Lowest-earning counties in Kentucky

Written by:
August 15, 2021
Nyttend // Wikimedia Commons

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. As the economy makes its comeback, things are still a far cry from the way they were in 2019.

One marker that has sped far past its 2019 position is that of income inequality in the United States. Low-wage industries were decimated by the pandemic, leaving millions without work or in positions they were overqualified for. Meanwhile, nearly one in five households across the United States earn less than $25,000 a year, while more than 6% have an annual income that falls below $10,000.

Where you live can make a big impact on your financial situation. 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’ 2019 5-year estimate median household income. Keep reading to see where people in your state are making the least.

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Bedford // Wikimedia Commons

#50. Webster County

- Median household income: $42,119
--- 16.7% below state median, 33.0% below national median
- Households earning over $100k: 16.6%
--- #2,019 highest rate among all counties nationwide
- Households earning less than $15k: 18.1%
--- #409 highest rate among all counties nationwide

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W.marsh // Wikimedia Commons

#49. Robertson County

- Median household income: $41,902
--- 17.2% below state median, 33.3% below national median
- Households earning over $100k: 12.9%
--- #2,656 highest rate among all counties nationwide
- Households earning less than $15k: 19.8%
--- #273 highest rate among all counties nationwide

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Brian Stansberry // Wikimedia Commons

#48. Butler County

- Median household income: $41,763
--- 17.4% below state median, 33.5% below national median
- Households earning over $100k: 14.8%
--- #2,352 highest rate among all counties nationwide
- Households earning less than $15k: 15.5%
--- #709 highest rate among all counties nationwide

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W.marsh // Wikimedia Commons

#47. Laurel County

- Median household income: $41,526
--- 17.9% below state median, 33.9% below national median
- Households earning over $100k: 13.8%
--- #2,524 highest rate among all counties nationwide
- Households earning less than $15k: 20.0%
--- #268 highest rate among all counties nationwide

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Nyttend // Wikimedia Commons

#46. Barren County

- Median household income: $41,459
--- 18.0% below state median, 34.0% below national median
- Households earning over $100k: 12.8%
--- #2,681 highest rate among all counties nationwide
- Households earning less than $15k: 16.7%
--- #573 highest rate among all counties nationwide

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Nyttend // Wikimedia Commons

#45. Martin County

- Median household income: $41,013
--- 18.9% below state median, 34.7% below national median
- Households earning over $100k: 12.1%
--- #2,771 highest rate among all counties nationwide
- Households earning less than $15k: 19.4%
--- #300 highest rate among all counties nationwide

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Wdzinc // Wikimedia Commons

#44. Marion County

- Median household income: $40,107
--- 20.7% below state median, 36.2% below national median
- Households earning over $100k: 14.1%
--- #2,472 highest rate among all counties nationwide
- Households earning less than $15k: 16.6%
--- #580 highest rate among all counties nationwide

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Nyttend // Wikimedia Commons

#43. Pulaski County

- Median household income: $39,998
--- 20.9% below state median, 36.4% below national median
- Households earning over $100k: 14.2%
--- #2,454 highest rate among all counties nationwide
- Households earning less than $15k: 20.1%
--- #262 highest rate among all counties nationwide

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Nyttend // Wikimedia Commons

#42. Menifee County

- Median household income: $39,325
--- 22.3% below state median, 37.4% below national median
- Households earning over $100k: 8.3%
--- #3,081 highest rate among all counties nationwide
- Households earning less than $15k: 20.6%
--- #238 highest rate among all counties nationwide

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No machine-readable author provided. Blinutne assumed (based on copyright claims). // Wikimedia Commons

#41. Whitley County

- Median household income: $39,005
--- 22.9% below state median, 37.9% below national median
- Households earning over $100k: 14.0%
--- #2,487 highest rate among all counties nationwide
- Households earning less than $15k: 20.5%
--- #244 highest rate among all counties nationwide

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Huw Williams (Huwmanbeing) // Wikimedia Commons

#40. Grayson County

- Median household income: $38,612
--- 23.7% below state median, 38.6% below national median
- Households earning over $100k: 12.7%
--- #2,693 highest rate among all counties nationwide
- Households earning less than $15k: 16.8%
--- #567 highest rate among all counties nationwide

