Special Report

America's Richest and Poorest States

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25. Iowa
> Median household income: $58,570
> Population: 3,145,711 (21st lowest)
> 2017 unemployment rate: 3.1% (7th lowest)
> Poverty rate: 10.7% (12th lowest)

Iowa’s median household income of $58,570 ranks roughly in the middle among states, despite having one of the lowest unemployment rates in the country. Just 3.1% of the state’s labor force is not employed. Iowa has among the highest shares of workers in the agriculture, manufacturing, and retail trade industries, which tend to be relatively low-paying for many of the workers in those fields.

Source: Thinkstock

24. Pennsylvania
> Median household income: $59,195
> Population: 12,805,537 (5th highest)
> 2017 unemployment rate: 4.9% (11th highest)
> Poverty rate: 12.5% (22nd lowest)

Pennsylvania’s median household income was $1,100 higher in 2017 compared to 2016. This was a smaller increase than the increase in the U.S. median household income, which was $1,516. The state also continues to have one of the higher unemployment rates in the country, at 4.9%. As the labor force has a more difficult time finding work than in most other states, some households are unable to earn wages, depressing the state’s median household income.

Source: Thinkstock

23. Texas
> Median household income: $59,206
> Population: 28,304,596 (2nd highest)
> 2017 unemployment rate: 4.3% (25th highest)
> Poverty rate: 14.7% (14th highest)

The Texas median annual household income of $59,206 is higher than most states, but still not quite as high as the U.S. median of $60,336. Many Texans may not qualify for higher skilled jobs, as the state has the second lowest high school attainment rate in the country at 83.6%. Texas workers are among the most likely to work in jobs that do not require high levels of education, such as construction.

Source: Thinkstock

22. Wisconsin
> Median household income: $59,305
> Population: 5,795,483 (20th highest)
> 2017 unemployment rate: 3.3% (11th lowest)
> Poverty rate: 11.3% (18th lowest)

Wisconsin continues to have one of the highest high school attainment rates in the country, improving from 90.9% of residents 25 or older in 2013 to 92.4% of adults in 2017 — the seventh highest in the country. In comparison, 88.0% of American adults have a high school diploma. This relatively high education rate means that a higher share of Wisconsin’s labor force is likely to obtain higher paying jobs. Wisconsin’s 11.3% poverty rate is more than 2 percentage points below the U.S. rate.

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21. Nebraska
> Median household income: $59,970
> Population: 1,920,076 (14th lowest)
> 2017 unemployment rate: 2.9% (5th lowest)
> Poverty rate: 10.8% (13th lowest)

A small percentage of Nebraska’s labor force, 2.9%, is looking for work, one of the smallest unemployment rates in the country. Such low unemployment is a sign of a healthy state economy, as is the state’s improving incomes. Nebraska’s median household income increased $1,961 from 2016 to 2017, a larger increase than all but a handful of states.