America’s Richest (and Poorest) States

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30. Arizona
> Median household income:
$50,068
> Population: 6,731,484 (15th highest)
> Unemployment rate: 6.9% (9th highest)
> Poverty rate: 18.2% (10th highest)

Arizona’s median household income in 2014 increased slightly from 2013, reflecting a minor but significant improvement in the residents’ standard of living. The median household income rose from $49,180 in 2013 to $50,068 in 2014, a $888 increase. Poverty in Arizona was a major problem, with 18.2% living below the poverty line last year, the 10th highest poverty rate in the country. The state’s unemployment rate of 6.9% last year, despite declining from the year before, remained among the highest nationwide. Arizona had a significant change in residents with health insurance, as the uninsured rate dropped from 17.1% in 2013 to 13.6% in 2014, the 11th largest drop in the country.

29. South Dakota
> Median household income:
$50,979
> Population: 853,175 (5th lowest)
> Unemployment rate: 3.4% (3rd lowest)
> Poverty rate: 14.2% (23rd lowest)

South Dakota’s median household income in 2014 remained effectively unchanged from 2013, reflecting little improvement in the residents’ standard of living. Additionally, nearly 16% of homes were valued at less than $50,000, the seventh highest rate in the country. Statewide, homes were valued relatively low at just $142,300, or nearly $40,000 below the national benchmark of $181,200. Despite a higher share of adults with at least a high school education than across the country, South Dakota’s incomes were quite low.

28. Oregon
> Median household income:
$51,075
> Population: 3,970,239 (24th lowest)
> Unemployment rate: 6.9% (9th highest)
> Poverty rate: 16.6% (14th highest)

Oregon’s 2014 median household income of $51,075 remained effectively unchanged from 2013. The state’s unemployment rate of 6.9% last year, despite declining from the year before, also remained among the highest nationwide. While the typical household in Oregon did not earn significantly less than most Americans, 18.9% of households received food stamps, the highest reliance on government subsidies of any state in the country.

27. Nevada
> Median household income:
$51,450
> Population: 2,839,099 (16th lowest)
> Unemployment rate: 7.8% (2nd highest)
> Poverty rate: 15.2% (23rd highest)

Nevada’s median household income in 2014 remained unchanged from 2013, reflecting little improvement in the residents’ standard of living. Income was also distributed relatively evenly across the state’s 2.8 million residents. The state’s Gini coefficient, a measure of the equality of income distribution, was one of the lowest in the country last year. Still, the state’s unemployment rate of 7.8% last year, despite declining from the year before, was the second highest in the country in 2014. More than one-quarter of the state’s labor force was employed in the arts, entertainment, recreation, and accommodation and food services sector, traditionally a low-paying industry. Nationally, that industry employed 9.8% of the workforce.

26. Kansas
> Median household income:
$52,504
> Population: 2,904,021 (17th lowest)
> Unemployment rate: 4.5% (11th lowest)
> Poverty rate: 13.6% (21st lowest)

Kansas’s median household income hardly changed in 2014 from the year before. In Kansas, nearly 15% of homes were valued at less than $50,000, the 11th highest rate in the country. This large share of low value homes reflects the relatively low home value of a typical Kansas home. The statewide median home value was $132,100, nearly $50,000 below the national benchmark of $181,200. As in every state, the uninsured rate dropped in Kansas. In 2013, 12.3% of state residents did not have health insurance. Last year, only 10.2% of residents were uninsured.