What Is the Poorest County in Your State?

What Is the Poorest County in Your State? Photo (cc) by jronaldlee

County lines can be a dividing factor between the haves and have-nots.

That’s according to a new report from 24/7 Wall St., which ranked the poorest county in each of the 50 states, based on its poverty rate, median annual income, unemployment rate, number of insured residents and other factors.

24/7 Wall St. used data from the Census Bureau’s American Community Survey for the five-year span from 2009 to 2013 to compile its rankings. The results highlight the stark differences between how people live based on where they reside.

“In each state, there was at least one county with a median annual household income more than $7,000 lower than the state’s median income,” 24/7 Wall St. wrote.

Nearly half of the poorest counties are rural. Residents of the poorest counties are often challenged by limited job prospects and low educational attainment, 24/7 Wall St. said.

Here are some counties of note from the 24/7 Wall St. report:

  • McCreary County, Ky. At $20,972, not only does McCreary County have the lowest median annual income in Kentucky, it has the lowest county-level income in the U.S. In addition, between 2009 and 2013, the high school graduation rate was less than 70 percent.
  • Somerset County, Md. Maryland residents enjoyed the highest median annual income in the nation between 2009 and 2013, at $73,538. But households in Somerset County, Maryland’s poorest county, earned just $38,447.
  • Shannon County, S.D. An alarming 53.2 percent of Shannon County residents lived in poverty between 2009 and 2013, the highest county rate in the country. Sixty percent of children lived below the poverty line.

The poorest county in my home state of Montana is rural, with a poverty rate of 22 percent, unemployment rate of nearly 13 percent and a median household income nearly $14,000 less than that of the state overall.

Click here to see the poorest county in each state.

How did things shape up in your home state? Share your comments below or on our Facebook page.

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