Special Report

America's Richest and Poorest States

Source: Thinkstock

25. Texas
> Median household income: $56,565
> Population: 27,862,596 (2nd highest)
> 2016 Unemployment rate: 4.6% (23rd lowest)
> Poverty rate: 15.6% (12th highest)

While college attainment tends to be a better indicator of income than high school attainment, states where a relatively high share of adults have a high school education also tend to have higher incomes. Texas has the second lowest high school attainment rate among adults, at just 82.9%, compared to the national share of 87.5% of adults. Still, rather than being extremely low, incomes in Texas are in line with the national figure. The typical Texas household earns $56,565 a year, roughly $1,000 below the national figure.

Source: Thinkstock

24. Wisconsin
> Median household income: $56,811
> Population: 5,778,709 (20th highest)
> 2016 Unemployment rate: 4.1% (17th lowest)
> Poverty rate: 11.8% (18th lowest)

Wisconsin’s median household income of $56,811 is effectively the same as it was in 2015. Similarly, the state’s 11.8% poverty rate and 11.9% SNAP recipiency rate remain effectively unchanged from the previous year. The only economic measure that changed significantly in 2016 is the 4.1% share of households in the state earning $200,000 or more — up from 3.7% in 2015.

Source: Thinkstock

23. Pennsylvania
> Median household income: $56,907
> Population: 12,784,227 (6th highest)
> 2016 Unemployment rate: 5.4% (9th highest)
> Poverty rate: 12.9% (23rd lowest)

Pennsylvania’s median household income increased very slightly between 2015 and 2016, rising by $700 to $56,907. The state’s relatively high unemployment rate of 5.4% would suggest lower incomes, but the typical state household earns only $700 less than the national median household income.

Serious financial hardship is also less common in Pennsylvania than it is nationwide. Some 12.9% of state residents live below the poverty line compared to 14.0% of Americans nationwide.

Source: Thinkstock

22. Nebraska
> Median household income: $56,927
> Population: 1,907,116 (14th lowest)
> 2016 Unemployment rate: 3.2% (5th lowest)
> Poverty rate: 11.4% (15th lowest)

Nebraska’s typical household earns $56,907 a year, just under the national median household income and 22nd highest of all states. While real estate values usually reflect the earning potential of state residents, Nebraska’s does not. The typical home in the state is worth $148,100, the 12th lowest median home value of all state and over $50,000 lower than the national median home value.

Nebraska’s poverty rate improved slightly to 11.4% from 12.6% in 2015.

Source: Thinkstock

21. Oregon
> Median household income: $57,532
> Population: 4,093,465 (24th lowest)
> 2016 Unemployment rate: 4.9% (20th highest)
> Poverty rate: 13.3% (24th highest)

While Oregon’s median household income is less than $300 below the national figure, this does not give a complete economic picture. Nearly 17% of households in the state rely on food stamps, which is well above the national SNAP recipiency rate of 12.4% and the third highest share among states. While this is a high figure, it is nevertheless a substantial improvement from 2015, when the state had the highest household SNAP recipiency rate, at 18.6% of households.

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