Special Report

The County With the Highest Poverty Rate in Every State

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President Lyndon Johnson declared war on poverty 60 years ago. Still, poverty remains endemic in the United States. The Department of Health and Human Services set the poverty line at an annual income of $14,580 for an individual and $24,860 for a family of three in 2023, and according to the U.S. Census Bureau, nearly 41 million Americans live below those thresholds.

The most direct impacts of poverty on families and individuals are financial. According to the most recent Household Pulse Survey from the USCB, nearly 88% of Americans in households earning less than $25,000 annually report at least some difficulty paying for usual expenses, compared to 63% of all Americans. Americans in the lowest income bracket were also more likely to be behind on rent or mortgage payments and nearly three times as likely as the typical American to regularly not have enough to eat.

These circumstances contribute to higher rates of mental health problems. Americans in households earning less than $25,000 a year are more likely than any other income group to report anxiety or uncontrollable worry nearly every day.

As of 2022, 12.6% of the U.S. population lived below the poverty line, but in many parts of the country, the share of the population suffering through poverty is far higher than average. Using five-year estimates from the USCB’s 2022 American Community Survey, 24/7 Wall St. identified the county or county equivalent in each state with the highest poverty rate.

In 48 of the 50 states, there is at least one county or county equivalent with a higher poverty rate than the national average. In many of the counties on this list, over a third of the population lives below the poverty line, and in one, over half do. (Here is a look at the American cities hit hardest by extreme poverty.)

Widespread financial hardship in these areas is partially attributable to a lack of economic opportunity. In the vast majority of these counties, the average unemployment rate was higher than the comparable average across the state in the last five years.

Incomes and job security tend to rise with educational attainment. According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, the typical worker with a bachelor’s degree earns nearly 68% more than those with no more than a high school diploma. Additionally, workers with only a high school education are nearly twice as likely to be unemployed as workers with college education. In 41 of the 50 counties on this list, the share of adults with a bachelor’s degree or higher is below statewide bachelor’s degree attainment rate. (Here is a look at the 25 lowest paying college majors.)

Alabama: Greene County

  • Poverty rate: 32.9% (Alabama: 15.7%)
  • Median household income: $32,796 (Alabama: $59,609)
  • Adults with a bachelor’s degree or higher: 16.7% (Alabama: 27.2%)
  • 2022 unemployment rate: 4.4% (Alabama: 2.6%)
  • Total population: 7,706
  • No. of counties considered in ranking: 67

Alaska: Kusilvak Census Area

  • Poverty rate: 34.3% (Alaska: 10.5%)
  • Median household income: $42,663 (Alaska: $86,370)
  • Adults with a bachelor’s degree or higher: 4.6% (Alaska: 30.7%)
  • 2022 unemployment rate: 12.9% (Alaska: 4.0%)
  • Total population: 8,372
  • No. of boroughs considered in ranking: 27

Arizona: Apache County

  • Poverty rate: 32.5% (Arizona: 13.1%)
  • Median household income: $37,483 (Arizona: $72,581)
  • Adults with a bachelor’s degree or higher: 13.8% (Arizona: 31.8%)
  • 2022 unemployment rate: 7.7% (Arizona: 3.8%)
  • Total population: 66,054
  • No. of counties considered in ranking: 15

Arkansas: Phillips County

  • Poverty rate: 30.5% (Arkansas: 16.2%)
  • Median household income: $37,458 (Arkansas: $56,335)
  • Adults with a bachelor’s degree or higher: 15.2% (Arkansas: 24.7%)
  • 2022 unemployment rate: 6.3% (Arkansas: 3.3%)
  • Total population: 16,373
  • No. of counties considered in ranking: 75

California: Trinity County

  • Poverty rate: 22.0% (California: 12.1%)
  • Median household income: $47,317 (California: $91,905)
  • Adults with a bachelor’s degree or higher: 19.2% (California: 35.9%)
  • 2022 unemployment rate: 4.6% (California: 4.2%)
  • Total population: 15,889
  • No. of counties considered in ranking: 58

Colorado: Bent County

  • Poverty rate: 27.1% (Colorado: 9.6%)
  • Median household income: $45,776 (Colorado: $87,598)
  • Adults with a bachelor’s degree or higher: 15.5% (Colorado: 43.7%)
  • 2022 unemployment rate: 3.6% (Colorado: 3.0%)
  • Total population: 5,561
  • No. of counties considered in ranking: 61

