The economic recession that officially ended in 2009 pummeled people's earnings in many U.S. states, with the Census reporting on Tuesday that the state of Mississippi experienced some of the worst problems with both income and poverty of all the states that year.
Mississippi residents earned the lowest incomes in the United States, with the median income dropping to $36,646 in 2009 from $37,749 in 2008. By comparison, the national median income in the United States was $50,221 in 2009.
Altogether, median household incomes were lower than the U.S. median in 29 states and higher in 20 states and the District of Columbia, the Census said. Maryland had the highest median income in the country in 2009 at $69,272.
The recession that officially began in 2007 appeared to limit income growth in most U.S. states. Only North Dakota saw its median income increase from 2008, by 5.1 percent to $45,497. Throughout the recession, North Dakota has had the lowest unemployment rate among the states.
Real median household income decreased over the year in 34 states, the Census said, and was relatively the same in 15 states and the District of Columbia.
The Census also indexed income inequality, looking for how income is distributed within a state.
Washington, D.C. had the largest gap between rich and poor in 2009, along with the territory of Puerto Rico. New York had the biggest income gap of the states, according to the Census data, followed by Connecticut. Alaska had the smallest income inequality, followed by Utah.
Still, Mississippi had the highest poverty rate in the country in 2009, with 21.9 percent of its population living below the poverty line.
Only five states had poverty rates of less than 10 percent in 2009 -- Alaska, Connecticut, Maryland, New Hampshire and New Jersey. The national poverty rate was 14.3 percent.
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