Poorest State in America Revealed by the U.S. Census Bureau

    September 26, 2012
    Sean Patterson
    Comments are off for this post.

The U.S. Census Bureau recently released estimates from its 2011 American Community Survey showing that Mississippi is the poorest state in the U.S., with a median household income of only $36,919. Last month it was revealed by the U.S. Centers for Disease Control that Mississippi is also the fattest state in the U.S.

West Virginia and Arkansas round out the top 3 poorest states, with $38,482 and $38,758 median household incomes respectively.

On the other end of the spectrum, the survey shows that Maryland has the highest median household income at $70,004. Alaska and New Jersey come next, with $67,825 and $67,458 medians respectively.

Overall, the the median for the U.S. is estimated at $50,502, down from before 2008. In fact, no state in the U.S. except for Vermont saw an increase in median household income last year. The median declined in 18 states, including Ohio and Nevada.

A correlation with these medians is found in the poverty statistics, which the American Community Survey also tracks. Mississippi, of course, has the highest poverty rate with 22.6% if its households living below the poverty line. New Hampshire has the lowest poverty rate, at 8,8%.

Health insurance rates among young adults are the third statistic released recently by the Census Bureau. The uninsured rate of young adults aged 19 to 25 actually increased to 71.8% in 2011, up from 68.3% in 2009. However, the rate for those age 26 to 29 declined from 71.1% in 2009 to 70.3% in 2011. Part of the reason for these seemingly conflicting statistics could be the implementation of the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act (“Obamacare”) in 2010, which allows young adult dependents to remain on their parents’ health insurance plan until they are 26.

“The American Community Survey provides reliable, local statistics about our nation’s people, housing and economy that are indispensable to anyone who has to make decisions about the future,” said Census Bureau Acting Director Thomas Mesenbourg.

  • Tee

    Hm, Red states/GOP and Bible belt! I guess this is the wish of the far rights. What is worst: Blame Obama.

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  • 2DPointAtlanta

    Not hard to guess…especially given Mississippi’s history.
    It’s a combination of the best and the worst that America has to offer.
    One could see uncommon beauty and charms in this state to which no other can compare. On the other hand, you can also experience the shock of poverty and racism that was believed to have been banished many decades ago.

  • Rob

    So if they can be on their parents’ insurance until age 26 then they shouldn’t show up as uninsured right? Those between 19 & 25 that don’t have insurnace are unemployed and don’t get insurance, live with parents who don’t have insurance or are choosing not to get insurance. Otherwise, they could be covered by their parents’ insurance. At 26 they would have to get their own insurance either by paying individually or through their employer.

    • Sean

      I believe there are some circumstances, such as marriage, that also would prevent people in that age range from receiving benefits under their parents’ health plans.

  • gigi

    Go back towards slavery and you will see how the state became rich to poor.

    • David

      So did the British Empire and every state in the United States at that time because of the direct or indirect flows of wealth created by slavery. Slavery goes back to Greek times and possibly before then, so don’t lay it all on Mississippi’s doorstep. I do not condone slavery, I condemn it. There were many reasons why Mississippi became poor when it was rich before the Civil War, and they have nothing to do with the Civil War, although that certainly caused great destruction in the state.

  • rlk

    Being borned and reared in Louisiana during the 50’s and 60’s if Mississippi is worse than Louisiana I really feel sorry for them. Hell I didn’t even have electric or good drinking water until 1956. I was able to graduate high school and my brother help get me job here in East Texas. Other than 2 years in the Army that where I’ve been ever since and now I’m retired. Now Louisiana has all that gambling money and they still not doing too well.

  • Bee

    I live in Mississippi and yes pay isn’t what it should be compared to other states.And as far as racism goes,you can find it anywhere you look if you look not just here.There are good people and bad everywhere. That does not mean we are all racist in Mississippi,far from it! Part of the problem to me is elected officials not all but most.

    • David

      Yes, elected officials with backward social, political, and economic agendas that do not serve the broad interests of the voting electorate.

  • Phil Bateman

    Mississippi: Proud to be fat, dumb and broke.

    • David

      No, we are not.

  • David

    I also live in Mississippi and as a matter of fact in the state’s capital city, Jackson. It is very difficult to live where minority groups out-number the majority. In Jackson, it is 70% black to 30% white. The state has 70% white to 30% black. I have been treated to about five racial incidents since I moved here in 1999. Some young blacks carry a chip on their shoulders and some older blacks do not discourage them. This is not to say that all blacks or whites in the state are like this, most live in peaceful harmony, even though they had a violent past history. This state’s citizens are also always either at the top or near the top in being generous to others and I believe this is because they know what it is like to feel hunger or ask for help.

    Except for housing, prices are extremely low in Mississippi and even for housing you can buy a nice house (3 bedroom, etc.) for less than $100K. Taxes are high in the capital city, but anywhere outside the city they are low. There are many historical sites to visit, beaches are wonderful, huge convention centers are here, Broadway shows come here, casinos are in some parts of the state, camping, boating, fishing, hunting, and the state has a fine community college, university, university medical school & hospital, and regional mental health system.

    As far as the comment about Obama goes, Obama only lost the state last time by 500,000 votes. Mississippi only has 6 electoral votes, and while it is tied with Wyoming as the most conservative state, this time I think it will become bluer still. You never know, I might even be surprised and the state go entirely blue (for Obama).