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JERRYE & ROY KLOTZ MD // Wikimedia Commons

#39. Hart County

- Median household income: $38,396
--- 24.1% below state median, 38.9% below national median
- Households earning over $100k: 12.0%
--- #2,782 highest rate among all counties nationwide
- Households earning less than $15k: 20.6%
--- #238 highest rate among all counties nationwide

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Nyttend // Wikimedia Commons

#38. Russell County

- Median household income: $38,390
--- 24.1% below state median, 38.9% below national median
- Households earning over $100k: 10.9%
--- #2,916 highest rate among all counties nationwide
- Households earning less than $15k: 19.6%
--- #288 highest rate among all counties nationwide

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W.marsh // Wikimedia Commons

#37. Rowan County

- Median household income: $38,230
--- 24.4% below state median, 39.2% below national median
- Households earning over $100k: 15.1%
--- #2,320 highest rate among all counties nationwide
- Households earning less than $15k: 18.8%
--- #355 highest rate among all counties nationwide

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Nyttend // Wikimedia Commons

#36. Nicholas County

- Median household income: $38,149
--- 24.6% below state median, 39.3% below national median
- Households earning over $100k: 15.2%
--- #2,297 highest rate among all counties nationwide
- Households earning less than $15k: 15.2%
--- #756 highest rate among all counties nationwide

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W.marsh // Wikimedia Commons

#35. Adair County

- Median household income: $38,021
--- 24.8% below state median, 39.5% below national median
- Households earning over $100k: 11.3%
--- #2,872 highest rate among all counties nationwide
- Households earning less than $15k: 17.9%
--- #430 highest rate among all counties nationwide

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Nyttend // Wikimedia Commons

#34. Powell County

- Median household income: $37,469
--- 25.9% below state median, 40.4% below national median
- Households earning over $100k: 11.0%
--- #2,907 highest rate among all counties nationwide
- Households earning less than $15k: 20.1%
--- #262 highest rate among all counties nationwide

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Nyttend // Wikimedia Commons

#33. Metcalfe County

- Median household income: $37,386
--- 26.1% below state median, 40.5% below national median
- Households earning over $100k: 9.3%
--- #3,045 highest rate among all counties nationwide
- Households earning less than $15k: 20.8%
--- #228 highest rate among all counties nationwide

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HiB2Bornot2B // Wikimedia Commons

#32. Johnson County

- Median household income: $37,055
--- 26.8% below state median, 41.0% below national median
- Households earning over $100k: 14.9%
--- #2,333 highest rate among all counties nationwide
- Households earning less than $15k: 21.3%
--- #196 highest rate among all counties nationwide

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Nyttend // Wikimedia Commons

#31. Morgan County

- Median household income: $36,134
--- 28.6% below state median, 42.5% below national median
- Households earning over $100k: 10.5%
--- #2,955 highest rate among all counties nationwide
- Households earning less than $15k: 21.3%
--- #201 highest rate among all counties nationwide

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Nyttend // Wikimedia Commons

#30. Green County

- Median household income: $35,899
--- 29.0% below state median, 42.9% below national median
- Households earning over $100k: 10.8%
--- #2,932 highest rate among all counties nationwide
- Households earning less than $15k: 17.0%
--- #533 highest rate among all counties nationwide

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verygreen // Wikimedia Commons

#29. Rockcastle County

- Median household income: $35,720
--- 29.4% below state median, 43.2% below national median
- Households earning over $100k: 11.6%
--- #2,829 highest rate among all counties nationwide
- Households earning less than $15k: 20.8%
--- #228 highest rate among all counties nationwide

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Nyttend // Wikimedia Commons

#28. Cumberland County

- Median household income: $35,344
--- 30.1% below state median, 43.8% below national median
- Households earning over $100k: 9.9%
--- #2,999 highest rate among all counties nationwide
- Households earning less than $15k: 25.2%
--- #72 highest rate among all counties nationwide

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JERRYE & ROY KLOTZ MD // Wikimedia Commons

#27. Wayne County

- Median household income: $34,914
--- 31.0% below state median, 44.4% below national median
- Households earning over $100k: 10.5%
--- #2,955 highest rate among all counties nationwide
- Households earning less than $15k: 20.7%
--- #234 highest rate among all counties nationwide

