Special Report

The County in Every State Where the Most People Live Below the Poverty Line

The World Bank predicts that the effects of the pandemic will have pushed somewhere between 88 million and 115 million people worldwide into extreme poverty some time this year. A number of Americans could certainly be among those falling into poverty. Even before the spread of COVID-19, parts of the country already struggled much more with poverty than the nation overall. 

The U.S. five-year poverty rate as of 2019, the most recent year available through the census, is 13.4%. In some parts of the U.S., poverty rates are considerably higher, including a number of counties where more than 30.0% of the population lives in a household with poverty-level income.

Many Americans owe months of back rent, and many still face an unstable job situation or ongoing unemployment. According to a survey conducted between late May and early June by the Center on Budget and Policy Priorities, 27% of Americans surveyed said that it was somewhat difficult or very difficult to afford their usual expenses. 

To determine the county with the highest poverty rate in every state, 24/7 Wall St. reviewed five-year estimates of the percentage of people in each state who live below the poverty line from the U.S. Census Bureau’s 2019 American Community Survey. For reference, the U.S. Department of Health and Human services sets the official poverty threshold at an annual income of no more than approximately $26,000 for a family of four. 

Poverty can be found all across the country. Still, in some states, even the poorest county has a lower poverty rate than the U.S. as a whole. In Connecticut, for example, the poorest county — New Haven — has a poverty rate of 11.7%, compared to the national five-year poverty rate of 13.4%. 

Click here to see the county in every state where the most people live below the poverty line
Click here to see our detailed methodology

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