Lowest-earning counties in Kentucky

Written by:
July 14, 2022
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Lowest-earning counties in Kentucky

Americans on the whole were doing well financially heading into 2020, with major markers like unemployment reaching 50-year lows. The pandemic changed all that: During the second quarter of the 2020 fiscal year, our nation’s real GDP fell by a whopping 31.4%, a number that hasn’t been seen since the Great Depression. Since then the GDP has recovered, the first quarter of 2022 was 11% above the fourth quarter of 2019.

While GDP has recovered since the height of the pandemic, wage growth has not kept pace with inflation. In 2021 average hourly wages increased 4.7% while there was 7% inflation, meaning the worker’s purchasing power dropped by 2.4%.

Where you live can make a big impact on your financial situation. The highest earning county in the U.S. earns $147,111, while the lowest earns $22,292. Stacker compiled a list of the lowest-earning counties in Kentucky using data from the U.S. Census Bureau. Counties are ranked by the Census’ 2020 5-year estimate median household income.

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W.marsh // Wikimedia Commons

#50. Laurel County

- Median household income: $43,745
--- 16.3% below state average, 32.7% below national average
- Households earning over $100k: 15.8%
--- #2,366 highest among all counties nationwide
- Households earning less than $15k: 18.9%
--- #628 highest among all counties nationwide
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Wdzinc // Wikimedia Commons

#49. Marion County

- Median household income: $43,587
--- 16.6% below state average, 32.9% below national average
- Households earning over $100k: 15.2%
--- #2,473 highest among all counties nationwide
- Households earning less than $15k: 16.9%
--- #615 highest among all counties nationwide
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W.marsh // Wikimedia Commons

#48. Adair County

- Median household income: $43,026
--- 17.6% below state average, 33.8% below national average
- Households earning over $100k: 13.0%
--- #2,756 highest among all counties nationwide
- Households earning less than $15k: 17.4%
--- #575 highest among all counties nationwide
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#47. Martin County

- Median household income: $42,894
--- 17.9% below state average, 34.0% below national average
- Households earning over $100k: 15.6%
--- #2,408 highest among all counties nationwide
- Households earning less than $15k: 20.7%
--- #567 highest among all counties nationwide
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W.marsh // Wikimedia Commons

#46. Rowan County

- Median household income: $42,754
--- 18.2% below state average, 34.2% below national average
- Households earning over $100k: 17.4%
--- #2,068 highest among all counties nationwide
- Households earning less than $15k: 18.2%
--- #554 highest among all counties nationwide

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FloNight (Sydney Poore) and Russell Poore // Wikimedia Commons

#45. Lincoln County

- Median household income: $42,231
--- 19.2% below state average, 35.0% below national average
- Households earning over $100k: 12.0%
--- #2,865 highest among all counties nationwide
- Households earning less than $15k: 15.7%
--- #513 highest among all counties nationwide
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FloNight (Sydney Poore) and Russell Poore // Wikimedia Commons

#44. Fleming County

- Median household income: $42,087
--- 19.4% below state average, 35.2% below national average
- Households earning over $100k: 13.5%
--- #2,714 highest among all counties nationwide
- Households earning less than $15k: 17.5%
--- #496 highest among all counties nationwide
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Murray State // Wikimedia Commons

#43. Calloway County

- Median household income: $41,841
--- 19.9% below state average, 35.6% below national average
- Households earning over $100k: 15.6%
--- #2,419 highest among all counties nationwide
- Households earning less than $15k: 18.2%
--- #475 highest among all counties nationwide
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#42. Russell County

- Median household income: $41,731
--- 20.1% below state average, 35.8% below national average
- Households earning over $100k: 12.9%
--- #2,775 highest among all counties nationwide
- Households earning less than $15k: 17.7%
--- #462 highest among all counties nationwide
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#41. Barren County

- Median household income: $41,674
--- 20.2% below state average, 35.9% below national average
- Households earning over $100k: 12.4%
--- #2,818 highest among all counties nationwide
- Households earning less than $15k: 17.0%
--- #457 highest among all counties nationwide

