WV Center on Budget and Policy > Press > WVCBP in the News > Poverty, Stagnant Incomes Still Prevalent in West Virginia, Census Report Shows

Poverty, Stagnant Incomes Still Prevalent in West Virginia, Census Report Shows

September 20, 2013

Charleston Gazette – More than five years after the start of the great recession, West Virginians’ incomes continue to stagnate and poverty is still pervasive, despite soaring corporate profits nationwide and 41 consecutive months of job growth, according to new Census data released Thursday. Read

Median household income for West Virginians rose by about $900 to just over $40,000 in 2012, but the change is too small to be statistically significant, according to the Census Bureau. And while median household income is up about $1,300 since 2000, it has declined since 2007 and the start of the recession, when adjusted for inflation.

Median income is a measure of the household that sits directly in the middle of the income distribution. West Virginia’s median household income is lower than every state’s except Arkansas and Mississippi.

“The story is that we’re not changing year-to-year,” said Sean O’Leary, a policy analyst at the West Virginia Center on Budget and Policy, a left-leaning think tank. “Poverty’s high and it’s staying high and income’s low and it’s staying low.”