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Top Ten Poorest States in America 2012

Travelers Today       By    Lena Vazifdar

Updated: Sep 25, 2012 10:22 AM EDT

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Oklahoma is one the nation's poorest states.(Photo : Flickr)

The U.S Census Bureau released data about our nation's poorest states. Data found that income in the U.S. has declined for the second year straight. Median income was at $50,502 which is more than 8 percent lower than the 2007 pre-recession income.

Some states are behind the median income range making them the country's poorest states. Mississippi is has one of the lowest average incomes with a median of $36,919. Maryland's is higher with a median income of $70,004.

24/7 Wall St. identified states with the lowest and highest income in a 2011 Census Bureau American Community Survey.

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Results showed that income fell in 18 states between 2010 and 2011 and remained the same in 31 states. Hawaii remains one of the wealthiest states in the country and Vermont was the only state where median income increased.

Americans living below the poverty line increased in 17 states between 2010 and 2011.  Mississippi has the highest poverty rate in the country with 22.6 percent of its residents while the national rate is 15.9 percent.

The poorest states in the country are almost all in the South except for New Mexico and the wealthiest can be found all across the country.

Many of the states that are on the low end of the income spectrum have weak economies and unemployment but it may not be a key factor. Only two states out of the lowest 10 states with the worst income level had unemployment rates that were below the national average.

According to Brookings Institution fellow Elizabeth Kneebone, "Earnings for middle and lower-wage workers have fallen or stagnated over time," Kneebone said. "So you can have a situation where jobs are being created ... but the types of jobs matter. If those are jobs that pay low wages, even if you're working full time, that might not be enough to lift you above the poverty line."

The Top Ten Poorest States:

10. Oklahoma 
Median household income: $43,225
Population: 3,791,508
Unemployment rate: 6.2%
Pct. below poverty line: 17.2%

9. South Carolina 
Median household income: $42,367
Population: 4,679,230
Unemployment rate: 10.3%
Pct. below poverty line: 18.9%

8. New Mexico
Median household income: 
Unemployment rate: 
Pct. below poverty line: 

7. Louisiana 
Median household income: $41,734
Population: 4,574,836
Unemployment rate: 7.3%
Pct. below poverty line: 20.4%

6. Tennessee
Median household income: 
6,403,353 (
Unemployment rate: 9.2%
Pct. below poverty line: 18.3%

5. Alabama 
Median household income: $41,415
Population: 4,802,740
Unemployment rate: 9%
Pct. below poverty line: 19%

4. Kentucky 
Median household income: $41,141
Population: 4,369,356
Unemployment rate: 9.5%
Pct. below poverty line: 19.1%

3. Arkansas
Median household income: 
Unemployment rate: 
Pct. below poverty line: 
19.5% (4th highest)

2. West Virginia 
Median household income: $38,482
Population: 1,855,364
Unemployment rate: 8%
Pct. below poverty line: 18.6%

1. Mississippi 
Median household income: $36,919
Population: 2,978,512
Unemployment rate: 10.7%
Pct. below poverty line: 22.6%


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