Connecticut: Greater Bridgeport Planning Region

  • Poverty rate: 13.3% (Connecticut: 10.1%)
  • Median household income: $83,147 (Connecticut: $90,213)
  • Adults with a bachelor’s degree or higher: 41.7% (Connecticut: 41.4%)
  • 2022 unemployment rate: N/A (Connecticut: 4.2%)
  • Total population: 326,381
  • No. of county equivalents considered in ranking: 9

Delaware: Kent County

  • Poverty rate: 12.3% (Delaware: 11.1%)
  • Median household income: $69,278 (Delaware: $79,325)
  • Adults with a bachelor’s degree or higher: 26.3% (Delaware: 34.5%)
  • 2022 unemployment rate: 5.2% (Delaware: 4.5%)
  • Total population: 182,400
  • No. of counties considered in ranking: 3

Florida: Hardee County

  • Poverty rate: 28.5% (Florida: 12.9%)
  • Median household income: $44,665 (Florida: $67,917)
  • Adults with a bachelor’s degree or higher: 10.4% (Florida: 32.3%)
  • 2022 unemployment rate: 3.9% (Florida: 2.9%)
  • Total population: 25,528
  • No. of counties considered in ranking: 67

Georgia: Clinch County

  • Poverty rate: 32.5% (Georgia: 13.5%)
  • Median household income: $53,350 (Georgia: $71,355)
  • Adults with a bachelor’s degree or higher: 12.9% (Georgia: 33.6%)
  • 2022 unemployment rate: 2.8% (Georgia: 3.0%)
  • Total population: 6,713
  • No. of counties considered in ranking: 159

Hawaii: Hawaii County

  • Poverty rate: 14.1% (Hawaii: 9.6%)
  • Median household income: $74,238 (Hawaii: $94,814)
  • Adults with a bachelor’s degree or higher: 30.7% (Hawaii: 34.7%)
  • 2022 unemployment rate: 3.6% (Hawaii: 3.5%)
  • Total population: 202,163
  • No. of counties considered in ranking: 4

Idaho: Madison County

  • Poverty rate: 30.1% (Idaho: 11.0%)
  • Median household income: $53,025 (Idaho: $70,214)
  • Adults with a bachelor’s degree or higher: 39.1% (Idaho: 30.2%)
  • 2022 unemployment rate: 1.8% (Idaho: 2.7%)
  • Total population: 52,487
  • No. of counties considered in ranking: 43

Illinois: Pulaski County

  • Poverty rate: 25.0% (Illinois: 11.8%)
  • Median household income: $41,038 (Illinois: $78,433)
  • Adults with a bachelor’s degree or higher: 14.5% (Illinois: 36.7%)
  • 2022 unemployment rate: 6.9% (Illinois: 4.6%)
  • Total population: 5,177
  • No. of counties considered in ranking: 102

Indiana: Crawford County

  • Poverty rate: 21.9% (Indiana: 12.3%)
  • Median household income: $46,706 (Indiana: $67,173)
  • Adults with a bachelor’s degree or higher: 12.2% (Indiana: 28.2%)
  • 2022 unemployment rate: 3.5% (Indiana: 3.0%)
  • Total population: 10,511
  • No. of counties considered in ranking: 92

Iowa: Story County

  • Poverty rate: 19.6% (Iowa: 11.1%)
  • Median household income: $66,197 (Iowa: $70,571)
  • Adults with a bachelor’s degree or higher: 52.5% (Iowa: 30.3%)
  • 2022 unemployment rate: 2.0% (Iowa: 2.7%)
  • Total population: 98,573
  • No. of counties considered in ranking: 99

Kansas: Riley County

  • Poverty rate: 22.7% (Kansas: 11.6%)
  • Median household income: $56,327 (Kansas: $69,747)
  • Adults with a bachelor’s degree or higher: 47.8% (Kansas: 34.7%)
  • 2022 unemployment rate: 2.7% (Kansas: 2.7%)
  • Total population: 72,105
  • No. of counties considered in ranking: 105

Kentucky: Wolfe County

  • Poverty rate: 36.8% (Kentucky: 16.1%)
  • Median household income: $28,666 (Kentucky: $60,183)
  • Adults with a bachelor’s degree or higher: 7.0% (Kentucky: 26.5%)
  • 2022 unemployment rate: 5.6% (Kentucky: 3.9%)
  • Total population: 6,573
  • No. of counties considered in ranking: 120

