The Poorest County in Every State

Print Email

Source: Thinkstock

11. Hawaii: Hawaii County
> County median household income: $56,395
> State median household income: $74,923
> Poverty rate: 17.4%
> Unemployment rate: 3.5%

With a median annual household income of about $75,000 — $17,300 more than the national median income — Hawaii is one of the wealthiest states in the country. Even the poorest county in the state, Hawaii County, has a median income of $56,395 a year, only about $1,000 less than the national median.

The job market in Hawaii County, which is coterminous with the island of the same name, is also relatively strong. Some 3.5% of workers in the county are unemployed, a larger share than the 2.5% state unemployment rate but slightly below the 3.8% national rate.

Source: Ken Lund / Flickr

12. Idaho: Madison County
> County median household income: $33,620
> State median household income: $50,985
> Poverty rate: 31.8%
> Unemployment rate: 1.4%

Madison County is located in southeastern Idaho, not far from the Wyoming state border. Despite having a 1.4% unemployment rate, the lowest of any of the 44 counties in Idaho, Madison County also has the lowest median household income in the state. The typical household in Madison earns just $33,620 a year, about $17,000 less than what the typical Idaho household earns. Madison County is the only County in Idaho where over 30% of residents live below the poverty line.

Source: BOB WESTON / Getty Images

13. Illinois: Alexander County
> County median household income: $31,014
> State median household income: $61,229
> Poverty rate: 33.4%
> Unemployment rate: 6.5%

Many of the counties on this list have weak job markets, and Alexander County, located in southern Illinois along the Mississippi and Ohio Rivers, is one of them. The unemployment rate in Alexander stands at 6.5%, far higher than the 4.2% state unemployment rate and the 3.8% national one. A high unemployment rate can reduce incomes in a given area, and in Alexander County, the typical household earns just $31,014 a year, about $30,000 less than what the typical Illinois household earns. The county’s low incomes are also shown by its high poverty rate. One in every three area residents live below the poverty line, by far the largest share in any of the state’s 102 counties.

Source: Public Domain / Wikimedia Commons

14. Indiana: Crawford County
> County median household income: $40,067
> State median household income: $52,182
> Poverty rate: 17.8%
> Unemployment rate: 4.5%

Populations with higher educational attainment tend have higher incomes. In Crawford County, Indiana, just one in every 10 adults have a bachelor’s degree, less than half the 25.3% of adults statewide with a bachelor’s degree. Many of the jobs in the county do not likely require a college degree. For example, one in every four workers in the county is employed in manufacturing, a far greater than typical concentration. The typical household in Crawford County earns just $40,067 a year, about $12,000 less than the typical Indiana household and about $17,500 less than the typical American household.

Source: AriasPhotos / Getty Images

15. Iowa: Appanoose County
> County median household income: $40,377
> State median household income: $56,570
> Poverty rate: 17.1%
> Unemployment rate: 2.6%

In the poorest county in Iowa, Appanoose County, the typical household earns just $40,377 a year, about $16,000 less than the typical Iowa household. Real estate values in a given area are often reflective of what residents can afford. In Appanoose, the typical home is worth just $78,000, well below the median home value of $137,200 across the state as a whole.

Appanoose County, located in southern Iowa along the Missouri state border, is losing residents rapidly. In the last five years, the number of people living in the county fell by 2.4% — even as Iowa’s population grew by 2.3%.