The West Virginia Center on Budget and Policy says incomes in the resource-rich state continue to lag behind the nation, faulting in part a “trickle-down” approach to state economic policy that puts more power and money in the hands of a wealthy few.
According to the center, West Virginia has historically been one of the poorest states, a trend continuing in 2015 with per capita personal income of $37,047 that was nearly $11,000 below the national average.
The research group cites recent economic weakness from the collapse in natural gas prices and declines in coal production, manufacturing, construction and the utilities sector.
It also cites both historical and ongoing outside ownership of much of West Virginia’s land and mineral resources.
The statewide poverty rate was almost 18 percent last year.