Census Data: Arkansas Ranks Near Bottom in Terms of Income

DECEMBER 2, 2005 - Posted at 7:57 a.m. CST

LITTLE ROCK, AR - According to new U.S. Census data, Arkansas lags behind nearly every other state in household income rankings.

In response, economic development experts statewide have called for greater investment in education to create more high-paying jobs.

Median household income in Arkansas was estimated at $33,445 per year in 2003, earning a ranking of 48th among states.  Only Mississippi and West Virginia ranked lower.

The U.S. median was $43,318.  Connecticut and New Jersey topped the list with incomes of about $56,400.

The richest Arkansas county was Benton County, home of Wal-Mart, the world's largest retailer.  Median household income there was $45,264.  The poorest Arkansas county was rural Searcy County in north Arkansas, with a median household income of $21,765.

Statistics show about 430,000 people, or 16 percent of the state's population live in poverty.

(Copyright 2005 by The Associated Press.  All Rights Reserved.)