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California
4,733,036
Texas
4,122,538
Florida
2,805,433
New York
2,688,587
Ohio
1,536,524
Pennsylvania
1,519,032
Illinois
1,498,523
Georgia
1,476,348
North Carolina
1,378,621
Michigan
1,286,329
New Jersey
930,602
Tennessee
927,587
Arizona
908,961
Louisiana
883,236
Virginia
854,145
Indiana
803,021
Alabama
794,326
Missouri
761,311
Washington
754,315
South Carolina
741,652
Kentucky
721,878
Massachusetts
700,138
Wisconsin
621,125
Maryland
618,372
Oklahoma
606,782
Mississippi
554,152
Colorado
553,272
Minnesota
519,731
Oregon
507,829
Arkansas
480,153
Nevada
437,385
New Mexico
382,798
Connecticut
354,166
Iowa
344,696
Kansas
333,518
West Virginia
291,930
Utah
281,673
Nebraska
205,852
Idaho
205,702
Hawaii
156,735
Maine
154,117
Montana
128,123
Rhode Island
120,055
Delaware
113,450
South Dakota
106,548
District of Columbia
105,007
New Hampshire
97,403
North Dakota
83,350
Alaska
75,165
Wyoming
64,224
Vermont
63,720

Poverty Rate by State 2024

Poverty Rate by State 2024

Poverty is defined as not having enough income to meet basic needs. This goes beyond just not having enough money for a new vehicle, smartphone, or to take a vacation. Instead, people who live in poverty struggle to keep a roof over their heads, put food on the table, or even purchase basic items like clothing, shoes, and hygiene items.

Poverty may occur for a variety of reasons, including:

  • The inability of households to own property
  • Limited or no access to education, leading to fewer job opportunities
  • Inherited poverty
  • The systematic exclusion of racial and ethnic minorities, those with disabilities, tribes, and women from accessing certain institutions (such as education) and participating in fair economic enterprise.

The fight to reduce poverty is an ongoing battle that cannot happen overnight. Some solutions proposed throughout the years include:

  • Increasing employment.
  • Raising wages (mainly, the U.S. minimum wage, which is $7.25/hour, coming out to just $15,080 for a full-time job.
  • Reform the prison system.
  • Strengthen existing unemployment insurance, food stamps (SNAP), and other services.
  • Invest in high-quality education for all.
  • Tackle inequities in the education system and higher education institutions.

Poverty Rate by U.S. State

Fortunately, the U.S. poverty rate is declining; however, poverty is still a significant problem across the country. The national poverty rate in 2017 was 13.4% after falling for the fifth year in a row and was 12.3% in 2019. Numbers in this article are provided by the U.S. Census Bureau, which uses data from the American Community Survey.

The highest poverty rate in the country is in Mississippi, where 18.8% of the population lives in poverty. However, this has improved from 2012, when the state's poverty rate was nearly 25%. Mississippi has the lowest median household income of any state of $44,966. Mississippi's educational attainment levels are among the lowest in the U.S., with about 85.3% of adults graduating high school and 22% of adults having at least a bachelor's degree.

The five states with the highest poverty rates are:

State
Population Below Poverty Level
California4,733,036
Texas4,122,538
Florida2,805,433
New York2,688,587
Ohio1,536,524

On the other hand, New Hampshire's poverty rate is 5.3%, the lowest in the U.S. New Hampshire has the third-highest median household income at $88,235 a year. Additionally, New Hampshire's educational attainment levels are very high, with 93.3% of adults having graduated high school and 37% having at least a bachelor's degree.

The five states with the lowest poverty rates are:

State
Population Below Poverty Level
Vermont63,720
Wyoming64,224
Alaska75,165
North Dakota83,350
New Hampshire97,403

Eighteen other states have poverty rates below 10%: Maryland, Delaware, Massachusetts, Wisconsin, Kansas, Virginia, Rhode Island, Vermont, Oregon, Iowa, Nebraska, Illinois, Idaho, Colorado, Wyoming, North Dakota, Hawaii, and Connecticut.

Poverty Rate by State 2024

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State
Population Below Poverty Level
% Of Population Below Poverty Level
California4,733,03612.3%
Texas4,122,53814.2%
Florida2,805,43313.1%
New York2,688,58713.9%
Ohio1,536,52413.4%
Pennsylvania1,519,03212.1%
Illinois1,498,52312.1%
Georgia1,476,34814%
North Carolina1,378,62113.4%
Michigan1,286,32913.1%
New Jersey930,60210.2%
Tennessee927,58713.6%
Arizona908,96112.8%
Louisiana883,23619.6%
Virginia854,14510.2%
Indiana803,02112.2%
Alabama794,32616.1%
Missouri761,31112.7%
Washington754,3159.9%
South Carolina741,65214.6%
Kentucky721,87816.5%
Massachusetts700,13810.4%
Wisconsin621,12510.8%
Maryland618,37210.3%
Oklahoma606,78215.6%
Mississippi554,15219.4%
Colorado553,2729.7%
Minnesota519,7319.3%
Oregon507,82912.2%
Arkansas480,15316.3%
Nevada437,38514.1%
New Mexico382,79818.4%
Connecticut354,16610.1%
Iowa344,69611.1%
Kansas333,51811.7%
West Virginia291,93016.8%
Utah281,6738.6%
Nebraska205,85210.8%
Idaho205,70211%
Hawaii156,73511.2%
Maine154,11711.5%
Montana128,12311.9%
Rhode Island120,05511.4%
Delaware113,45011.6%
South Dakota106,54812.3%
District of Columbia105,00716.5%
New Hampshire97,4037.2%
North Dakota83,35011.1%
Alaska75,16510.5%
Wyoming64,22411.4%
Vermont63,72010.3%
showing: 51 rows

Sources