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Brian Stansberry // Wikimedia Commons

#26. Monroe County

- Median household income: $34,879
--- 31.1% below state median, 44.5% below national median
- Households earning over $100k: 14.5%
--- #2,405 highest rate among all counties nationwide
- Households earning less than $15k: 23.0%
--- #134 highest rate among all counties nationwide

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Nyttend // Wikimedia Commons

#25. Pike County

- Median household income: $34,856
--- 31.1% below state median, 44.5% below national median
- Households earning over $100k: 11.9%
--- #2,793 highest rate among all counties nationwide
- Households earning less than $15k: 22.8%
--- #144 highest rate among all counties nationwide

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Nyttend // Wikimedia Commons

#24. Casey County

- Median household income: $34,819
--- 31.2% below state median, 44.6% below national median
- Households earning over $100k: 11.0%
--- #2,906 highest rate among all counties nationwide
- Households earning less than $15k: 22.5%
--- #150 highest rate among all counties nationwide

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CoryClaxon // Wikimedia Commons

#23. Carter County

- Median household income: $34,736
--- 31.3% below state median, 44.7% below national median
- Households earning over $100k: 11.3%
--- #2,884 highest rate among all counties nationwide
- Households earning less than $15k: 23.8%
--- #113 highest rate among all counties nationwide

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Nyttend // Wikimedia Commons

#22. Perry County

- Median household income: $33,640
--- 33.5% below state median, 46.5% below national median
- Households earning over $100k: 12.0%
--- #2,782 highest rate among all counties nationwide
- Households earning less than $15k: 23.1%
--- #128 highest rate among all counties nationwide

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Nyttend // Wikimedia Commons

#21. Lawrence County

- Median household income: $32,798
--- 35.2% below state median, 47.8% below national median
- Households earning over $100k: 10.0%
--- #2,996 highest rate among all counties nationwide
- Households earning less than $15k: 26.0%
--- #64 highest rate among all counties nationwide

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Nyttend // Wikimedia Commons

#20. Floyd County

- Median household income: $32,730
--- 35.3% below state median, 47.9% below national median
- Households earning over $100k: 8.8%
--- #3,069 highest rate among all counties nationwide
- Households earning less than $15k: 26.2%
--- #61 highest rate among all counties nationwide

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Nyttend // Wikimedia Commons

#19. Elliott County

- Median household income: $32,306
--- 36.1% below state median, 48.6% below national median
- Households earning over $100k: 7.8%
--- #3,099 highest rate among all counties nationwide
- Households earning less than $15k: 24.8%
--- #84 highest rate among all counties nationwide

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Nyttend // Wikimedia Commons

#18. Clinton County

- Median household income: $32,184
--- 36.4% below state median, 48.8% below national median
- Households earning over $100k: 10.1%
--- #2,992 highest rate among all counties nationwide
- Households earning less than $15k: 20.7%
--- #232 highest rate among all counties nationwide

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W.marsh // Wikimedia Commons

#17. Jackson County

- Median household income: $32,138
--- 36.5% below state median, 48.9% below national median
- Households earning over $100k: 8.9%
--- #3,060 highest rate among all counties nationwide
- Households earning less than $15k: 26.5%
--- #54 highest rate among all counties nationwide

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Nyttend // Wikimedia Commons

#16. Estill County

- Median household income: $31,688
--- 37.4% below state median, 49.6% below national median
- Households earning over $100k: 7.7%
--- #3,103 highest rate among all counties nationwide
- Households earning less than $15k: 26.6%
--- #53 highest rate among all counties nationwide

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Nyttend // Wikimedia Commons

#15. Leslie County

- Median household income: $31,627
--- 37.5% below state median, 49.7% below national median
- Households earning over $100k: 3.6%
--- #3,141 highest rate among all counties nationwide
- Households earning less than $15k: 27.8%
--- #39 highest rate among all counties nationwide

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Nyttend // Wikimedia Commons

#14. Knott County

- Median household income: $31,198
--- 38.3% below state median, 50.4% below national median
- Households earning over $100k: 7.6%
--- #3,105 highest rate among all counties nationwide
- Households earning less than $15k: 24.2%
--- #103 highest rate among all counties nationwide

