Special Report

America's Richest and Poorest States

Source: Thinkstock

30. Georgia
> Median household income: $53,559
> Population: 10,310,371 (8th highest)
> 2016 Unemployment rate: 5.4% (9th highest)
> Poverty rate: 16.0% (10th highest)

Georgia ranks 30th overall in median household income among states, with the typical household earning $53,559 a year. The state’s poverty rate, however, ranks among the 10 worst, as 16% of Georgia residents live in poverty compared to 14% of Americans nationwide.

Georgia’s population is one of the most exposed to crisis in the event of an accident, injury, or disease, as 12.9% of the state’s population lack health insurance coverage, the fourth highest proportion among states.

Source: Thinkstock

29. South Dakota
> Median household income: $54,467
> Population: 865,454 (5th lowest)
> 2016 Unemployment rate: 2.8% (2nd lowest)
> Poverty rate: 13.3% (24th highest)

High unemployment can often, at least partially, explain poverty and low incomes in a state, but not in South Dakota. The state’s median household income is about $3,000 below the national median at $54,467 a year despite very low unemployment. Just 2.8% of South Dakota’s labor force was unemployed in 2016, the second lowest jobless rate of all states. Also, despite the relatively low income, the share of adults receiving assistance in the form of food stamps in South Dakota is one of the smallest. Just 9.4% of households receive SNAP benefits, the 11th lowest share among states.

Source: Thinkstock

28. Kansas
> Median household income: $54,935
> Population: 2,907,289 (16th lowest)
> 2016 Unemployment rate: 4.2% (18th lowest)
> Poverty rate: 12.1% (20th lowest)

In 2016, Kansas had one of the lowest food stamp recipiency rates in the country. Just 7.9% of area households received SNAP benefits compared to 12.4% of all American households that did. In measures of poverty and income, the state compares much more closely with the nation’s average. The typical household in Kansas earned $54,935 a year, compared to the national median of $57,617. Still, the state’s poverty rate of 12.1% was slightly lower than the national rate of 14.0%.

Source: Thinkstock

27. Nevada
> Median household income: $55,180
> Population: 2,940,058 (17th lowest)
> 2016 Unemployment rate: 5.7% (8th highest)
> Poverty rate: 13.8% (23rd highest)

Nevada had the highest unemployment rate in 2015, at 6.8%. While the state’s unemployment rate improved in 2016 to 5.7%, it was still one of the highest of all states. Employers are the primary providers of health insurance for Americans, so Nevada’s high jobless rate may help explain the state’s high uninsured rate — one of the highest nationwide. In Nevada, 11.4% of adults do not have health insurance compared to 8.6% of adults nationwide.

Source: Thinkstock

26. Iowa
> Median household income: $56,247
> Population: 3,134,693 (21st lowest)
> 2016 Unemployment rate: 3.7% (10th lowest)
> Poverty rate: 11.8% (18th lowest)

The typical household in Iowa earns $56,247 a year, just under the national median household income of $57,617. Generally, the relative value of property in a state mirrors area incomes, but there are exceptions. While Iowa’s median household income is effectively in line with that of the country, the typical home in the state is only worth $142,300, the ninth lowest of all states and well below the national median home value of $205,000.

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