The poorest state in America is Mississippi, data released from the US Census Bureau from 2011 found, with median income there reaching only $36,919.
By comparison, the nation’s richest state, Maryland, had a median income nearly double that of Mississippi, $70,004, 24/7 Wall Street reported.
The analysis found that median income fell or stagnated nearly everywhere between 2010 and 2011. There were 18 states that saw the average income fall and another 31 saw no change. Only Vermont saw the median income increase.
Poverty rates continued to be high, with the percentage of Americans living below the poverty line increasing in 17 states between 2010 and 2011. The poorest states saw poverty rates greater than 20 percent, with Mississippi coming in at a 22.6 percent poverty rate.
Those poorest states were almost exclusively in the South, 24/7 Wall Street noted, with the exception of New Mexico. The richest states were spread across the country.
Mississippi was also the poorest state for 2010, 24/7 Wall Street reported last year. The poverty rate for 2010 reached 21 percent in Mississippi, which at that point had a median income of $36,850.
The problems stretched beyond finances, the report noted:
“Mississippi is among the states with the worst education systems, highest obesity levels, highest unemployment, and lowest rates of health insurance coverage. The state is an economic black hole, and it shows in the way people suffer there. And, as is true with black holes, it is nearly impossible for the residents of Mississippi to escape their difficult financial situations. There is a dearth of federal programs that target specific states and cities based on local economic need.”
In a report released earlier this year from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), Mississippi was also found to be the fattest state in America as well as the poorest state, Yahoo News reported. Experts say these two rankings are likely related: Those with lower incomes have fewer choices for health food, which tends to be more expensive. Cheaper food options are usually processed food that is high in sodium and calories.