750 annually over that period, nearly $21,000 less than the statewide figure, but not remarkably lower than the national median. Despite the moderately high incomes, Cumberland residents had lower educational attainment rates compared to most Americans.

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