Business, Economics and Jobs

New evidence of shocking wealth gap between US states


Christy Sibley (R) and daughter Rosheka stand in their trailer May 5, 2009 in Fluker, Louisiana. The highly impoverished rural town has very few jobs and no mayor. The recession has hit many Americans hard, but the rural Lower Mississippi Delta region has had some of the nation's worst poverty for decades.


Mario Tama

The US Census Bureau released its 2011 American Community Survey Estimates on Wednesday.

We've gone through it and one thing jumped out to us: the disparity state by state.

Here's what we found: 

Median household income was the most disparate comparison between states. It was highest in the Northeast, but Maryland led all states with an average median income of $70,004 in 2011.

In contrast, median household income in 2011 was lowest in the Southeast US; Mississippi had the lowest average of all states at $36,919. Puerto Rico's rate was by far the lowest of all at $18,660.

The report also highlighted the failed fight against poverty.

Twenty-two States, Puerto Rico, and the District of Columbia all have 16 percent or more of their respective populations living in poverty. And the recovery hasn't been much better; DC, Puerto Rico, and 32 states had no significant change in poverty rate from 2010-2011. In fact, in 17 states the poverty rate increased from 2010-2011. Vermont was the only state in which the poverty rate decreased in from 2010-2011

The Washington, DC metro area had a poverty rate of 8.3 percent — the lowest of all analyzed in the report. The Lakeland-Winter Haven metro area in Florida had the highest: 19.4 percent.

As far as health care goes, Massachusetts had the best coverage rate for young adults; in 2011, 92.1 percent of adults aged 19 to 25 had any kind of health insurance in Massachusetts. New Hampshire had the highest percentage of adults aged 19-25 with private health insurance at 75.8 percent.

The lowest coverage rate was over 30 percent less — 59.3 percent of adults aged 19 to 25 had any kind of health insurance in Texas. Arizona had the lowest percentage of adults aged 19-25 with private health insurance: 51.6 percent.

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