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#40. Carlisle County

- Median household income: $41,222
--- 21.1% below state average, 36.6% below national average
- Households earning over $100k: 15.6%
--- #2,408 highest among all counties nationwide
- Households earning less than $15k: 15.1%
--- #434 highest among all counties nationwide
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#39. Powell County

- Median household income: $41,071
--- 21.4% below state average, 36.8% below national average
- Households earning over $100k: 12.9%
--- #2,770 highest among all counties nationwide
- Households earning less than $15k: 22.3%
--- #421 highest among all counties nationwide
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Smceuen // Wikimedia Commons

#38. Carroll County

- Median household income: $41,014
--- 21.5% below state average, 36.9% below national average
- Households earning over $100k: 19.1%
--- #1,768 highest among all counties nationwide
- Households earning less than $15k: 16.1%
--- #418 highest among all counties nationwide
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Nyttend // Wikimedia Commons

#37. Pulaski County

- Median household income: $40,658
--- 22.2% below state average, 37.4% below national average
- Households earning over $100k: 15.6%
--- #2,408 highest among all counties nationwide
- Households earning less than $15k: 19.2%
--- #391 highest among all counties nationwide
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Nyttend // Wikimedia Commons

#36. Metcalfe County

- Median household income: $40,391
--- 22.7% below state average, 37.9% below national average
- Households earning over $100k: 10.4%
--- #2,993 highest among all counties nationwide
- Households earning less than $15k: 17.9%
--- #379 highest among all counties nationwide

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JERRYE & ROY KLOTZ MD // Wikimedia Commons

#35. Hart County

- Median household income: $39,834
--- 23.7% below state average, 38.7% below national average
- Households earning over $100k: 13.1%
--- #2,747 highest among all counties nationwide
- Households earning less than $15k: 18.4%
--- #343 highest among all counties nationwide
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Nyttend // Wikimedia Commons

#34. Perry County

- Median household income: $39,594
--- 24.2% below state average, 39.1% below national average
- Households earning over $100k: 12.7%
--- #2,791 highest among all counties nationwide
- Households earning less than $15k: 19.4%
--- #332 highest among all counties nationwide
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CoryClaxon // Wikimedia Commons

#33. Carter County

- Median household income: $39,492
--- 24.4% below state average, 39.2% below national average
- Households earning over $100k: 14.8%
--- #2,545 highest among all counties nationwide
- Households earning less than $15k: 22.0%
--- #325 highest among all counties nationwide
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No machine-readable author provided. Blinutne assumed (based on copyright claims). // Wikimedia Commons

#32. Whitley County

- Median household income: $39,258
--- 24.8% below state average, 39.6% below national average
- Households earning over $100k: 13.2%
--- #2,733 highest among all counties nationwide
- Households earning less than $15k: 19.6%
--- #315 highest among all counties nationwide
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verygreen // Wikimedia Commons

#31. Rockcastle County

- Median household income: $38,744
--- 25.8% below state average, 40.4% below national average
- Households earning over $100k: 13.0%
--- #2,764 highest among all counties nationwide
- Households earning less than $15k: 19.9%
--- #291 highest among all counties nationwide

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HiB2Bornot2B // Wikimedia Commons

#30. Johnson County

- Median household income: $38,333
--- 26.6% below state average, 41.0% below national average
- Households earning over $100k: 15.0%
--- #2,507 highest among all counties nationwide
- Households earning less than $15k: 20.3%
--- #277 highest among all counties nationwide
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Huw Williams (Huwmanbeing) // Wikimedia Commons

#29. Grayson County

- Median household income: $38,262
--- 26.8% below state average, 41.1% below national average
- Households earning over $100k: 12.1%
--- #2,846 highest among all counties nationwide
- Households earning less than $15k: 18.9%
--- #269 highest among all counties nationwide
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JERRYE & ROY KLOTZ MD // Wikimedia Commons

#28. Wayne County

- Median household income: $37,678
--- 27.9% below state average, 42.0% below national average
- Households earning over $100k: 11.6%
--- #2,912 highest among all counties nationwide
- Households earning less than $15k: 17.7%
--- #242 highest among all counties nationwide
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Nyttend // Wikimedia Commons

