For years now, each new month has brought news of job growth and signs of a strong economy. As of November 2018, 12-month wage growth reached its highest level in nearly a decade. Often lost in the flood of positive economic news, however, is the plight of Americans in the poorest pockets of the country.
In every state other than Connecticut, there is at least one county where the typical household earns less than the national median annual household income of $57,652. In the vast majority of states, there are counties where most households earn less than $40,000 a year.
These low-income counties tend to have much in common. They are largely rural and have relatively weak job markets. They also tend to have low average life expectancies and declining populations.
24/7 Wall St. reviewed median household income data from the U.S. Census Bureau to identify the poorest county in every state.
To identify the poorest county in each state, 24/7 Wall St. reviewed median annual household incomes for each U.S. county using 5-year estimates from the U.S. Census Bureau’s 2017 American Community Survey. We only considered counties with income estimates with a maximum 10% margin of error. We also reviewed in each county the percentage of adults who have earned a bachelor’s degree or higher, poverty rates, and median home values from the ACS. Unemployment rates from the Bureau of Labor Statistics are not seasonally adjusted and are for October 2018.