The Factors That Have Produced the Poorest States in The United States

There are several images that comes to mind that reflect the wealth of the United States. The first is that generally it is the richest country on earth that has produced a society of great affluence which is reflected by massive consumer spending.

There is an impression that there is a contrast in wealth between those living in the southern States and those living elsewhere. The feeling is that this part of the country is still suffering from the defeat during the civil war that resulted in the regions not being able to rely on the slave trade for certain individual’s economic benefit.

These ideas today are gross simplified assertions with one of the country’s richest States, Texas being found in the south of the country. The United States is like every other country in that it goes through periods of economic success and failure, which has seen certain areas suffer more than others.

Generally there is a north and south divide, with many of the poorer States being located in the southern half of the country. However, there are other areas that at some times suffered in periods of economic down turn. This is especially true in the cities that have been overly reliant on certain older industries and in time this has left poverty stricken inner city areas.

There are many ways to measure levels of wealth and they include levels of homelessness, average income, unemployment levels and inadequate social services. If these factors are taken into consideration then the five poorest states are found in the southern half of the country.

Fruit farming in California

One of the most basic ways that any area will become a popular and affluent place to live, will depend on its natural resources. As far back as history takes us the land with the best soils has attracted the densest population. The basic  need to feed oneself has not changed and the areas with the richest soils, matched with the best growing climates, have been able to not only feed their own people but have also created a surplus of production that has created wealth in that area.

The richest States in the country started to become popular because of their agricultural industry. California has always been known as the country’s richest State and today it benefits from the high tech industrial areas, tourism and its entertainment industries. However, its success was kick started by its ability to produce great volumes of agricultural produce.


This has not changed in current times and even today the agricultural community of the State is relied upon to supply the nation with vast quantities of dairy, fruit, arable, and livestock produce. The poorer states of the country are often limited by the soils they have and the climate they receive and they simply do not have the capability to produce the agricultural produce that they need.

The other factors are raw material. The success of Texas was initially started by its ability to raise cattle. It was known through the country as being home to the ranches, its cowboys and the huge numbers of cattle that were being reared every year. However, the discovery of oil in the State has resulted in billions of dollars being collected each year.

Another factor that has resulted in some States being less well off than others are those to do with the States location. Generally it is an advantage for a state to have a coastline and those inland states are unable to benefit from the riches that the sea can bring to an area.