Even though the U.S. is a developed economy and a super power, it still has a certain percentage of people that live in poverty. In fact, poverty is a reality across many U.S. states. Some states, however, have relatively more people living in poverty than others. The average poverty rate across the states is 10.5%. The poverty rate in a state is also a good indicator of how rich or poor a state is. Thus, in this article, we have used the poverty percentage to come up with the ten poorest states in the U.S.
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Ten Poorest States In The U.S.
We have used the latest available poverty data from Census reports to come up with the list of the ten poorest states in the U.S. Following are the ten poorest states in the U.S.:
South Carolina (13.8%)
The poverty rate in the state has dropped steadily from 18.9% in 2011 to 13.8% in 2019. South Carolina’s population has increased by 11.3% since 2010. In 2019, its gross state product (GSP) was $213.5 billion, a growth of 3.1% over five years up to 2019. In terms of GSP growth, South Carolina ranks 11th out of all 50 U.S. states.
The poverty rate in the state has dropped significantly from 18.3% in 2014. Tennessee’s current poverty rate is close to the state’s lowest ever since 2000. Population in the state has increased by 7.6% since 2010, and is currently around 6.8 million. Tennessee’s GSP was $330.8 billion in 2019, representing a growth of 2.5% over five years up to 2019.
Oklahoma’s poverty rate has dropped steadily over the past 10 years. The state has a population of almost 4 million, and it has grown by 5.5% in the last decade. Oklahoma also has a high level of child poverty at 21.7%. In 2019, the state’s GSP was $203.3 billion, a growth of 1.4% over five years up to 2019.
This is the lowest poverty rate in the state since 2000. Alabama also has a high child poverty rate at 23.8% (45th in the country). It has a population of 4.9 million, an increase of 2.6% in the last 10 years. Alabama’s GSP was $202.9 billion in 2019, an increase of 1.7% over five years up to 2019. In terms of GSP growth, Alabama ranks 27 out of all 50 U.S. states.
West Virginia (16%)
The poverty rate of 16% is the lowest that the state has seen in the past 20 years. The population in the state has come down by about 3.3% in the past 10 years. West Virginia was once known as “coal country,” but its economy has suffered after the mines were closed down. In 2019, the GSP was $72.2 billion, a growth of 0.6% over five years. West Virginia’s GSP growth ranks 45 out of all 50 U.S. states.
Arkansas has witnessed a significant drop in the poverty rate over the past few years. In 2012, the state’s poverty rate was 19.8%. The child poverty rate in the state is about 24.7%, and it has a low median household income as well. In 2019, Arkansas had a GSP of $119.4 billion, representing a growth of 1.1% over the five years up to 2019.
Kentucky’s poverty rate has dropped in the last decade or so, from 19.4% in 2011. The state has a population of 4,467,673, a growth of 3% over the past decade. It has a GSP of $189.4 billion, a growth of 1.0% over the five years up to 2019. The top three employment sectors in the state are Health care and social assistance; Retail trade; and Professional, scientific, and technical services.
New Mexico (18.2%)
The poverty rate in the state has come down consistently since 2013 from a high of 21.9%. Also, this state is ranked second in terms of child poverty rates. The population in the state has grown by 1.8% in the last decade, and is currently just over two million. It is among the top ten states in terms of energy production. As of 2020, the state ranked third nationally in oil production.
Louisiana’s poverty rate has increased marginally over the past couple of years. In 2018, the poverty rate was 18.6%, down from a peak of 20.4% in 2011. The state is ranked 24th in terms of the percent of national GDP that it produces. Louisiana has nine metropolitan statistical areas that account for about 91% of all state output. The Oil industry accounts for about 24% of state output and supports more than 300,000 jobs.
It is the poorest state in the U.S. on the basis of the poverty level. Mississippi’s overall poverty rate has dropped from its peak of 24.2% in 2012, but it still is the highest in the country. This state also has the highest child poverty rate, as per America’s Health Rankings. Mississippi is also among the states with the lowest median income. In 2019, the state’s GSP was $104.2 billion, representing a growth of 0.8% over the five years up to 2019.