Louisiana: East Carroll Parish

  • Poverty rate: 40.3% (Louisiana: 18.7%)
  • Median household income: $30,856 (Louisiana: $57,852)
  • Adults with a bachelor’s degree or higher: 11.8% (Louisiana: 26.1%)
  • 2022 unemployment rate: 7.9% (Louisiana: 3.7%)
  • Total population: 7,371
  • No. of parishes considered in ranking: 64

Maine: Washington County

  • Poverty rate: 17.5% (Maine: 10.9%)
  • Median household income: $51,669 (Maine: $68,251)
  • Adults with a bachelor’s degree or higher: 24.6% (Maine: 34.1%)
  • 2022 unemployment rate: 4.3% (Maine: 3.0%)
  • Total population: 31,096
  • No. of counties considered in ranking: 16

Maryland: Somerset County

  • Poverty rate: 19.8% (Maryland: 9.3%)
  • Median household income: $52,149 (Maryland: $98,461)
  • Adults with a bachelor’s degree or higher: 16.8% (Maryland: 42.2%)
  • 2022 unemployment rate: 4.8% (Maryland: 3.2%)
  • Total population: 24,672
  • No. of counties considered in ranking: 24

Massachusetts: Suffolk County

  • Poverty rate: 17.0% (Massachusetts: 9.9%)
  • Median household income: $87,669 (Massachusetts: $96,505)
  • Adults with a bachelor’s degree or higher: 49.2% (Massachusetts: 45.9%)
  • 2022 unemployment rate: 3.6% (Massachusetts: 3.8%)
  • Total population: 785,443
  • No. of counties considered in ranking: 14

Michigan: Isabella County

  • Poverty rate: 23.6% (Michigan: 13.1%)
  • Median household income: $52,638 (Michigan: $68,505)
  • Adults with a bachelor’s degree or higher: 30.7% (Michigan: 31.1%)
  • 2022 unemployment rate: 4.9% (Michigan: 4.2%)
  • Total population: 64,938
  • No. of counties considered in ranking: 83

Minnesota: Mahnomen County

  • Poverty rate: 20.6% (Minnesota: 9.3%)
  • Median household income: $52,739 (Minnesota: $84,313)
  • Adults with a bachelor’s degree or higher: 13.7% (Minnesota: 38.2%)
  • 2022 unemployment rate: 4.9% (Minnesota: 2.7%)
  • Total population: 5,389
  • No. of counties considered in ranking: 87

Mississippi: Coahoma County

  • Poverty rate: 37.0% (Mississippi: 19.2%)
  • Median household income: $36,075 (Mississippi: $52,985)
  • Adults with a bachelor’s degree or higher: 20.0% (Mississippi: 23.9%)
  • 2022 unemployment rate: 5.6% (Mississippi: 3.9%)
  • Total population: 21,264
  • No. of counties considered in ranking: 82

Missouri: Pemiscot County

  • Poverty rate: 29.3% (Missouri: 12.8%)
  • Median household income: $37,426 (Missouri: $65,920)
  • Adults with a bachelor’s degree or higher: 11.6% (Missouri: 31.2%)
  • 2022 unemployment rate: 3.8% (Missouri: 2.5%)
  • Total population: 15,555
  • No. of counties considered in ranking: 115

Montana: Roosevelt County

  • Poverty rate: 31.5% (Montana: 12.4%)
  • Median household income: $51,038 (Montana: $66,341)
  • Adults with a bachelor’s degree or higher: 19.8% (Montana: 34.0%)
  • 2022 unemployment rate: 3.5% (Montana: 2.6%)
  • Total population: 10,799
  • No. of counties considered in ranking: 52

Nebraska: Thurston County

  • Poverty rate: 19.0% (Nebraska: 10.4%)
  • Median household income: $63,459 (Nebraska: $71,722)
  • Adults with a bachelor’s degree or higher: 19.8% (Nebraska: 33.5%)
  • 2022 unemployment rate: 3.4% (Nebraska: 2.3%)
  • Total population: 6,716
  • No. of counties considered in ranking: 81

Nevada: Mineral County

  • Poverty rate: 18.5% (Nevada: 12.7%)
  • Median household income: $46,625 (Nevada: $71,646)
  • Adults with a bachelor’s degree or higher: 14.6% (Nevada: 26.5%)
  • 2022 unemployment rate: 4.1% (Nevada: 5.4%)
  • Total population: 4,568
  • No. of counties considered in ranking: 16

