The poorest county in each state

Most are rural, many are tiny, and a few are huge and urban. The median household income for these 50 counties also varies widely.

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Apr 19, 2012 6:05AM

I really don't like this article. I'm 23, paying for supporting myself and going to college via student loans and grants, and I lived my entire life below the poverty line. My family looked like a white middle class family. These photographs show where supposed poverty stricken people live, but it doesn't show the people. We usually lived in apartments or rented a house where we eventually got evicted anyway. Then we were homeless for a very long time.


My point is, I just didn't think this article showed "poverty" for what it really is. Poverty hasn't kept me or my siblings from graduating high school or making good grades, because that's what our parent(yes, singular, divorced twice) expected of us. Our clothes weren't perfect but they were decent and usually from the Goodwill.


There is a lot to be learned about poverty and what keeps families in that position. Because in my case, and many others' cases I believe, the adults in the family are to blame. Not the government, not the community. Some people just aren't wise with their money, and they fail to teach their kids better. And the schools don't teach enough about money and investing. So the cycle continues.

Apr 19, 2012 8:06AM
It is the fault of both parties. Nothing will get better until those crooks in DC start working for us, and stop trying to line there pockets.
Jul 12, 2012 4:35PM

I just looked at the income of these poverty counties.  Well guess what i have a college education and been working for the past 24 year and have never made $40K a year.  Yet i was able to raise my son without child support or any kind of assistance.  Buy a house when my son was 6 (he is now 24). Own my cars.  I paid my own way in life and i am just tired of hearing how poor everyone is.  You are only poor if you want to be.  There is a difference between needs and wants.  I worked hard, bought the worst house on the block, now it is one of the best and most beautiful house in the neighborhood inside and out.  It is all about how hard you want to work.  There is work out there, you just have to look and be willing to work.  When my roof leaked for 3 years i did not cry that i needed a new roof.  I saved my money bought what i needed and after work I shingled my roof, never leaked again.  24 years ago everyone told me that a child of a single mom with amount to nothing.  Well my son is very successfull, makes a 6 digit income and works hard for what he wants and needed, and his wife also makes 6 digit income and they work hard together.  He has always told me that, watching me work hard to get what i needed is what has made him work so hard.  We may have not had money but we were not poor. 

Apr 19, 2012 8:45AM
Poverty in America! The United States government has caused this major crisis of poverty. The United States of America can support the whole world, but it can't take care of its own people. The government give away billions of our hard earned tax dollars every year to third world nations who hate our guts, and these third world nations uses these billions of dollars to kill americans.

We elect people who we believe will stand up and fight for our rights, but once elected into office these elected officials completely forget about the american people. If people don't start sticking up and start fighting for their rights, then the people can't blame anyone but themselves. 

Hell, you don't stand a chance running for a politicial office unless you are worth millions of dollars. What the hell does this tell you. WAKE UP PEOPLE.... 
Apr 19, 2012 8:34AM
before retiring both myself and wife only made combined 30,000 a year and now we are to live on what we saved and s/s that they want to cut off====and the welfare people are making out like bandits with man and wife and one child getting 2,000 a month free and all the government give always they can get food stamps and they eat better than we do and have no taxes to pay and the child gets free food at school and i have to pay school taxes because i own my house there is nothing fair under  the Democrats and the Republicans aren't far behind.
Apr 19, 2012 10:20AM
Unfortunately, discussions like this always devolve into "Republicans vs Democrats" or "right vs left","capitalism vs socialism'', etc, both sides arguing over external forces causing poverty. Having been raised in it and breaking free of it, I can say tat there is a grain of truth t all sides, but the real source of poverty lies within the poor themselves. Poverty starts with a mindset. My own mother was unable to stay married (three times and divorced three times),  unable to defer gratification and basically just kept making a series of bad decisions that compounded themselves and made matters worse, until her choices were always limited to trying to escape or avert crisis. This in turn started a cycle of substance abuse in order to try to find relief, which of course only exacerbated and accelerated the problems. People would help her, only to have her go right back to her comfort zone, which was living in the drama of the fallout from bad decisions.  She eventually took her own life because of the mess she'd made of  things. 

After growing up, I too had the poverty mindset, and made a series of bad decisions. I ended up in AA by the time I was 23. By age 26 I was married and divorced twice. Everything I owned would fit into three cardboard boxes after my last divorce. I finally met a great woman and married her at age 28 and we joined a church, got active and my life changed. Today, we have been married 29 years, have raised three children who are all productive members of society, one is headed for med school in August. None of my kids have seen me drink or drug, as I've been clean and sober for 33 years.  We have lived in the same house for 22 years, I've had the same job for 21, and God is the center of our home. When we were first having kids, we couldn't afford to live where we were, so we packed up and moved to a part of the country we could afford, and we've done quite well. Bottom line, freedom from physical poverty starts with freeing yourself in your mind and getting outside your comfort zone. If one wishes to be successful, go find some successful people and hang out with them, and do what they do. Churches are full of successful people who would love to mentor people needing help and who want it.I know, because it's what we'redoing now. 
Apr 19, 2012 7:54AM
Gerry Lemire (MA_Matriarch)                    

" Whip dee doo you are going to go to back to school. Is the school going to provide a job for you when you get out? Just like a great deal of other college graduates once you get out the only thing you will achieve is a student loan debt."

How about going to College for a useful skill or degree? If I waste 4 years going to get an Art Degree or some other meaningless Degree is it really Society or the Republican's fault I cant find a Job? Use your head. Do a little research and find a job field that is hiring or doing well or in demand. Then when you are financially stable go back and get your  degree in whatever your little heart desires. 

