46. Martinsville City, Virginia
> County median household income: $27,746
> State median household income: $64,792
> Poverty rate: 25.9%
> Unemployment: 9.9%
A typical household in Martinsville City, the poorest area in Virginia, earns $37,046 less than the typical household across the state. As in other poor parts of the country, area residents have relatively low educational attainment rates. Only 16.6% of adults in Martinsville have at least a bachelor’s degree, and 77.5% have finished at least high school, each some of the lower percentages in the country.
47. Whitman County, Washington
> County median household income: $35,578
> State median household income: $60,294
> Poverty rate: 32.7%
> Unemployment: 5.5%
Whitman County residents are exceptionally well educated compared to the poorest counties in most other states. More than 95% of adults have finished at least high school, one of the highest rates in the country. Also, 47.8% of adult have at least a bachelor’s degree — not just well above the state rate of 32.3%, but also one of the highest educational attainment rates nationwide. Still, residents earn very low incomes. The typical household earns $35,578 annually, substantially less than the state median household income of $60,294.
48. McDowell County, West Virginia
> County median household income: $23,607
> State median household income: $41,576
> Poverty rate: 35.2%
> Unemployment: 12.9%
West Virginia residents have some of the lowest incomes in the nation. In McDowell County, the state’s poorest county, incomes are even lower. A typical household in the area earns just $23,607 annually. A weak economy may partially account for the low incomes. The county’s 12.9% unemployment rate is about double the state and national jobless rates of 6.5% and 6.2%, respectively.
49. Rusk County, Wisconsin
> County median household income: $38,728
> State median household income: $52,738
> Poverty rate: 17.9%
> Unemployment: 7.1%
Rusk is the poorest county in Wisconsin. The typical Rusk household earns just $38,728 annually, roughly $14,000 less than the median annual household income across the state. Lower incomes in the area are partially the result of a weak economy. While Wisconsin’s unemployment rate is 5.5%, roughly 7.1% of the Rusk workforce is unemployed.
50. Albany County, Wyoming
> County median household income: $42,298
> State median household income: $58,252
> Poverty rate: 27.6%
> Unemployment: 3.6%
The unemployment rate in Albany County of 3.6% is actually lower than the state jobless rate of 4.3%, which itself is one of the lowest among all states. Yet, county residents earn lower incomes than the median income earned statewide. A typical area’s household earns $42,298 annually, versus the state median household income of $58,252. Similarly, the poverty rate in Albany of 27.6% is higher than both the state and national rates of 11.6% and 15.6%, respectively.
Correction: An earlier version of this article incorrectly identified Shannon as the poorest county in South Dakota. While the American Community Survey identifies the area as Shannon, it was officially renamed Oglala Lakota County in May 2015. The article has been updated to reflect this change.