New Hampshire: Sullivan County

  • Poverty rate: 11.7% (New Hampshire: 7.3%)
  • Median household income: $70,788 (New Hampshire: $90,845)
  • Adults with a bachelor’s degree or higher: 30.1% (New Hampshire: 39.0%)
  • 2022 unemployment rate: 2.4% (New Hampshire: 2.5%)
  • Total population: 43,356
  • No. of counties considered in ranking: 10

New Jersey: Cumberland County

  • Poverty rate: 15.5% (New Jersey: 9.7%)
  • Median household income: $62,310 (New Jersey: $97,126)
  • Adults with a bachelor’s degree or higher: 17.3% (New Jersey: 42.3%)
  • 2022 unemployment rate: 5.1% (New Jersey: 3.7%)
  • Total population: 153,588
  • No. of counties considered in ranking: 21

New Mexico: McKinley County

  • Poverty rate: 33.6% (New Mexico: 18.3%)
  • Median household income: $44,029 (New Mexico: $58,722)
  • Adults with a bachelor’s degree or higher: 12.4% (New Mexico: 29.1%)
  • 2022 unemployment rate: 5.7% (New Mexico: 4.0%)
  • Total population: 72,073
  • No. of counties considered in ranking: 32

New York: Bronx County

  • Poverty rate: 26.9% (New York: 13.6%)
  • Median household income: $47,036 (New York: $81,386)
  • Adults with a bachelor’s degree or higher: 21.2% (New York: 38.8%)
  • 2022 unemployment rate: 7.8% (New York: 4.3%)
  • Total population: 1,443,229
  • No. of counties considered in ranking: 62

North Carolina: Hyde County

  • Poverty rate: 29.9% (North Carolina: 13.3%)
  • Median household income: $43,724 (North Carolina: $66,186)
  • Adults with a bachelor’s degree or higher: 14.2% (North Carolina: 33.9%)
  • 2022 unemployment rate: 5.6% (North Carolina: 3.7%)
  • Total population: 4,636
  • No. of counties considered in ranking: 100

North Dakota: Sioux County

  • Poverty rate: 39.7% (North Dakota: 10.8%)
  • Median household income: $41,201 (North Dakota: $73,959)
  • Adults with a bachelor’s degree or higher: 11.5% (North Dakota: 31.4%)
  • 2022 unemployment rate: 2.6% (North Dakota: 2.1%)
  • Total population: 3,896
  • No. of counties considered in ranking: 51

Ohio: Athens County

  • Poverty rate: 24.4% (Ohio: 13.3%)
  • Median household income: $48,750 (Ohio: $66,990)
  • Adults with a bachelor’s degree or higher: 34.3% (Ohio: 30.4%)
  • 2022 unemployment rate: 4.8% (Ohio: 4.0%)
  • Total population: 61,276
  • No. of counties considered in ranking: 88

Oklahoma: Okfuskee County

  • Poverty rate: 26.7% (Oklahoma: 15.2%)
  • Median household income: $45,429 (Oklahoma: $61,364)
  • Adults with a bachelor’s degree or higher: 12.5% (Oklahoma: 27.3%)
  • 2022 unemployment rate: 3.9% (Oklahoma: 3.0%)
  • Total population: 11,349
  • No. of counties considered in ranking: 77

Oregon: Lake County

  • Poverty rate: 19.6% (Oregon: 11.9%)
  • Median household income: $54,663 (Oregon: $76,632)
  • Adults with a bachelor’s degree or higher: 19.8% (Oregon: 35.5%)
  • 2022 unemployment rate: 5.4% (Oregon: 4.2%)
  • Total population: 8,201
  • No. of counties considered in ranking: 36

Pennsylvania: Philadelphia County

  • Poverty rate: 22.7% (Pennsylvania: 11.8%)
  • Median household income: $57,537 (Pennsylvania: $73,170)
  • Adults with a bachelor’s degree or higher: 33.6% (Pennsylvania: 33.8%)
  • 2022 unemployment rate: 5.4% (Pennsylvania: 4.4%)
  • Total population: 1,593,208
  • No. of counties considered in ranking: 67

Rhode Island: Providence County

  • Poverty rate: 13.6% (Rhode Island: 11.2%)
  • Median household income: $72,579 (Rhode Island: $81,370)
  • Adults with a bachelor’s degree or higher: 31.2% (Rhode Island: 36.3%)
  • 2022 unemployment rate: 3.5% (Rhode Island: 3.2%)
  • Total population: 657,984
  • No. of counties considered in ranking: 5

