America’s Richest (and Poorest) States

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45. Tennessee
> Median household income:
$44,361
> Population: 6,549,352 (17th highest)
> Unemployment rate: 6.7% (12th highest)
> Poverty rate: 18.3% (7th highest)

Tennessee’s median household income in 2014 remained unchanged from 2013, reflecting little improvement in the residents’ standard of living. A typical Tennessee household earned $44,361 last year, nearly $10,000 below the national median income of $53,657. At 6.7%, the state also had one of the higher unemployment rates in the country. Low incomes and a weak job market may have contributed to low real estate values as well. Statewide, homes were valued relatively low at just $142,900, or nearly $40,000 below the national benchmark of $181,200.

44. Louisiana
> Median household income:
$44,555
> Population: 4,649,676 (25th highest)
> Unemployment rate: 6.4% (19th highest)
> Poverty rate: 19.8% (3rd highest)

Louisiana’s median household income in 2014 of $44,555 was lower than the median income in 2013 of $44,946. The typical Louisiana household earned well below the national median income of $53,657. Also, at 6.4%, Louisiana had one of the higher unemployment rates in the country. Low incomes and a weak job market may have contributed to low real estate values. The typical Louisiana home was was worth just $143,600, nearly $40,000 below the national benchmark of $181,200. Additionally, more than 15% of homes were valued at less than $50,000, the ninth highest rate in the country. Like in many states with low median household incomes, poverty was a major problem. Louisiana had the third highest poverty rate in the country last year, at 19.8%. Low incomes are often associated with low levels of education. Just 22.9% of adults in Louisiana had a bachelor’s degree last year, one of the smallest shares in the country.

43. New Mexico
> Median household income:
$44,803
> Population: 2,085,572 (15th lowest)
> Unemployment rate: 6.5% (17th highest)
> Poverty rate: 21.3% (2nd highest)

New Mexico’s median household income in 2014 remained unchanged from 2013, reflecting little improvement in the wealth of its residents. The typical New Mexico household earned $44,803 last year, well below the national median income of $53,657. As in many of the least wealthy states, poverty was also a major problem. About 21% of New Mexicans lived below the poverty line last year, the second highest rate in the country. At 6.5%, the state also had one of the higher unemployment rates in the country. Low incomes and a weak job market may have contributed to such low real estate values. Statewide, homes were valued relatively low at just $158,400, or more than $22,000 below the national benchmark of $181,200. Additionally, nearly 14% homes were valued at less than $50,000, the 13th highest rate in the country. Low incomes and high unemployment may be due to relatively low levels of education. Only 26.4% of New Mexicans had bachelor’s degrees as of last year, compared to the 30.1% of citizens who did nationwide.

42. South Carolina
> Median household income:
$45,238
> Population: 4,832,482 (24th highest)
> Unemployment rate: 6.4% (19th highest)
> Poverty rate: 18.0% (11th highest)

A typical South Carolina household earned $45,238 last year, about the same as in 2013, and well below the national median income of $53,657. Low incomes may be due to low levels of education. In fact, 26.3% of adults in South Carolina had a bachelor’s degree as of last year, lower than the 30.1% of adults with such a degree across the nation. Statewide, homes were valued relatively low at just $140,000, or more than $40,000 below the national benchmark of $181,200. Additionally, nearly 16% of homes were valued at less than $50,000, the 10th highest rate in the country. At 6.4%, the state had one of the higher unemployment rates in the country.

41. Montana
> Median household income:
$46,328
> Population: 1,023,579 (7th lowest)
> Unemployment rate: 4.7% (13th lowest)
> Poverty rate: 15.4% (22nd highest)

Despite a higher share of adults with at least a high school education than the rest of the country, Montana’s incomes were quite low. The typical Montana household earned $46,328 last year, well below the national median of $53,657 and unchanged from 2013. Low incomes may be partially due to a relatively large share of the state’s workforce that was employed in a low-paying industry. In fact, 12.4% of Montana’s workforce was employed in the retail sector, compared to just over 11% nationally. Low incomes also often affect the housing market. The median home value in the state was only $196,800 in 2014, just higher than the national median of $181,200.