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Apr 192012


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

MainStreet on MSN Money
Abandoned rowhouses in Baltimore © Kevin B. Moore/Getty Images
Poverty on the rise

The number of Americans living in poverty has been on the rise since the onset of the Great Recession, as many households have seen their incomes drop and their debts mount during the past few years.

More than 15% of the population lived in poverty in 2010, the highest percentage since 1993, according to the most recent data from the Census Bureau. That means more than 46 million people fell below the poverty line, defined as $22,314 for a family of four. If you factor in the income spent on expenses such as medical costs, child care and mortgage payments, the number of Americans whose remaining income falls below the poverty line is closer to 50 million, or roughly 16% of the population.

Some regions in the U.S. are much worse off. In November, the Census Bureau released the poverty rates of every county in the U.S. in 2010. The data showed that in dozens of counties, more than a third of the population lives in poverty, and in a handful, overall poverty rates were closer to 50%.

MainStreet combed through the data to find the county in each state with the highest overall poverty rate. For those results, click through the following slides, listed alphabetically by state.

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