Blog Posts > New Census Data: Poverty Rate Declines, Incomes Stay Flat in 2018
September 26, 2019

New Census Data: Poverty Rate Declines, Incomes Stay Flat in 2018

For Immediate Release

Contact Sean O’Leary – (304) 400-8899

Charleston, WV – While West Virginia’s poverty rate declined in 2018 it remains among the highest in the nation, according to Census data released today.

An estimated 312,118 West Virginians lived in poverty in 2018, for a total poverty rate of 17.8 percent. While poverty had increased in 2017 by over a percentage point, it dropped back down by about the same amount in 2018, bringing the poverty rate back to its 2016 level. West Virginia’s poverty rate remains above its pre-recession levels and, in 2018, was 4.7 percentage points higher than the national average, the 4th-highest rate among the 50 states (the same ranking as 2017).

In addition to poverty data, the Census Bureau also released data on median household income. Median household income measures the income of the typical household – or the household in the middle of the income distribution – and serves as a good indicator for how the middle class is faring.

West Virginia’s median household income was an estimated $44,097 in 2018, $17,840 below the national average. West Virginia’s median household income did not increase in the past year, and, adjusting for inflation, has not increased at all since 2007. In 2018, West Virginia had the lowest median household income among the 50 states.

“Once again, West Virginia has one of the highest poverty rates in the country, while incomes for the typical West Virginia family are not growing,” said Sean O’Leary, Senior Policy Analyst with the West Virginia Center on Budget and Policy. “Sporadic growth in pockets of the state are no substitute for a broadly shared prosperity that truly benefits all West Virginians.”

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