Visualizing The Poverty Rate Of Each U.S. State – ValueWalk Premium
Poverty Rate

Visualizing The Poverty Rate Of Each U.S. State

How many people live below the poverty line in states across the country?

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Today’s interactive map comes to us from Overflow Solutions, and it visualizes the percentage of people living in poverty across the United States over the time period of 2008-2017.

Poverty Rate

U.S. Poverty Rates Today

To start, we’ll look at the situation using the most recent data, which was pulled from the American Community Survey (2017) done by the U.S. Census Bureau.

For additional context, it is worth noting that the national poverty level is estimated to sit at 13.4%.

Here are the five states with the highest levels of poverty today:

Rank State Poverty Rate (2017)
#1 Mississippi 19.8%
#2 Louisiana 19.7%
#3 New Mexico 19.7%
#4 West Virginia 19.1%
#5 Kentucky 17.2%

In three southern states, Mississippi, Louisiana, and New Mexico, nearly 20% of the population lives below the poverty line. Two Appalachian states round out the top five: West Virginia (19.1%) and Kentucky (17.2%).

On the flipside, here are the five states with the lowest levels of poverty:

Rank State Poverty Rate (2017)
#47 Connecticut 9.6%
#48 (t) Minnesota 9.5%
#48 (t) Hawaii 9.5%
#50 Maryland 9.3%
#51 New Hampshire 7.7%

New Hampshire (7.7%) has the lowest poverty rate by a long shot – about 1.6% lower than its closest competitor, which is the state of Maryland (9.3%).

Poverty Rates Over Time

While the data from 2017 provides an interesting snapshot, perhaps it is more insightful to look at the trend over time. In other words, are poverty rates increasing or decreasing?

Below is a comparison of state averages in 2008 (pre-crisis), 2012 (recent peak), and 2017:

  2008 2012 2017
Avg. state poverty rate 10.1% 15.2% 13.1%

Since the recent peak in 2012, poverty has decreased by an average of 2.1% per state – in fact, over the 2012-2017 time period, there were only three states that did not see a reduction in poverty levels: Alaska, Delaware, and West Virginia.

Using the longer time window, however, you’ll see that poverty rates have actually risen by 3.0% on average since 2008. Today, not a single state has a lower poverty rate than it did in 2008.

State Poverty Rates (All)

Finally, here’s a full state table that is sortable and searchable, showing poverty levels in 2008, 2012, and 2017, for your convenience:

  2008 2012 2017
Alabama 13.1% 19.0% 16.9%
Alaska 6.1% 10.1% 11.1%
Arizona 12.6% 18.7% 14.9%
Arkansas 14.6% 19.8% 16.4%
California 11.2% 17.0% 13.3%
Colorado 9.0% 13.7% 10.3%
Connecticut 7.0% 10.7% 9.6%
Delaware 7.6% 12.0% 13.6%
District of Columbia 15.4% 18.2% 16.6%
Florida 10.7% 17.1% 14.0%
Georgia 12.4% 19.2% 14.9%
Hawaii 5.8% 11.6% 9.5%
Idaho 9.9% 15.9% 12.8%
Illinois 10.0% 14.7% 12.6%
Indiana 10.6% 15.6% 13.5%
Iowa 7.9% 12.7% 10.7%
Kansas 8.4% 14.0% 11.9%
Kentucky 14.4% 19.4% 17.2%
Louisiana 14.8% 19.9% 19.7%
Maine 8.7% 14.7% 11.1%
Maryland 5.7% 10.3% 9.3%
Massachusetts 7.0% 11.9% 10.5%
Michigan 11.5% 17.4% 14.2%
Minnesota 6.5% 11.4% 9.5%
Mississippi 19.0% 24.2% 19.8%
Missouri 10.6% 16.2% 13.4%
Montana 11.5% 15.5% 12.5%
Nebraska 7.6% 13.0% 10.8%
Nevada 9.0% 16.4% 13.0%
New Hampshire 4.9% 10.0% 7.7%
New Jersey 6.7% 10.8% 10.0%
New Mexico 14.7% 20.8% 19.7%
New York 11.1% 15.9% 14.1%
North Carolina 12.0% 18.0% 14.7%
North Dakota 8.6% 11.2% 10.3%
Ohio 10.5% 16.3% 14.0%
Oklahoma 13.2% 17.2% 15.8%
Oregon 10.5% 17.2% 13.2%
Pennsylvania 9.2% 13.7% 12.5%
Rhode Island 8.3% 13.7% 11.6%
South Carolina 13.0% 18.3% 15.4%
South Dakota 9.7% 13.4% 13.0%
Tennessee 12.9% 17.9% 15.0%
Texas 14.1% 17.9% 14.7%
Utah 6.9% 12.8% 9.7%
Vermont 6.5% 11.8% 11.3%
Virginia 7.9% 11.7% 10.6%
Washington 8.4% 13.5% 11.0%
West Virginia 13.1% 17.8% 19.1%
Wisconsin 7.3% 13.2% 11.3%
Wyoming 6.1% 12.6% 11.3%

Article by Visual Capitalist


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