#27. Morgan County

- Median household income: $37,399
--- 28.4% below state average, 42.5% below national average
- Households earning over $100k: 12.4%
--- #2,818 highest among all counties nationwide
- Households earning less than $15k: 19.8%
--- #231 highest among all counties nationwide
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#26. Elliott County

- Median household income: $36,950
--- 29.3% below state average, 43.1% below national average
- Households earning over $100k: 9.1%
--- #3,062 highest among all counties nationwide
- Households earning less than $15k: 21.3%
--- #209 highest among all counties nationwide

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Nyttend // Wikimedia Commons

#25. Leslie County

- Median household income: $36,038
--- 31.0% below state average, 44.6% below national average
- Households earning over $100k: 5.3%
--- #3,135 highest among all counties nationwide
- Households earning less than $15k: 20.8%
--- #175 highest among all counties nationwide
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#24. Floyd County

- Median household income: $35,096
--- 32.8% below state average, 46.0% below national average
- Households earning over $100k: 9.3%
--- #3,055 highest among all counties nationwide
- Households earning less than $15k: 24.2%
--- #147 highest among all counties nationwide
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Brian Stansberry // Wikimedia Commons

#23. Monroe County

- Median household income: $35,078
--- 32.8% below state average, 46.0% below national average
- Households earning over $100k: 16.1%
--- #2,322 highest among all counties nationwide
- Households earning less than $15k: 25.5%
--- #146 highest among all counties nationwide
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Nyttend // Wikimedia Commons

#22. Cumberland County

- Median household income: $35,030
--- 32.9% below state average, 46.1% below national average
- Households earning over $100k: 14.0%
--- #2,643 highest among all counties nationwide
- Households earning less than $15k: 26.5%
--- #142 highest among all counties nationwide
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#21. Pike County

- Median household income: $34,700
--- 33.6% below state average, 46.6% below national average
- Households earning over $100k: 12.0%
--- #2,865 highest among all counties nationwide
- Households earning less than $15k: 23.5%
--- #131 highest among all counties nationwide

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Nyttend // Wikimedia Commons

#20. Green County

- Median household income: $33,846
--- 35.2% below state average, 47.9% below national average
- Households earning over $100k: 11.6%
--- #2,912 highest among all counties nationwide
- Households earning less than $15k: 18.3%
--- #113 highest among all counties nationwide
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Nyttend // Wikimedia Commons

#19. Letcher County

- Median household income: $33,181
--- 36.5% below state average, 48.9% below national average
- Households earning over $100k: 9.3%
--- #3,055 highest among all counties nationwide
- Households earning less than $15k: 23.6%
--- #99 highest among all counties nationwide
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#18. Clinton County

- Median household income: $33,092
--- 36.7% below state average, 49.1% below national average
- Households earning over $100k: 11.3%
--- #2,937 highest among all counties nationwide
- Households earning less than $15k: 20.6%
--- #98 highest among all counties nationwide
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#17. Casey County

- Median household income: $33,004
--- 36.8% below state average, 49.2% below national average
- Households earning over $100k: 10.1%
--- #3,016 highest among all counties nationwide
- Households earning less than $15k: 22.8%
--- #95 highest among all counties nationwide
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#16. Lawrence County

- Median household income: $32,856
--- 37.1% below state average, 49.4% below national average
- Households earning over $100k: 8.4%
--- #3,082 highest among all counties nationwide
- Households earning less than $15k: 22.7%
--- #91 highest among all counties nationwide

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Nyttend // Wikimedia Commons

#15. Estill County

- Median household income: $32,800
--- 37.2% below state average, 49.5% below national average
- Households earning over $100k: 8.8%
--- #3,075 highest among all counties nationwide
- Households earning less than $15k: 26.1%
--- #89 highest among all counties nationwide
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Nyttend // Wikimedia Commons

#14. Knott County

- Median household income: $32,531
--- 37.7% below state average, 49.9% below national average
- Households earning over $100k: 7.6%
--- #3,100 highest among all counties nationwide
- Households earning less than $15k: 22.4%
--- #83 highest among all counties nationwide
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Calvin Beale // Wikimedia Commons

