This means that the state entered the pandemic with more than 1.4 million residents living in poverty, and many more North Carolinians are likely to experience poverty in their lifetime. Each of the 10 poorest states in the country is home to a lower than normal proportion of adults with at least a bachelor's degree. North Carolina, like many other southern states, has below-average upper and secondary academic achievement rates, which can contribute to the state's relatively low incomes, as higher-educated workers are more likely to work in high-paying jobs. North Carolina households are more likely to use SNAP to help pay for food than those in most other states.
North Carolina received its highest rating in the economic outlook ranking for lack of inheritance or inheritance taxes, a low minimum wage, status as a state with the right to work, and a cut in personal income tax in recent years. Louisiana is the second poorest state in the country, with 17.4% of its population at or below the poverty line. Not surprisingly, the nation's poorest states also tend to rank lowest on quality of life metrics and are often ranked as the worst states to live in. The Rich States, Poor States report, written by economist Arthur Laffer, FreedomWorks economist Stephen Moore and ALEC chief economist Jonathan Williams, uses 15 policy variables to classify states' economic prospects, including tax burden, legal system, minimum wage, size of government compared to the population, the costs of workers' compensation, the situation of the right to work and other factors.
About 14.7 percent of North Carolinians live below the poverty line, one of the highest poverty rates in the country. In addition to having lower overall incomes, South Carolina also has a relatively high proportion of households living in extreme poverty. But state revenues increased significantly over the following year and, as a result, South Carolina's ranking improved.