How does that saying go "Poor planning on your part doesn't constitute an emergency on mine"

Apr 19, 2012 7:41AM
As much as I love the beautiful state of West is no surprise to me that McDowell county made this list.  My family is from this county and no matter how far away we may go...this will always be "home".  The county may not have a lot to offer tourists...but those that live or have lived there...know there are hidden jewels in the area.  I've often thought that visiting there is like stepping back in time...this is not necessarily a bad thing.  I love the slower pace of things there and how everyone welcomes you just as though you are family...whether they know you or not.  McDowell county may be "poor"...but those that live there are "RICH" in so many ways.
Apr 19, 2012 6:34AM
Where have yas all been? Clinton signed NAFTA that began the exodos of jobs overseas, by gov't paying up to $2 million to Cos. to move!! Now China has our jobs and most trade and America has no work. America will NEVER recover until this foreign trade nonsense is stopped! Going back to school and retraining is a total waste, the jobs are just not there. Sad times but that is the truth.
obama just gave Brazil a big military plane contract--out from under an American mfg. co. that has been making said plane!!?? right obama wants jobs here, another lie.
Get informed Mates, Washington selling out America.
Being poor is one thing ........being a messy junk / trash collecting slob is another.
Jul 12, 2012 7:25AM
Look at the first picture above. Being poor is no excuse for living like a pig.
Apr 19, 2012 12:54PM

Native Americans don't receive checks for being a Native American from the government, that seems to be a common misconception. Most tribes who receive some sort of stipend is due to the sale of the tribe's natural resources, which belongs to the whole tribe. Now we do receive medical help, but that is because the government pushed us off our traditional lands and now the rest of America resides on those lands.

And before you complain about me post, I have an engineering degree and a veteran who is proud to be an American. I have seen other countries and how they live, and we are privileged to live here in America. We live in a capitalist society and there will be those who are lest fortunate, but we should be helping all those who need help.  Instead it's easier for people blame others for their circumstances.

Apr 19, 2012 1:24PM
Why do the so-called poor Latinos always seem to have the money to buy $60,000 SUVs?
Jun 15, 2012 9:13AM

This article just blows me away.......Here we are, nearily 16 TRILLION in debt...still giving BILLIONS away to countries like Iraq, Afghanistan & Russia.....That's right RUSSIA, nearily 1/2 a BILLION in MILITARY aid....go figure.


And we won't help these poor counties. We won't even give a poor single white or black lady living in the ghetto a toaster. The democrats keep saying...we here for you...we're for the little man...Bulls_hit. 


And we walk around the world like we're somebody....No wonder we're the laughing stock of that world.

Apr 19, 2012 8:39AM
I think the public needs to put aside their political agendas and begin to pull together before we find our selves in a country no one over fifty will recognize.  All this pointing fingers is a sure sign of being part of the problem.  It is time to give time , money and sweat to help fix the problem and stop looking for "What's' in it for me".  Unlike the soldiers that go to battle without question we need to do the same.  I leave you with one thought, It is strange that we have not won a war since WWII, I wonder if it is the Reds or The Blues.  Keep in mind who sent us to Korea and who sent us to Viet Nam? I served in both wars and came home without a victory and memories of a lot of lost friends.
Apr 21, 2012 1:56PM
America.......we are in trouble...Congress and all of our government agencies & departments need to do their jobs HERE, on American soil....STOP sending money to ALL countries until our problems are resolved!! As a taxpayer, I am not only asking this but I am demanding this of is called fiscal responsibility to our nation.  Readers if you agree, please let your government officials know, firmly, what you expect them to do for America!!!!!  
Apr 19, 2012 8:49AM

My husband was born and raised in McDowell County WV. As a general rule, they may be poor but they are rich in kindness. As long as they have enough to eat or a roof over their heads they are some of the happiest and most friendly people that I have ever met.

They would be the first to offer you something to eat or lend a hand if you needed it.

The mountains getting there are so beautiful.

The reason that they are the poorest county is because The coal mines that used to make it the richest county in the state have been depleted and there are few jobs left to be had. Maybe if we could use some of the aid sent to foreign countrys and develop some jobs there It would no longer be the poorest county in the country.

Bobbie Adams said it all.  If you meet someone that was born in McDowell county but has had to leave to find work or for other reasons they are proud to tell you where they are from.

Apr 19, 2012 9:12AM
Why is it that the government insist on sending billions of $$$$ to foreign countries when so many of our countrymen need assistance? And why do the rich & famous think it is more important to adopt aboard then to adopt here at home.
Jul 12, 2012 8:04AM
Just a couple of observations:

1) Many of America's so-called "poor" live better, eat better, and have more assets than some working class Europeans (I'm referring to big screen TVs and game consoles, cars, buying steak with food stamps, selling food stamps on the black market and buying booze and cigarettes, [even drugs] etc.). But nobody ever wants to investigate the MASSIVE fraud involved with America's food stamp/EBT/whatever PC phrase they call that government handout today. 

2) We've now had nearly 50 years of LBJ's "Great Society" which began the so-called War On Poverty, which was, and still is, an income redistribution program. Now nearly a half century later, our poverty rate is largely UNCHANGED. Like the pseudo War On Drugs to nowhere, we've spent billions and billions on a dependent, entitlement-based society that just threw money at a problem and expected it to magically go away with no goals, no root cause analysis, and no direction. But what the hell else do you expect when government gets its greedy hands on taxpayer dollars? Just wait until it takes over your health care.
Jul 12, 2012 7:09PM

I can give you the "CURE" for 90% of poverty.

1.  Take advantage of free education available to every child in the U.S.  STAY IN SCHOOL AND 


2.   Don't have babies until you are married and become somewhat financially established.

3.   Don't abuse drugs and alcohol.

4.   Don't sneak into the U.S. illegally.



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