Special Report

15 States Where Poverty Is Worse Than You Might Think


To determine the states where poverty is worse than you think, 24/7 Wall St. ranked states based on the percentage-point difference between the official poverty rate and supplemental poverty rate with data from the U.S. Census Bureau. Data on the number and percentage of people living below the poverty line according to each measure are three-year averages for 2016 to 2018. Data on the percentage of households receiving SNAP (food stamps) benefits and median household income came from the Census Bureau’s American Community Survey and are for 2018. Data on regional price parity, or cost of living, came from the Bureau of Economic Analysis and are for 2017. 

Data on the average weekly benefit amount for unemployment insurance came from the U.S. Department of Labor and are for the 12 months ending Q2 2019. Data on the share of eligible individuals who participated in SNAP in 2015 is from the Center on Budget and Policy Priorities. Data on the average monthly SNAP benefit per each household member in fiscal 2017 is also from the CBPP. Data on the percentage of eligible individuals who received Special Supplemental Nutrition Program for Women, Infants and Children (WIC) benefits in 2014 comes from the U.S. Department of Agriculture. All data are for the most recent period available.