The U.S. Census Bureau released on Wednesday new data from its 2016 annual population survey — with largely positive findings. Most notable among the survey’s findings is the significant increase in U.S. median household income between 2014 and 2016 — more than in any two-year period on record.
Not only did incomes go up nationwide, but the share of uninsured Americans and the share of Americans facing serious financial hardship declined. This year’s data release marks the first time in nearly three decades that income, health insurance coverage, and poverty all improved for two consecutive years.
> Median household income: $46,659
> Population: 4,436,974 (25th lowest)
> 2016 Unemployment rate: 5.0% (18th highest)
> Poverty rate: 18.5% (4th highest)
Kentucky’s median annual household income of $46,659 is the sixth lowest in the country, and its poverty rate is fourth highest. Though the U.S. poverty rate fell from 14.7% in 2015 to 14.0% in 2016, Kentucky’s poverty rate remained flat at 18.5%.
Across broad populations, incomes tend to go up with educational attainment. In Kentucky, only 23.4% of adults have at least a bachelor’s degree, a smaller share than in all but four other states, and a considerably smaller share than the 31.3% of adults nationwide.
Despite such improvements on the national scale, income inequality in the U.S. remains high and incomes vary dramatically from state to state. 24/7 Wall St. ranked all 50 states according to the newly released median household income figures. Many of the poorest states in the country are concentrated in the South, while many of the wealthiest are coastal states in the West, mid-Atlantic, and Northeast regions. The typical household in the wealthiest state earns over $37,000 more a year than the typical household in the poorest state.