31 Poorest States in America, Ranked

Rampant inflation has been eroding real incomes nationwide, but no doubt wealthier Americans have had an easier time handling soaring prices. In some U.S. states, more households have relatively higher incomes, while in other states, more households have relatively low incomes.

In 31 states, including seven of the 10 most populated, median household income is below the national median of $74,755. The share of people living in poverty is above the national rate in 21 of these states. (Here are 25 ways the federal poverty rate doesn’t tell the whole story.)

To identify the poorest states in America, 24/7 Wall St. reviewed the median household annual income in every state from the U.S. Census Bureau’s 2022 American Community Survey. Listed here are the 31 states with median household incomes significantly lower than the national median annual income.

Texas is the most populated state on this list, with a median household income of $72,284 and a poverty rate of 14%. More than 611,000 households in the Lone Star state have annual incomes below $10,000. Florida, the second largest state by population on this list, has lower median household income and a higher percentage of its population living in poverty than Texas.

Median household income serves as a good measure for a state’s overall prosperity. For example, Mississippi has both the highest percentage of the population living in poverty and the lowest median household income. (Also see, the city with the poorest middle class in every state.)

But states with higher median household incomes do not always have the lowest share of poor residents. For example, New York’s median annual household income is $79,557, but the percentage of people living in poverty is 14.3%, slightly higher than Texas and significantly higher than the national poverty rate.

Here are the states with household incomes below the national average.

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