© 2022 West Virginia Public Broadcasting
Telling West Virginia's Story
Play Live Radio
Next Up:
Available On Air Stations

Census Data Show West Virginia is Fifth Highest in Poverty Rate

Mountains, West Virginia, Autumn
West Virginia mountains.

New federal data show 319,063 West Virginians living below the poverty line last year, a 17.9 percent rate unchanged from the year before and slightly lower than a measured peak in 2011.

The U.S. Census Bureau's American Community Survey shows 88,351 children under 18 years old in poverty, or 24 percent of those living in West Virginia in 2016.

It had the fifth highest overall poverty rate among its 1.78 million people, behind the District of Columbia, Kentucky, Louisiana, Mississippi and New Mexico.

Among those employed in West Virginia, the rate was 7.8 percent.

Sean O'Leary, of the West Virginia Center on Budget and Policy, says state options to address the problem including protecting Medicaid and other programs low- and moderate-income families rely on and investing in higher education.

The Associated Press is one of the largest and most trusted sources of independent newsgathering, supplying a steady stream of news to its members, international subscribers and commercial customers. AP is neither privately owned nor government-funded; instead, it's a not-for-profit news cooperative owned by its American newspaper and broadcast members.

WVPB is local news, education, music, and entertainment for West Virginia.
Your donation today will help keep us strong and vital.