#13. Fulton County

- Median household income: $31,587
--- 39.5% below state average, 51.4% below national average
- Households earning over $100k: 9.8%
--- #3,032 highest among all counties nationwide
- Households earning less than $15k: 24.1%
--- #64 highest among all counties nationwide
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W.marsh // Wikimedia Commons

#12. Jackson County

- Median household income: $31,515
--- 39.7% below state average, 51.5% below national average
- Households earning over $100k: 7.4%
--- #3,103 highest among all counties nationwide
- Households earning less than $15k: 25.5%
--- #61 highest among all counties nationwide
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Nyttend // Wikimedia Commons

#11. Knox County

- Median household income: $30,257
--- 42.1% below state average, 53.4% below national average
- Households earning over $100k: 8.9%
--- #3,068 highest among all counties nationwide
- Households earning less than $15k: 32.5%
--- #41 highest among all counties nationwide

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C. Bedford Crenshaw // Wikimedia Commons

#10. Lewis County

- Median household income: $29,844
--- 42.9% below state average, 54.1% below national average
- Households earning over $100k: 7.4%
--- #3,107 highest among all counties nationwide
- Households earning less than $15k: 25.9%
--- #37 highest among all counties nationwide
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Nyttend // Wikimedia Commons

#9. Breathitt County

- Median household income: $29,538
--- 43.5% below state average, 54.6% below national average
- Households earning over $100k: 9.8%
--- #3,032 highest among all counties nationwide
- Households earning less than $15k: 29.8%
--- #35 highest among all counties nationwide
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Kybluegrass // Wikimedia Commons

#8. McCreary County

- Median household income: $29,499
--- 43.5% below state average, 54.6% below national average
- Households earning over $100k: 7.6%
--- #3,102 highest among all counties nationwide
- Households earning less than $15k: 27.0%
--- #33 highest among all counties nationwide
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JERRYE & ROY KLOTZ MD // Wikimedia Commons

#7. Owsley County

- Median household income: $29,406
--- 43.7% below state average, 54.8% below national average
- Households earning over $100k: 12.0%
--- #2,865 highest among all counties nationwide
- Households earning less than $15k: 29.2%
--- #31 highest among all counties nationwide
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Nyttend // Wikimedia Commons

#6. Bell County

- Median household income: $28,442
--- 45.6% below state average, 56.2% below national average
- Households earning over $100k: 5.3%
--- #3,135 highest among all counties nationwide
- Households earning less than $15k: 28.1%
--- #25 highest among all counties nationwide

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W.marsh // Wikimedia Commons

#5. Harlan County

- Median household income: $28,261
--- 45.9% below state average, 56.5% below national average
- Households earning over $100k: 6.6%
--- #3,122 highest among all counties nationwide
- Households earning less than $15k: 27.9%
--- #23 highest among all counties nationwide
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Nyttend // Wikimedia Commons

#4. Magoffin County

- Median household income: $27,807
--- 46.8% below state average, 57.2% below national average
- Households earning over $100k: 7.3%
--- #3,109 highest among all counties nationwide
- Households earning less than $15k: 24.6%
--- #19 highest among all counties nationwide
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#3. Clay County

- Median household income: $27,479
--- 47.4% below state average, 57.7% below national average
- Households earning over $100k: 7.0%
--- #3,116 highest among all counties nationwide
- Households earning less than $15k: 28.4%
--- #18 highest among all counties nationwide
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W.marsh // Wikimedia Commons

#2. Lee County

- Median household income: $24,699
--- 52.7% below state average, 62.0% below national average
- Households earning over $100k: 6.7%
--- #3,121 highest among all counties nationwide
- Households earning less than $15k: 32.2%
--- #9 highest among all counties nationwide
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#1. Wolfe County

- Median household income: $22,292
--- 57.3% below state average, 65.7% below national average
- Households earning over $100k: 6.3%
--- #3,129 highest among all counties nationwide
- Households earning less than $15k: 32.9%
--- #1 highest among all counties nationwide

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