Poorest County in Each State

Print Email

41. Oglala Lakota County, South Dakota
> County median household income:
$26,383
> State median household income: $50,338
> Poverty rate: 52.6%
> Unemployment: 13.2%

The median household income in Oglala Lakota County, formerly known as Shannon County, of $26,383 is $23,955 lower than the state median income of $50,338, which itself is lower than the national figure. The poverty rate in Oglala Lakota is especially high — more than half of the population lives in poverty, several times higher than the national rate of 15.6%. An anemic job market may partially account for low incomes and high poverty. More than 13% of the area’s workforce is unemployed, more than double the national jobless rate of 6.2%.

42. Grundy County, Tennessee
> County median household income:
$26,856
> State median household income: $44,621
> Poverty rate: 29.1%
> Unemployment: 9.4%

Tennessee residents have some of the lowest incomes in the nation. In Grundy County, the state’s poorest county, incomes are even lower. A typical household in the area earns just $26,856 annually. Grundy County also has one of the nation’s highest poverty rates, at 29.1%. By contrast, 17.8% of people across the state, and 15.6% of Americans, live in poverty. A weak economy may partially account for the low incomes. The county’s 9.4% unemployment rate is much higher than the state and national jobless rates of 6.7% and 6.2%, respectively.

43. Starr County, Texas
> County median household income:
$25,906
> State median household income: $52,576
> Poverty rate: 38.9%
> Unemployment: 13.5%

A typical household in Starr County, Texas’s poorest, earns $26,670 less than the typical household statewide. Texas has relatively low educational attainment rates, including the second-lowest share of adults with a high school diploma in the U.S, at 81.6%. Not surprisingly, as in other poor counties, Starr County residents have even lower educational attainment rates. Just 46.7% have finished at least high school, while only 9.6% of county adults have at least a bachelor’s degree, compared to a national share of 29.3%.

44. San Juan County, Utah
> County median household income:
$41,411
> State median household income: $59,846
> Poverty rate: 28.1%
> Unemployment: 7.5%

A typical household in San Juan County, Utah’s poorest, earns $18,435 less than the typical household does across the state. As in other poor counties, area residents have relatively low educational attainment rates. Only 18.8% of county adults have at least a bachelor’s degree, and 82.9% have finished at least high school, each some of the lower percentages in the country.

45. Orleans County, Vermont
> County median household income:
$41,437
> State median household income: $54,447
> Poverty rate: 16.7%
> Unemployment: 6.4%

A typical household in Orleans County, Vermont’s poorest, earns $13,010 less than the typical household does across the state. As in other poor counties, a relatively high share of Orleans residents live below the poverty line. Roughly 16.7% of county residents are impoverished, more than the corresponding statewide poverty rate of 12%. Only 21.4% of Orleans County adults have a bachelor’s degree, significantly less than the 35.2% of adults who do across the Green Mountain State.