Special Report

States Where Incomes Have Gone Up the Most

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40. Indiana
> 1 yr. change in median household income: +1.8%
> Median household income: $57,603 (2019); $56,583 (2018)
> Poverty rate: 11.9% (2019); 13.1% (2018)
> Unemployment: 3.3% (2019); 3.5% (2018)

The typical Indiana household earned $57,603 in 2019, a modest 1.8% increase from the previous year. The state was one of 40 nationwide to report a statistically significant increase in household income in 2019. The increase was less than half the national average increase of 4.5%. Over the same period, the median household income nationwide climbed from $62,860 to $65,712.

The rise in incomes in Indiana resulted in a decline in the state’s poverty rate, from 13.1% in 2018 to 11.9% in 2019.

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39. Maryland
> 1 yr. change in median household income: +2.2%
> Median household income: $86,738 (2019); $84,845 (2018)
> Poverty rate: 9.0% (2019); 9.0% (2018)
> Unemployment: 3.6% (2019); 3.9% (2018)

The median household income in Maryland increased by just 2.2% from 2018 to 2019, less than half of the 4.5% increase in the overall U.S. median household income in that time. Despite the lower increase, the state still has the highest median household income of any state at $86,738, more than $20,000 higher than the U.S. median for 2019.

Maryland’s income growth did not result in a change in the poverty rate, which stayed at 9.0% — the fourth lowest poverty rate among states and well below the 13.1% national rate.

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38. Arkansas
> 1 yr. change in median household income: +2.4%
> Median household income: $48,952 (2019); $47,787 (2018)
> Poverty rate: 16.2% (2019); 17.2% (2018)
> Unemployment: 3.5% (2019); 3.6% (2018)

Arkansas is one of the poorest states in the country, with a median annual household income of $48,952. Though the state reported a 2.4% gain in median income in 2019, the increase was relatively modest compared to that of most states.

Still, Arkansas reported a sharper decline in poverty than most other states. The statewide poverty rate fell from 17.2% to 16.2% between 2018 and 2019, making Arkansas one of 17 states where poverty fell by at least a full percentage point.

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37. Alabama
> 1 yr. change in median household income: +2.6%
> Median household income: $51,734 (2019); $50,447 (2018)
> Poverty rate: 15.5% (2019); 16.8% (2018)
> Unemployment: 3.0% (2019); 3.9% (2018)

The typical Alabama household made about $1,300 more in 2019 than in 2018 — a relatively low 2.6% increase. The higher median income in the state was likely driven in part by the improved job market. An average of only 3.0% of the labor force in Alabama was unemployed in 2019, down from 3.9% in 2018.

Educational attainment rates also rose in Alabama over the same period. Of all adults 25 and older in the state in 2018, 25.5% had a bachelor’s degree. As of 2019, the share among the same age group rose to 26.3%.

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36. Kentucky
> 1 yr. change in median household income: +2.8%
> Median household income: $52,295 (2019); $50,889 (2018)
> Poverty rate: 16.3% (2019); 16.9% (2018)
> Unemployment: 4.3% (2019); 4.3% (2018)

The 2019 median household income in Kentucky was $52,295, 2.8% higher than the year before. In spite of this increase, Kentucky still had a lower median household income than all but six other states, well behind the $65,712 U.S. median.

As the typical Kentucky household earned more in 2019 than it did the year before, fewer households reported incomes below the poverty line as well and the state’s poverty rate dropped slightly from 16.9% to 16.3%. Still, this remained well above the 12.3% U.S. poverty rate.

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