Poorest County in Each State

Print Email

36. Choctaw County, Oklahoma
> County median household income:
$30,282
> State median household income: $46,235
> Poverty rate: 27.7%
> Unemployment: 8.1%

Oklahoma’s median household income of $46,235 is one of the lowest in the country. A typical household in Choctaw County earns substantially less, with a median annual income of $30,282. Choctaw County also has one of the nation’s highest poverty rates at 27.7%. By contrast, 16.9% of people across the state, and 15.6% of Americans, live in poverty. Oklahoma also has one of the nation’s lowest college attainment rates, at 23.8%. In Choctaw, just 14.2% of adults have at least a bachelor’s degree.

37. Malheur County, Oregon
> County median household income:
$34,380
> State median household income: $50,521
> Poverty rate: 28.4%
> Unemployment: 8.2%

The median household income in Malheur County of $34,380 is $16,141 lower than the state income of $50,521, which itself is lower than the national figure. As is the case with nearly all poor counties on this list, low incomes have a negative impact on the lives of the county’s children. While the county’s overall poverty rate is 28.4%, the child poverty rate is 39.3%.

38. Philadelphia County, Pennsylvania
> County median household income:
$37,460
> State median household income: $53,115
> Poverty rate: 26.7%
> Unemployment: 8.0%

While the poorest counties in a majority of states are relatively rural, Pennsylvania’s poorest county — Philadelphia County — is home to 1.5 million people and is relatively urban. The area’s median household income of $37,460 is $15,655 lower than the state income of $53,115, which itself is lower than the national figure. Among children in the county, 37% live in poverty, well above the U.S. child poverty rate of 21.9%.

39. Providence County, Rhode Island
> County median household income:
$49,139
> State median household income: $56,423
> Poverty rate: 18.0%
> Unemployment: 8.2%

The county of Providence, Rhode Island, includes the tiny state’s capitol and contains well over half of Rhode Island’s approximately 1 million residents. However, compared to the state’s population as a whole, Providence is slightly poorer. A typical Providence County household earns $7,284 less than the typical household does across the state.

40. Allendale County, South Carolina
> County median household income:
$25,495
> State median household income: $45,033
> Poverty rate: 32.5%
> Unemployment: 12.1%

South Carolina’s median household income of $45,033 is one of the lowest in the nation. A typical household in Allendale County earns barely half that figure, at $25,495. Allendale County also has one of the nation’s highest poverty rates, at 32.5%. By contrast, 18.3% of people across the state, and 15.6% of Americans, live in poverty. The area’s weak job market may partially account for the low incomes. The county’s 12.1% unemployment rate is nearly double the state and national jobless rates of 6.4% and 6.2%, respectively.