West Virginia had the second lowest household median income in the country for 2011. Only Mississippi's median income of $36,919 was lower than West Virginia's $38,482. That number is down almost $1,000 from 2010, when West Virginia had the third lowest median income in the nation.
Nationally, the median income dropped from $51,144 in 2010 to $50,502 in 2011. West Virginia was one of 36 states where the median income fell.
The survey also chose to highlight health insurance coverage of people between the ages of 19 and 25. Although the percent of West Virginians in this age bracket who are insured remains below the national average, the increase in the number of people with insurance was greater than on the national level.
In 2009, about 65 percent of West Virginians between the ages of 19 and 25 had health insurance. In 2011, that figure rose to 69.5 percent, below the 71.8 percent national average but above the national 3.6 percentage point growth.
Although 36 other states have a higher percentage of people insured in this age bracket than West Virginia, only 14 states saw a higher percentage point increase than the Mountain State.
The policy center stated the data shows West Virginia lawmakers need to expand Medicaid coverage through the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act, create an earned income tax credit based on the federal model, invest in child care assistance and raise the state minimum wage.
For more information about the survey, visit www.census.gov/acs/www.