Special Report

America's Richest and Poorest States

Source: Thinkstock

35. Ohio
> Median household income: $54,021
> Population: 11,658,609 (7th highest)
> 2017 unemployment rate: 5.0% (6th highest)
> Poverty rate: 14.0% (18th highest)

Almost every state’s unemployment rate improved in 2017 compared to 2016, but not Ohio’s. The state’s unemployment rate stayed at 5.0%, now the sixth highest unemployment rate of all states. Ohio’s median household income has not increased as quickly as most other states over the past several year either. As a result, the state’s rank by median household income dropped from 32nd in 2013 to 35th in 2017.

Source: Thinkstock

34. Indiana
> Median household income: $54,181
> Population: 6,666,818 (17th highest)
> 2017 unemployment rate: 3.5% (14th lowest)
> Poverty rate: 13.5% (20th highest)

Indiana has one of the lowest college attainment rates in the country. Just 26.8% of adults in the state have at least a bachelor’s degree, as compared to 32.0% of American adults overall. Indiana has one of the lowest median home values in the country at $141,100 — more than $75,000 below the U.S. median. Low home values can often indicate residents are unable to afford large long-term purchases.

Source: Thinkstock

33. Michigan
> Median household income: $54,909
> Population: 9,962,311 (10th highest)
> 2017 unemployment rate: 4.6% (18th highest)
> Poverty rate: 14.2% (15th highest)

Michigan has one of the higher high school attainment rates among states at more than 90%. Yet the state also has one of the lower bachelor’s degree attainment rates. Some 29.1% of Michigan adults have a four year college degree, whereas 32.0% of American adults do. Those with college degrees are more likely to be employed in a high-paying job. Many Michigan residents work in manufacturing, which typically does not pay high wages. Some 18.9% of state workers are employed in the manufacturing industry — the highest rate than any other state.

Source: Thinkstock

32. Georgia
> Median household income: $56,183
> Population: 10,429,379 (8th highest)
> 2017 unemployment rate: 4.7% (14th highest)
> Poverty rate: 14.9% (11th highest)

Many key indicators point to an improvement in Georgia’s economy. The southern state no longer ranks in the top 10 in terms of poverty rate or the rate of households in extreme poverty as it did five years ago. Also, the state’s median household income rose by $5,757 from 2013 to 2017 — slightly ahead the increase in median income nationwide.

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31. Maine
> Median household income: $56,277
> Population: 1,335,907 (9th lowest)
> 2017 unemployment rate: 3.3% (10th lowest)
> Poverty rate: 11.1% (16th lowest)

Maine is one of the most highly educated states in the country. Its 92.3% high school attainment rate is among the top 10 in the country and its 32.1% bachelor’s degree attainment rate is slightly above the U.S. rate. Higher levels of education can make a person a more attractive candidate for employers. Though Maine has one of the lowest unemployment rates in the country at 3.3%, incomes may be constrained by the fact that many Maine workers are employed in lower-paying industries. The shares of workers in the state in construction, retail trade, and education — three industries that do not typically pay high salaries — are among the highest of all states.

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