Special Report

Poorest County in Each State

16. Crawford County, Kansas
> County median household income:
$37,154
> State median household income: $51,872
> Poverty rate: 21.7%
> Unemployment: 5.3%

Of the 40 counties in Kansas with at least 10,000 people, none have a lower median income than Crawford County, located in the southeast section of the state. A typical household in the county earns $37,154, nearly $15,000 less than the state median income of $51,872 — which itself is lower than the national figure.

17. McCreary County, Kentucky
> County median household income:
$20,000
> State median household income: $43,342
> Poverty rate: 37.7%
> Unemployment: 10.7%

Kentucky residents have some of the lowest incomes in the nation. In McCreary County, the state’s poorest county, incomes are less than half the state figure. A typical household in the area earns just $20,000 annually, also one of the lowest median incomes in the nation. The area’s weak economy may at least partially explain the low incomes in McCreary. The county’s 10.7% unemployment rate is significantly higher than the state and national jobless rates of 6.5% and 6.2%, respectively.

18. Madison Parish, Louisiana
> County median household income:
$24,028
> State median household income: $44,991
> Poverty rate: 38.6%
> Unemployment: 11.3%

The median household income of $44,991 in Louisiana is one of the lowest in the country. A typical household in Madison Parish earns barely half that figure, with a median annual income of $24,028. Madison Parish also has one of the nation’s highest poverty rates of 38.6%. By contrast, 19.6% of people across the state, and 15.6% of Americans, live in poverty.

19. Piscataquis County, Maine
> County median household income:
$37,110
> State median household income: $48,804
> Poverty rate: 19.9%
> Unemployment: 7.5%

Piscataquis is the poorest of the 16 counties in Maine with at least 10,000 people. The typical county household earns $11,694 less than the statewide median household income. A high child poverty rate accompanies lower incomes in Piscataquis. As many as 30.3% of children in Maine’s poorest county live below the poverty line compared to 18.8% of all children in the state.

20. Somerset County, Maryland
> County median household income:
$36,716
> State median household income: $74,149
> Poverty rate: 23.7%
> Unemployment: 9.5%

A typical household in Somerset County, Maryland’s poorest, earns $37,433 less than the typical household does across the state. As in other poor counties, area residents have relatively low educational attainment rates. Only 15.1% of adults in the county have at least a bachelor’s degree, and 79% have finished at least high school, each some of the lower percentages in the country. The area’s unemployment rate of 9.5% is also well above the national jobless rate of 6.2%.