The United States is one of the most socially and economically diverse nations on Earth. While some towns, cities, and even counties are home to widespread prosperity, others can be characterized by their abject poverty. In Lincoln County, South Dakota, 3.7% of the population lives in poverty, while the state’s Oglala Lakota County has a poverty rate of 53.9%.
Extreme inequality is not unique to South Dakota or the Midwest. Rather, in nearly every state in the nation, there is at least one county where social and economic measures reflect an extremely poor quality of life.
In these marginalized and destitute parts of the United States, poverty is only one of many problems that residents face making their quality of life potentially much worse than for those Americans fortunate enough to live in affluent places.
In addition to poverty, poor health outcomes and low educational attainment persist in at least one county in every state in the country. Based on these socioeconomic measures, 24/7 Wall St. created an index to measure quality of life in every county in the U.S. with a population of at least 10,000 in order to identify the worst worst county to live in every state.