10 States With The Lowest Income

While almost 60% of Americans believe they need to earn $100,000 annually to achieve financial security, the reality in many states paints a starkly different picture.

A significant number of states have median incomes less than half that desired amount, highlighting the economic challenges faced by their residents.

States Where Financial Security Seems Out of Reach

Several states demonstrate particularly low median annual incomes:

  • Kentucky, South Dakota, and New Mexico: These states share a median income of $43,000 a year.
  • South Carolina: Slightly lower at $42,000.
  • Oklahoma, Alabama, and Louisiana: These states have a median income of $41,000.
  • West Virginia and Arkansas: Both states have a median income of only $39,000.
  • Mississippi: Ranked last with the lowest median income at just $37,500 a year.

Regional Disparities and the Cost of Living Factor

The concentration of these low-income states in the southern United States suggests a regional disparity in economic opportunity. While the South is often associated with a lower cost of living, these figures indicate a substantial gap between typical wages and the income level many Americans associate with financial security.

The Impact on Residents

This income disparity poses significant challenges for residents of these states. With earnings far below the desired level for financial security, individuals and families may struggle to meet basic needs, build savings, or plan for the future. This can create a cycle of financial insecurity, limiting opportunities for education, homeownership, and retirement planning.

Potential Contributing Factors

Several factors likely contribute to these lower median incomes, including:

  • Industry mix: A reliance on industries with traditionally lower wages.
  • Education levels: Lower overall population attainment of higher education levels may limit higher-earning job opportunities.
  • Rural vs. urban: A higher concentration of rural areas may have less diverse economic opportunities.

Source: CNBC Make It

Join our newsletter for weekly updates

Get international updates on where to live affordably, how to optimize your taxes, and ways to make your income go further.

Email MailorLite Opt-In

Ready for a change?