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3. West Virginia

Median household income: $40,196
Population: 1,855,413

More than 320,000 West Virginians lived in poverty in 2012, including nearly 90,000 children. Although those below the poverty line decreased by nearly a full percentage point compared with 2011, nearly 1 out of every 5 residents in the state lived in poverty and almost 10 percent of the state lived in extreme poverty.

Last year was especially tough for African-Americans in West Virginia. At 37.4 percent, their poverty rate was nearly 20 points higher than the state average (17.8 percent).

"It's been five years since the recession, and too many West Virginians remain living in poverty," Sean O'Leary, fiscal policy analyst with the West Virginia Center on Budget and Policy, said in a statement. "State leaders need to think of these families and their children when setting the state's priorities."

Even though the median income in West Virginia increased by about $900 in 2012, the overall increase over the last three years is a stagnant 0.31 percent. Nearly 60 percent of West Virginians made less than $50,000 in 2012.

Henryk Sadura | Getty Images