Special Report

The Poorest County in Every State

Source: Bill Lile / Flickr

36. Oklahoma: Choctaw County
> County median household income: $30,298
> State median household income: $49,767
> Poverty rate: 31.0%
> Unemployment rate: 4.2%

Choctaw County is located in southeastern Oklahoma along the Red River, which makes up the state border with Texas. In Choctaw County, half of all households earn less than $30,298, and about 15% of households earn less than $10,000. Choctaw also has a 31% poverty rate, the highest of any county in the state.

Low incomes are partially attributable to the kinds of jobs available in the county. For example, 6.9% of workers in Choctaw County work in farming, hunting, fishing, forestry, and mining occupations. Nationwide, only about 2% of workers are employed in those jobs. Meanwhile, just 5.4% of workers in the county are employed in professional, scientific, and management jobs — less than half the industry’s 11.3% employment concentration nationwide.

See all stories featuring: Oklahoma

Source: Gary Halvorson, Oregon State Archives / Wikimedia Commons

37. Oregon: Malheur County
> County median household income: $37,112
> State median household income: $56,119
> Poverty rate: 25.2%
> Unemployment rate: 4.1%

Malheur County residents are more likely to face financial hardship than those in any other part of Oregon. More than 10% of county households live on less than $10,000 per year, the only part of Oregon where that is the case. The county also has far and away the highest poverty rate in Oregon at 25.2%.

There is a strong correlation between an area’s educational attainment and income. Malheur County adults have a bachelor’s degree attainment rate of 13.2%, less than half of the state’s college attainment rate of 32.3%. This may at least partially explain why the typical county household earns about $19,000 less than the typical household statewide.

See all stories featuring: Oregon

Source: zrfphoto / Getty Images

38. Pennsylvania: Forest County
> County median household income: $37,106
> State median household income: $56,951
> Poverty rate: 14.1%
> Unemployment rate: 5.0%

Forest County is appropriately named, as it is spans much of the Allegheny National Forest in northwestern area of Pennsylvania. The county’s median annual household income, which is nearly $20,000 lower than that of the state, may be hampered by the population’s relatively low level of educational attainment. Just 7.0% of adults in Forest County hold at least a bachelor’s degree, the lowest level in Pennsylvania and one of thelowest levels of any county in the U.S. For context, the bachelor’s degree attainment rate statewide is over 30%.

See all stories featuring: Pennsylvania

Source: Thinkstock

39. Rhode Island: Providence County
> County median household income: $52,530
> State median household income: $61,043
> Poverty rate: 16.7%
> Unemployment rate: 3.4%

Providence has by far the largest population of Rhode Island’s five counties. With more than 633,000 residents, it makes up more than 60% of the state’s population. Though Providence County has the lowest median annual household income in the state, it is still only about $5,000 lower than the U.S. median. Yet, the county’s median household income is more than $16,500 lower than in any other county in Rhode Island.

Statewide, 13.4% of Rhode Island residents live in poverty. In the four counties outside of Providence County, the poverty rate is less than 10%. In Providence County, the poverty rate is 16.7%.

See all stories featuring: Rhode Island

Source: Upstateherd / Wikimedia Commons

40. South Carolina: Allendale County
> County median household income: $23,331
> State median household income: $48,781
> Poverty rate: 30.4%
> Unemployment rate: 5.6%

Allendale County, which borders Georgia, has the lowest median household income of any South Carolina county. The typical household earns $23,331 a year, less than half of South Carolina’s median annual household income of $48,781. More than 30% of county residents live in poverty, and more than one out of every five households earns less than $10,000 annually, one of the highest such shares in the nation.

Poverty can have a serious detrimental effect on health. Allendale County residents have an average life expectancy at birth of just under 73 years, more than 6 years less than the average life expectancy nationwide.

See all stories featuring: South Carolina

Sponsored: Tips for Investing

A financial advisor can help you understand the advantages and disadvantages of investment properties. Finding a qualified financial advisor doesn’t have to be hard. SmartAsset’s free tool matches you with up to three financial advisors who serve your area, and you can interview your advisor matches at no cost to decide which one is right for you. If you’re ready to find an advisor who can help you achieve your financial goals, get started now.

Investing in real estate can diversify your portfolio. But expanding your horizons may add additional costs. If you’re an investor looking to minimize expenses, consider checking out online brokerages. They often offer low investment fees, helping you maximize your profit.