These Are the Best States for Poor Americans, Study Says

See where life is a little easier if you're not wealthy.

Struggling to make ends meet when you’re making less money can be as frustrating as it is difficult. In fact, without the money to build an emergency fund, a good place to buy necessities on the cheap or the option to buy a decent house, you might find yourself spending more money on basic costs than your wealthier counterparts. That’s why where you’re living can play a big role in your ability to stretch a meager budget to fit your life.

So, the residents of Pennsylvania, West Virginia or Vermont who are in the lowest-income groups are likely having an easier time, on average, than people struggling to make ends meet in Hawaii, Oregon or Colorado. At least, that’s what the results of a recent study from GOBankingRates indicate.

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The GOBankingRates study examined eight different data pieces relevant to working-class and lower-income residents, scoring all 50 states in each category. Those scores were then combined to form a cumulative ranking. The factors in the study include: median list price for homes, the average monthly mortgage bill, cost of living, state income taxes on incomes below the national median, the income for people in the bottom 20 percent of earners, the state’s per capita spending on public welfare, property crime rates and the average ACT score for the state.

All told, the study’s results provide an overview of how the local economy, public education system and state government all combine together to create an environment for the less financially fortunate.

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Here’s a look at all 50 states and how they ranked:

RankStateMedian List PriceEstimated Monthly MortgageCost-of-Living Index20th Percentile Household IncomeIndividual State Income Tax PercentageExpenditure per Capita, Public WelfareProperty Crime per 100,000 PeopleAvg. ACT Score
1Pennsylvania$198,900$971102$21,7713.07$2,094.191,742.723.1
2West Virginia$150,000$75095.9$16,7264.00$2,379.232,047.220.7
3Vermont$250,000$1,215120.7$23,1223.55$2,764.721,697.423.4
4Ohio$154,900$77292.3$20,1222.969$1,729.652,577.522.0
5New Hampshire$289,900$1,394115$28,4120.00$1,622.801,512.924.5
6Kentucky$175,000$86993.7$17,0205.80$2,450.512,189.720.0
7Indiana$170,000$84191.1$21,0943.23$1,741.802,589.422.3
8Iowa$179,900$89091.3$22,7136.12$1,980.302,086.022.1
9Maine$229,900$1,123113.6$20,6365.80$2,223.601,645.723.6
10Michigan$169,500$83789.7$20,1864.25$1,650.421,909.920.3
11Rhode Island$290,000$1,379123.6$21,4593.75$2,475.521,898.723.3
12South Dakota$228,250$1,09799.5$21,8600.00$1,223.621,980.621.9
13Arkansas$165,000$82087.8$16,9964.50$2,236.803,268.620.2
14North Dakota$229,000$1,11399.7$23,0661.10$1,848.722,295.920.3
15Wisconsin$199,900$97896.2$22,8306.27$2,078.271,933.320.5
16New Jersey$299,000$1,424121.9$28,2661.75$1,940.301,544.623.1
17Delaware$279,990$1,338102.9$26,1785.55$2,452.042,766.023.6
18Minnesota$265,900$1,28299.7$25,5757.05$2,569.862,133.321.1
19Wyoming$240,000$1,16995.6$25,4320.00$1,386.501,957.320.0
20Tennessee$229,900$1,12489.8$18,4250.00$1,621.022,854.119.9
21New York$384,900$1,845132.5$21,7926.45$3,109.951,545.623.9
22Kansas$175,000$86590.2$22,6354.90$1,383.122,695.521.9
23Mississippi$175,500$87285.1$15,3565.00$1,955.892,768.118.4
24New Mexico$219,000$1,06394.9$18,1494.90$2,750.883,937.119.9
25Connecticut$315,000$1,499125.7$27,3835.00$2,073.451,808.024.5
26Nebraska$205,000$1,00392.9$22,8655.01$1,421.832,263.321.4
27Illinois$224,900$1,09497.2$23,0454.95$1,633.742,049.020.8
28Massachusetts$429,900$2,013132.9$24,8875.10$2,739.491,561.124.8
29Oklahoma$179,900$89489.2$19,3415.00$1,659.422,982.920.4
30Texas$273,990$1,31591.2$21,5230.00$1,289.672,759.820.6
31Alaska$278,000$1,345131.3$31,7000.00$2,726.143,353.020.0
32Idaho$289,900$1,39792.2$21,1817.40$1,413.381,744.222.7
33Virginia$299,900$1,431102.2$26,7835.75$1,375.171,859.423.3
34Missouri$170,000$84589.9$20,2366.00$1,404.192,799.120.2
35Louisiana$205,000$1,00594.4$17,1714.00$1,772.753,297.719.5
36Florida$289,000$1,38699.3$20,3300.00$1,341.172,686.819.9
37Maryland$300,000$1,432128.7$31,2854.75$2,049.532,284.523.0
38Alabama$194,500$96690.3$17,0875.00$1,392.892,947.819.1
39Arizona$275,000$1,31995.6$21,4012.88$1,495.372,978.420.1
40Washington$369,900$1,743107.1$25,4610.00$1,630.473,494.123.1
41Nevada$299,900$1,440104.7$23,4560.00$1,384.812,586.617.7
42Georgia$248,000$1,20790.8$19,8256.00$1,176.723,004.521.1
43North Carolina$259,000$1,24594.6$19,4185.499$1,368.242,737.519.1
44Montana$311,700$1,500100.4$20,0926.90$1,522.322,683.520.3
45California$515,000$2,410141$24,5164.00$2,637.402,553.022.6
46South Carolina$242,995$1,17799.5$18,2337.00$1,499.883,243.818.5
47Utah$349,000$1,66195.7$26,9705.00$1,135.412,951.520.2
48Colorado$416,050$1,958102.3$25,0024.63$1,438.632,740.720.6
49Oregon$365,000$1,729129.3$21,1969.00$2,375.762,964.421.7
50Hawaii$599,000$2,801188.3$28,9527.60$1,769.162,992.718.7

Did You Know? These 19 Metro Areas Have the Biggest Wealth Gaps, Study Finds

The scores of two states in the middle of the pack are also interesting. Overall, Massachusetts ranks No. 28 and New York ranks No. 21, but both states finished among the top or bottom five in almost every category. However, New York has the seventh-highest state income tax rates on lower incomes while Massachusetts places lower. Aside from that, both states feature very high home prices, cost of living and per capita spending on public welfare, as well as low property crime rates. 

The study also revealed some interesting trends. For example, there’s a perfect correlation between cost of living and the income levels for the bottom fifth of earners, with the states ranking identically for those two categories. On the one hand, it shouldn’t come as a shock that the cost of goods is driven — at least in part — by what people in the area can afford. Still, it’s a little surprising that results are consistent across the board.

Click through to see the best and worst states to be rich in America.

More on the Economy: 

Methodology: GOBankingRates determined the best and worst states to be in the lower-income tax bracket by using eight different factors and scoring them in order to reach a cumulative ranking from 1-50 for each state. The factors used were: 1) monthly mortgage, 2) median home list price, 3) cost of living, 4) individual state income tax percentage for those earning less than the national median income, 5) income for people in the bottom 20 percent of earners, 6) state spending per capita on public welfare, 7) property crime rate per 100,000 people and 8) average ACT score.