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C. Bedford Crenshaw // Wikimedia Commons

#13. Lewis County

- Median household income: $31,147
--- 38.4% below state median, 50.4% below national median
- Households earning over $100k: 9.5%
--- #3,026 highest rate among all counties nationwide
- Households earning less than $15k: 24.0%
--- #107 highest rate among all counties nationwide

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JERRYE & ROY KLOTZ MD // Wikimedia Commons

#12. Owsley County

- Median household income: $30,284
--- 40.1% below state median, 51.8% below national median
- Households earning over $100k: 11.3%
--- #2,872 highest rate among all counties nationwide
- Households earning less than $15k: 31.3%
--- #13 highest rate among all counties nationwide

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Nyttend // Wikimedia Commons

#11. Knox County

- Median household income: $30,181
--- 40.3% below state median, 52.0% below national median
- Households earning over $100k: 8.6%
--- #3,075 highest rate among all counties nationwide
- Households earning less than $15k: 31.4%
--- #12 highest rate among all counties nationwide

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Calvin Beale // Wikimedia Commons

#10. Fulton County

- Median household income: $30,114
--- 40.5% below state median, 52.1% below national median
- Households earning over $100k: 8.3%
--- #3,081 highest rate among all counties nationwide
- Households earning less than $15k: 26.3%
--- #59 highest rate among all counties nationwide

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Nyttend // Wikimedia Commons

#9. Letcher County

- Median household income: $29,886
--- 40.9% below state median, 52.4% below national median
- Households earning over $100k: 10.4%
--- #2,965 highest rate among all counties nationwide
- Households earning less than $15k: 25.4%
--- #68 highest rate among all counties nationwide

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Nyttend // Wikimedia Commons

#8. Magoffin County

- Median household income: $28,147
--- 44.4% below state median, 55.2% below national median
- Households earning over $100k: 7.1%
--- #3,115 highest rate among all counties nationwide
- Households earning less than $15k: 25.7%
--- #65 highest rate among all counties nationwide

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Kybluegrass // Wikimedia Commons

#7. McCreary County

- Median household income: $28,105
--- 44.4% below state median, 55.3% below national median
- Households earning over $100k: 6.9%
--- #3,117 highest rate among all counties nationwide
- Households earning less than $15k: 26.9%
--- #49 highest rate among all counties nationwide

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Nyttend // Wikimedia Commons

#6. Breathitt County

- Median household income: $27,344
--- 45.9% below state median, 56.5% below national median
- Households earning over $100k: 10.1%
--- #2,992 highest rate among all counties nationwide
- Households earning less than $15k: 32.2%
--- #10 highest rate among all counties nationwide

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Nyttend // Wikimedia Commons

#5. Clay County

- Median household income: $26,840
--- 46.9% below state median, 57.3% below national median
- Households earning over $100k: 6.2%
--- #3,125 highest rate among all counties nationwide
- Households earning less than $15k: 29.5%
--- #19 highest rate among all counties nationwide

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W.marsh // Wikimedia Commons

#4. Harlan County

- Median household income: $26,478
--- 47.7% below state median, 57.9% below national median
- Households earning over $100k: 6.1%
--- #3,127 highest rate among all counties nationwide
- Households earning less than $15k: 28.8%
--- #27 highest rate among all counties nationwide

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Nyttend // Wikimedia Commons

#3. Bell County

- Median household income: $26,272
--- 48.1% below state median, 58.2% below national median
- Households earning over $100k: 4.8%
--- #3,140 highest rate among all counties nationwide
- Households earning less than $15k: 29.2%
--- #21 highest rate among all counties nationwide

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W.marsh // Wikimedia Commons

#2. Lee County

- Median household income: $25,275
--- 50.0% below state median, 59.8% below national median
- Households earning over $100k: 6.6%
--- #3,121 highest rate among all counties nationwide
- Households earning less than $15k: 31.2%
--- #15 highest rate among all counties nationwide

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Nyttend // Wikimedia Commons

#1. Wolfe County

- Median household income: $24,623
--- 51.3% below state median, 60.8% below national median
- Households earning over $100k: 5.6%
--- #3,131 highest rate among all counties nationwide
- Households earning less than $15k: 29.1%
--- #22 highest rate among all counties nationwide

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