South Carolina: Dillon County

  • Poverty rate: 31.6% (South Carolina: 14.4%)
  • Median household income: $42,454 (South Carolina: $63,623)
  • Adults with a bachelor’s degree or higher: 11.9% (South Carolina: 30.6%)
  • 2022 unemployment rate: 4.6% (South Carolina: 3.2%)
  • Total population: 28,255
  • No. of counties considered in ranking: 46

South Dakota: Oglala Lakota County

  • Poverty rate: 55.8% (South Dakota: 12.3%)
  • Median household income: $32,279 (South Dakota: $69,457)
  • Adults with a bachelor’s degree or higher: 8.1% (South Dakota: 30.4%)
  • 2022 unemployment rate: 4.9% (South Dakota: 2.1%)
  • Total population: 13,695
  • No. of counties considered in ranking: 66

Tennessee: Hancock County

  • Poverty rate: 32.3% (Tennessee: 14.0%)
  • Median household income: $31,809 (Tennessee: $64,035)
  • Adults with a bachelor’s degree or higher: 9.9% (Tennessee: 29.7%)
  • 2022 unemployment rate: 4.2% (Tennessee: 3.4%)
  • Total population: 6,726
  • No. of counties considered in ranking: 95

Texas: Dimmit County

  • Poverty rate: 43.6% (Texas: 13.9%)
  • Median household income: $27,374 (Texas: $73,035)
  • Adults with a bachelor’s degree or higher: 14.6% (Texas: 32.3%)
  • 2022 unemployment rate: 3.8% (Texas: 3.9%)
  • Total population: 8,672
  • No. of counties considered in ranking: 246

Utah: Piute County

  • Poverty rate: 20.9% (Utah: 8.5%)
  • Median household income: $33,359 (Utah: $86,833)
  • Adults with a bachelor’s degree or higher: 19.6% (Utah: 36.1%)
  • 2022 unemployment rate: 4.1% (Utah: 2.3%)
  • Total population: 1,764
  • No. of counties considered in ranking: 28

Vermont: Essex County

  • Poverty rate: 13.2% (Vermont: 10.4%)
  • Median household income: $55,247 (Vermont: $74,014)
  • Adults with a bachelor’s degree or higher: 20.2% (Vermont: 41.7%)
  • 2022 unemployment rate: 4.0% (Vermont: 2.6%)
  • Total population: 5,976
  • No. of counties considered in ranking: 14

Virginia: Radford (independent city)

  • Poverty rate: 33.8% (Virginia: 10.0%)
  • Median household income: $51,039 (Virginia: $87,249)
  • Adults with a bachelor’s degree or higher: 44.8% (Virginia: 41.0%)
  • 2022 unemployment rate: 3.5% (Virginia: 2.9%)
  • Total population: 16,379
  • No. of counties and county equivalents considered in ranking: 133

Washington: Whitman County

  • Poverty rate: 23.9% (Washington: 9.9%)
  • Median household income: $49,345 (Washington: $90,325)
  • Adults with a bachelor’s degree or higher: 50.9% (Washington: 38.0%)
  • 2022 unemployment rate: 4.7% (Washington: 4.2%)
  • Total population: 47,141
  • No. of counties considered in ranking: 39

West Virginia: Calhoun County

  • Poverty rate: 33.7% (West Virginia: 16.8%)
  • Median household income: $39,031 (West Virginia: $55,217)
  • Adults with a bachelor’s degree or higher: 8.3% (West Virginia: 22.7%)
  • 2022 unemployment rate: 8.2% (West Virginia: 3.9%)
  • Total population: 6,279
  • No. of counties considered in ranking: 55

Wisconsin: Menominee County

  • Poverty rate: 20.0% (Wisconsin: 10.7%)
  • Median household income: $62,194 (Wisconsin: $72,458)
  • Adults with a bachelor’s degree or higher: 18.9% (Wisconsin: 32.0%)
  • 2022 unemployment rate: 5.5% (Wisconsin: 2.9%)
  • Total population: 4,279
  • No. of counties considered in ranking: 72

Wyoming: Albany County

  • Poverty rate: 23.0% (Wyoming: 10.7%)
  • Median household income: $55,887 (Wyoming: $72,495)
  • Adults with a bachelor’s degree or higher: 55.9% (Wyoming: 29.0%)
  • 2022 unemployment rate: 3.1% (Wyoming: 3.6%)
  • Total population: 37,525
  • No. of counties considered in ranking: 23

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