Special Report

America's Richest and Poorest States

Source: Thinkstock

30. Kansas
> Median household income: $56,422
> Population: 2,913,123 (16th lowest)
> 2017 unemployment rate: 3.6% (15th lowest)
> Poverty rate: 11.9% (21st lowest)

The median household income in Kansas did not significantly increase between 2016 and 2017, as half of states did in that time. The slow income growth dropped Kansas from having the 28th highest median household income to having the 30th highest income. Kansas also has one of the lowest median home values in the country at $150,600. The median home in the United States is worth $217,600.

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29. South Dakota
> Median household income: $56,521
> Population: 869,666 (5th lowest)
> 2017 unemployment rate: 3.3% (12th lowest)
> Poverty rate: 13.0% (24th highest)

South Dakota had one of the lower unemployment rates in the country 2017, at 3.3%. In 2016, however, the state’s unemployment rate was even lower, at 3.0%, making the state one of just three where unemployment increased last year. South Dakota’s median household income has been consistent relative to the other 49 states — it ranked 29th in median household income five years ago, just as it does now.

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28. Arizona
> Median household income: $56,581
> Population: 7,016,270 (14th highest)
> 2017 unemployment rate: 4.9% (10th highest)
> Poverty rate: 14.9% (12th highest)

Arizona’s 2017 median household income of $56,581 is more than $1,800 higher compared to its income in 2016. The increase is higher than the increase in the U.S. median household income of $1,516. The state’s poverty rate dropped by 1.5 percentage points to 14.9%. While Arizona still has one of the higher poverty rates in the country, the decline was the second steepest decline nationwide after Idaho.

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27. Vermont
> Median household income: $57,513
> Population: 623,657 (2nd lowest)
> 2017 unemployment rate: 3.0% (6th lowest)
> Poverty rate: 11.3% (19th lowest)

In 2016, Vermont had the 20th highest median annual household income at $58,775. But the state’s median dropped by more than $1,200 in 2017, knocking Vermont seven spots down the list to 27. States with higher educational attainment rates tend to have higher incomes, but Vermont is a bit of an outlier, as it has the seventh best bachelor’s degree attainment rate at 38.3% yet it does not have one of the higher median household incomes.

Source: Thinkstock

26. Nevada
> Median household income: $58,003
> Population: 2,998,039 (18th lowest)
> 2017 unemployment rate: 5.0% (7th highest)
> Poverty rate: 13.0% (25th highest)

Nevada has one of the highest unemployment rates in the country, likely hampering the state’s median household income. It also has one of the lowest bachelor’s degree attainment rates, at 24.9%. People with high levels of education are more likely to be able to find a high paying job as they are more qualified for certain positions. Nevada is the home of America’s playground, Las Vegas. As such, it has the highest rate of workers in the relatively low paying arts, entertainment, and recreation, and accommodation and food services industry — nearly a quarter of all Nevada workers.

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