Special Report

America's Richest and Poorest States

Source: Thinkstock

20. Vermont
> Median household income: $57,677
> Population: 624,594 (2nd lowest)
> 2016 Unemployment rate: 3.3% (7th lowest)
> Poverty rate: 11.9% (19th lowest)

Vermont’s median household income of $57,677 in 2016 remains effectively unchanged from the year before. On a broader scale, Vermont’s median household income is $2,300 higher today than it was in 2012. Still, the poverty rate is in line with the share of state residents living below the poverty line in 2012. In a break from the national trend, serious financial hardship became more common in Vermont in 2016. Some 11.9% of state residents live in poverty, up from 10.2% the year before.

Source: Thinkstock

19. Wyoming
> Median household income: $59,882
> Population: 585,501 (the lowest)
> 2016 Unemployment rate: 5.3% (13th highest)
> Poverty rate: 11.3% (14th lowest)

The typical household in Wyoming earns $59,882, effectively unchanged from the previous year. Similarly, some 11.3% of state residents live in poverty, about the same poverty rate as in 2015. Economic conditions remained static in the state in 2016 despite a worsening job market. An average of 5.3% Wyoming’s labor force were out of a job in 2016, up considerably from the state’s 4.2% unemployment rate in 2015.

Serious financial hardship is less common in Wyoming than in most states, and partially as a result, only 5.9% of households rely on government SNAP benefits, the smallest share of any state.

Source: Thinkstock

18. Rhode Island
> Median household income: $60,596
> Population: 1,056,426 (8th lowest)
> 2016 Unemployment rate: 5.3% (13th highest)
> Poverty rate: 12.8% (22nd lowest)

Rhode Island is one of five New England states with a higher median income than the nation as a whole. The typical Rhode Island household earns $60,596 annually, slightly more than the median income nationwide of $57,617. Despite wealthier residents, a larger than typical share of Rhode Islanders rely on government assistance. Some 15.9% of households in the state receive SNAP benefits, the fifth highest share among all states.

Source: Thinkstock

17. North Dakota
> Median household income: $60,656
> Population: 757,953 (4th lowest)
> 2016 Unemployment rate: 3.2% (5th lowest)
> Poverty rate: 10.7% (10th lowest)

The typical North Dakota household earned over $60,000 in 2016, roughly the same as in 2015. Incomes in the state remained static even as other economic conditions worsened. In a break from the national trend of declining unemployment, North Dakota’s unemployment rate climbed from 2.8% in 2015 to 3.2% in 2016.

A slump in global oil prices may partially explain North Dakota’s lagging economy, as 8.4% of the state’s workforce are employed in resource extraction, roughly five times the comparable share of the U.S. workforce.

Source: Thinkstock

16. Illinois
> Median household income: $60,960
> Population: 12,801,539 (5th highest)
> 2016 Unemployment rate: 5.9% (6th highest)
> Poverty rate: 13.0% (24th lowest)

In keeping with the broader nationwide trend, incomes climbed in Illinois in 2016, while poverty fell. The typical household in the state earns $60,960 annually — more than in most states and up from $60,094 in 2015. Similarly, only 13.0% of state residents live in poverty — roughly a half a percentage point improvement from the previous year and slightly below the 14.0% U.S. poverty rate.