Fact-check: Did West Virginia Rank 50th in Household Income in 2017?

A mural depicting a more vibrant time in the town’s history decorates a building in the business district, Tuesday, Oct. 6, 2015, in Welch, W.Va. Poverty experts say these efforts helped relieve the most acute conditions, but did little else. As coal employment declined, people fled because there was little else for them to do. McDowell County, home to Welch, had a population of just under 100,000 in 1950. Since then, the county’s population has fallen by four-fifths, to around 20,000. Photo: David Goldman/AP Photo

In a Nov. 8 op-ed in the Charleston Gazette-Mail, Mike Romano, a Democratic West Virginia state senator, said West Virginia’s median household income was nearly $17,000 below the national average.

“In 2017, West Virginia’s $43,469 median household income was $16,867 below the national average, ranking 50th, according to the U.S. Census Bureau,” Romano wrote.

Is that correct? We took a closer look.

In September 2018, the U.S. Census Bureau released a report that included data for household income in 2017.

The figure for the United States was $60,336, while the figure for West Virginia was $43,469. The difference is exactly $16,867, as Romano said.

Meanwhile, we ranked the 50 states by household income and found that West Virginia ranked last, trailing Mississippi by $60.

Here’s the full ranking:

Maryland $80,776
New Jersey 80,088
Hawaii 77,765
Massachusetts 77,385
Connecticut 74,168
New Hampshire 73,381
Alaska 73,181
California 71,805
Virginia 71,535
Washington 70,979
Colorado 69,117
Minnesota 68,388
Utah 68,358
New York 64,894
Rhode Island 63,870
Illinois 62,992
Delaware 62,852
North Dakota 61,843
Wyoming 60,434
Oregon 60,212
Nebraska 59,970
Wisconsin 59,305
Texas 59,206
Pennsylvania 59,195
Iowa 58,570
Nevada 58,003
Vermont 57,513
Arizona 56,581
South Dakota 56,521
Kansas 56,422
Maine 56,277
Georgia 56,183
Michigan 54,909
Indiana 54,181
Ohio 54,021
Missouri 53,578
Montana 53,386
North Carolina 52,752
Florida 52,594
Idaho 52,225
Tennessee 51,340
South Carolina 50,570
Oklahoma 50,051
Kentucky 48,375
Alabama 48,123
New Mexico 46,744
Louisiana 46,145
Arkansas 45,869
Mississippi 43,529
West Virginia 43,469
Our ruling

Romano wrote, “In 2017, West Virginia’s $43,469 median household income was $16,867 below the national average, ranking 50th according to the U.S. Census Bureau.”

His statement is fully correct — on West Virginia’s median household income, on its distance from the national average, and in its 50th place ranking.

We rate the statement True.

This story was originally published by PolitiFact.

Related Posts