Special Report

America's Richest (and Poorest) States

Mountain hilking trail leads the Idaho mountains
Source: Thinkstock

40. Idaho
> Median household income: $48,275
> Population: 1,654,930 (12th lowest)
> 2015 Unemployment rate: 4.1% (12th lowest)
> Poverty rate: 15.1% (20th highest)

While Idaho households tend to earn incomes well below the national median income of $55,775, the state’s job market is relatively healthy. Idaho’s 2015 unemployment rate of 4.1% was 12th lowest of all states, and exceptionally low compared with other low income states. Some portion of residents earn very high incomes in every state. In Idaho, however, only 2.7% of households earn $200,000 or more, nearly the lowest of any state. By contrast, 5.8% of households nationwide earn such high incomes.

Oklahoma City Sunrise
Source: Thinkstock

39. Oklahoma
> Median household income: $48,568
> Population: 3,911,338 (23rd lowest)
> 2015 Unemployment rate: 4.2% (15th lowest)
> Poverty rate: 16.1% (13th highest)

The typical Oklahoma household earns $48,568 in a year, well below the national median income of $55,775. With lower incomes, home values are also low. Statewide, the median home value is just $126,800, more than $60,000 below the national median home value of $194,500.

A college education opens doors to more and higher paying job opportunities. In Oklahoma, fewer than one in four adults have a bachelor’s degree, one of the lowest proportions of all states. This could partially explain the relatively low incomes in the state.

Miami city tropical view, Florida
Source: Thinkstock

38. Florida
> Median household income: $49,426
> Population: 20,271,272 (3rd highest)
> 2015 Unemployment rate: 5.4% (20th highest)
> Poverty rate: 15.7% (16th highest)

The typical Florida household earns $49,426, well below the national median income of $55,775. The housing crisis slammed Florida harder than most states. While home values in the state rose from $162,700 in 2014 to $179,800 in 2015, the value remains $10,000 below the national median value of $194,500.

Wages rose across the nation and in most states, but the distribution of that income has worsened. Income distribution in Florida is especially unequal — the Gini coefficient pegs the state fifth worst for income inequality.

Montana ghost town, dirt road
Source: Thinkstock

37. Montana
> Median household income: $49,509
> Population: 1,032,949 (7th lowest)
> 2015 Unemployment rate: 4.1% (12th lowest)
> Poverty rate: 14.6% (24th highest)

The typical Montana household earns $49,509, well below the national median income of $55,775. While household income is lower than the national income level, home values in the state are relatively high. The median value of a home in the state is $209,500, higher than the national median home value of $194,500.

The percentage of Montana adults who have at least a high school diploma increased to 93.5%, now the highest share of any state. The state’s bachelor’s attainment rate of just under 30% is inline with the national attainment rate.

St. Louis, Missouri
Source: Thinkstock

36. Missouri
> Median household income: $50,238
> Population: 6,083,672 (18th highest)
> 2015 Unemployment rate: 5.0% (24th lowest)
> Poverty rate: 14.8% (21st highest)

Missouri’s unemployment rate dropped by 1.2 percentage points in 2015 compared to 2014, nearly the largest improvement of any state. However, at 5.0%, the state’s unemployment rate is still just slightly below the national jobless rate of 5.2%. As in many other relatively low income states, Missouri’s median home value of $147,800 is more than $40,000 below the national benchmark of $194,500.

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