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The Spokesman-Review Newspaper
Spokane, Washington  Est. May 19, 1883

Income down, poverty up in Idaho, Washington

Idaho families saw their take-home pay drop nearly 5 percent last year – one of the steepest declines in the nation. New reports today from the U.S. Census Bureau show that median income in Idaho fell by 4.9 percent from 2008 to 2009. By comparison, income fell 1.7 percent for Washington households and declined 2.9 percent nationally. Based on the Census Bureau’s 2009 American Community Surveys, the median household income was $44,926 in Idaho, $56,548 in Washington and, nationwide, $50,221. Maryland had the highest median household income, at $69,272. The lowest was in Mississippi, with $36,646.
Idaho poverty rate matches national average
Poverty levels rose in most states last year, with 42.9 million Americans – 14.3 percent of the U.S. population – living in poverty, the Census Bureau reported. In Idaho, the number of people living below the poverty threshold in 2009 rose to 216,115, or 14.3 percent of the state’s population. That’s up from 191,704 people, or 12.9 percent, in 2008, the agency said. Washington had 804,237 people living in poverty last year, or 12.3 percent of the population. The year before that, the number was 731,115, or 11.4 percent.
Idaho women among nation’s lowest paid
Another new report from the Census Bureau shows that women in Idaho are among the nation’s lowest wage earners. Median earnings for Idaho women were $29,122 last year – 72 percent of the $40,440 median earnings for men. Women are paid less in just five states, including Montana. In Washington, women earn 75.1 percent of what men make. Median earnings last year were $38,521 for women and $51,305 for men.