Special Report

31 Poorest States in America, Ranked

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Rampant inflation has been eroding real incomes nationwide, but no doubt wealthier Americans have had an easier time handling soaring prices. In some U.S. states, more households have relatively higher incomes, while in other states, more households have relatively low incomes.

In 31 states, including seven of the 10 most populated, median household income is below the national median of $74,755. The share of people living in poverty is above the national rate in 21 of these states. (Here are 25 ways the federal poverty rate doesn’t tell the whole story.)

To identify the poorest states in America, 24/7 Wall St. reviewed the median household annual income in every state from the U.S. Census Bureau’s 2022 American Community Survey. Listed here are the 31 states with median household incomes significantly lower than the national median annual income.

Texas is the most populated state on this list, with a median household income of $72,284 and a poverty rate of 14%. More than 611,000 households in the Lone Star state have annual incomes below $10,000. Florida, the second largest state by population on this list, has lower median household income and a higher percentage of its population living in poverty than Texas.

Median household income serves as a good measure for a state’s overall prosperity. For example, Mississippi has both the highest percentage of the population living in poverty and the lowest median household income. (Also see, the city with the poorest middle class in every state.)

But states with higher median household incomes do not always have the lowest share of poor residents. For example, New York’s median annual household income is $79,557, but the percentage of people living in poverty is 14.3%, slightly higher than Texas and significantly higher than the national poverty rate.

Here are the states with household incomes below the national average.

Source: Ray Tan / iStock via Getty Images

31. Vermont
> Median household annual income: $73,991
> Households with incomes under $10,000: 11,050 (4.0% of households – 4th lowest)
> People in households with incomes under poverty line: 65,162 (10.4% – 12th lowest)
> Population: 647,064

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30. Georgia
> Median household annual income: $72,837
> Households with incomes under $10,000: 229,257 (5.6% of households – 17th highest)
> People in households with incomes under poverty line: 1,348,344 (12.7% – 18th highest)
> Population: 10,912,876

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29. Idaho
> Median household annual income: $72,785
> Households with incomes under $10,000: 27,531 (3.8% of households – 3rd lowest)
> People in households with incomes under poverty line: 202,517 (10.7% – 15th lowest)
> Population: 1,939,033

Source: Max Whittaker / Getty Images News via Getty Images

28. Nevada
> Median household annual income: $72,333
> Households with incomes under $10,000: 67,608 (5.6% of households – 15th highest)
> People in households with incomes under poverty line: 390,848 (12.5% – 22nd highest)
> Population: 3,177,772

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27. Texas
> Median household annual income: $72,284
> Households with incomes under $10,000: 611,011 (5.5% of households – 19th highest)
> People in households with incomes under poverty line: 4,113,641 (14.0% – 10th highest)
> Population: 30,029,572

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26. North Dakota
> Median household annual income: $71,970
> Households with incomes under $10,000: 16,738 (5.0% of households – 20th lowest)
> People in households with incomes under poverty line: 86,192 (11.5% – 21st lowest)
> Population: 779,261

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25. Pennsylvania
> Median household annual income: $71,798
> Households with incomes under $10,000: 291,562 (5.5% of households – 20th highest)
> People in households with incomes under poverty line: 1,483,365 (11.8% – 23rd lowest)
> Population: 12,972,008

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24. Wisconsin
> Median household annual income: $70,996
> Households with incomes under $10,000: 115,058 (4.6% of households – 12th lowest)
> People in households with incomes under poverty line: 617,037 (10.7% – 14th lowest)
> Population: 5,892,539

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23. Wyoming
> Median household annual income: $70,042
> Households with incomes under $10,000: 12,728 (5.2% of households – 24th lowest)
> People in households with incomes under poverty line: 66,943 (11.8% – 22nd lowest)
> Population: 581,381

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22. South Dakota
> Median household annual income: $69,728
> Households with incomes under $10,000: 18,379 (5.0% of households – 18th lowest)
> People in households with incomes under poverty line: 109,889 (12.5% – 20th highest)
> Population: 909,824

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21. Nebraska
> Median household annual income: $69,597
> Households with incomes under $10,000: 39,385 (4.9% of households – 17th lowest)
> People in households with incomes under poverty line: 215,838 (11.2% – 20th lowest)
> Population: 1,967,923

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20. Iowa
> Median household annual income: $69,588
> Households with incomes under $10,000: 57,792 (4.3% of households – 8th lowest)
> People in households with incomes under poverty line: 339,867 (11.0% – 18th lowest)
> Population: 3,200,517

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19. Maine
> Median household annual income: $69,543
> Households with incomes under $10,000: 28,445 (4.7% of households – 13th lowest)
> People in households with incomes under poverty line: 145,161 (10.8% – 16th lowest)
> Population: 1,385,340

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18. Florida
> Median household annual income: $69,303
> Households with incomes under $10,000: 495,572 (5.6% of households – 16th highest)
> People in households with incomes under poverty line: 2,762,679 (12.7% – 17th highest)
> Population: 22,244,823

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17. Kansas
> Median household annual income: $68,925
> Households with incomes under $10,000: 62,150 (5.3% of households – 25th highest)
> People in households with incomes under poverty line: 342,670 (12.0% – 25th lowest)
> Population: 2,937,150

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16. Montana
> Median household annual income: $67,631
> Households with incomes under $10,000: 23,231 (5.0% of households – 19th lowest)
> People in households with incomes under poverty line: 133,233 (12.1% – 24th highest)
> Population: 1,122,867

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15. North Carolina
> Median household annual income: $67,481
> Households with incomes under $10,000: 232,212 (5.4% of households – 23rd highest)
> People in households with incomes under poverty line: 1,329,157 (12.8% – 16th highest)
> Population: 10,698,973

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14. Michigan
> Median household annual income: $66,986
> Households with incomes under $10,000: 231,223 (5.7% of households – 14th highest)
> People in households with incomes under poverty line: 1,315,899 (13.4% – 13th highest)
> Population: 10,034,118

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13. Indiana
> Median household annual income: $66,785
> Households with incomes under $10,000: 151,905 (5.6% of households – 18th highest)
> People in households with incomes under poverty line: 834,550 (12.6% – 19th highest)
> Population: 6,833,037

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12. Ohio
> Median household annual income: $65,720
> Households with incomes under $10,000: 286,511 (5.9% of households – 11th highest)
> People in households with incomes under poverty line: 1,540,922 (13.4% – 12th highest)
> Population: 11,756,058

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11. Tennessee
> Median household annual income: $65,254
> Households with incomes under $10,000: 154,793 (5.4% of households – 21st highest)
> People in households with incomes under poverty line: 915,683 (13.3% – 14th highest)
> Population: 7,051,339

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10. Missouri
> Median household annual income: $64,811
> Households with incomes under $10,000: 144,208 (5.7% of households – 13th highest)
> People in households with incomes under poverty line: 791,030 (13.2% – 15th highest)
> Population: 6,177,957

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9. South Carolina
> Median household annual income: $64,115
> Households with incomes under $10,000: 130,922 (6.1% of households – 10th highest)
> People in households with incomes under poverty line: 717,348 (14.0% – 11th highest)
> Population: 5,282,634

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8. New Mexico
> Median household annual income: $59,726
> Households with incomes under $10,000: 62,451 (7.4% of households – 4th highest)
> People in households with incomes under poverty line: 364,725 (17.6% – 4th highest)
> Population: 2,113,344

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7. Alabama
> Median household annual income: $59,674
> Households with incomes under $10,000: 152,705 (7.6% of households – 3rd highest)
> People in households with incomes under poverty line: 800,395 (16.2% – 7th highest)
> Population: 5,074,296

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6. Oklahoma
> Median household annual income: $59,673
> Households with incomes under $10,000: 100,950 (6.4% of households – 9th highest)
> People in households with incomes under poverty line: 610,254 (15.7% – 8th highest)
> Population: 4,019,800

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5. Kentucky
> Median household annual income: $59,341
> Households with incomes under $10,000: 123,697 (6.8% of households – 8th highest)
> People in households with incomes under poverty line: 722,865 (16.5% – 6th highest)
> Population: 4,512,310

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4. Arkansas
> Median household annual income: $55,432
> Households with incomes under $10,000: 88,467 (7.3% of households – 5th highest)
> People in households with incomes under poverty line: 496,311 (16.8% – 5th highest)
> Population: 3,045,637

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3. Louisiana
> Median household annual income: $55,416
> Households with incomes under $10,000: 143,940 (7.9% of households – 2nd highest)
> People in households with incomes under poverty line: 829,565 (18.6% – 2nd highest)
> Population: 4,590,241

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2. West Virginia
> Median household annual income: $54,329
> Households with incomes under $10,000: 52,185 (7.1% of households – 6th highest)
> People in households with incomes under poverty line: 308,825 (17.9% – 3rd highest)
> Population: 1,775,156

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1. Mississippi
> Median household annual income: $52,719
> Households with incomes under $10,000: 93,168 (8.1% of households – the highest)
> People in households with incomes under poverty line: 544,104 (19.1% – the highest)
> Population: 2,940,057

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