» more from Economy

9. South Carolina

Median household income: $43,107
Population: 4,723,723

The last few years have been hard on South Carolina. In 2000, 1 out of every 6 South Carolinians was in poverty; in 2012 it was 1 out of every 5. During that time, nearly 300,000 residents fell below the poverty line.

"In the Carolinas, we've lost a lot of textile jobs, which typically employ people with less than a college education," Winthrop University economics professor Laura Ullrich told WBTV recently. "We need to be training more engineers, more mathematicians and more scientists so we're ready for the new high-tech jobs. We want those jobs to come here and not go elsewhere," she added.

That may be a bit of a challenge. South Carolina was ranked 47th in high school graduations. And according to the Children's Defense Fund, only 27 percent of eighth graders can read at an eighth-grade level.

The Palmetto State isn't the best in health either. In many categories, it's just the opposite. South Carolina's adult obesity rate is 31.6 percent. Only 13 states are above 30 percent. It's 47th in low infant birth weight; and 46th in overall health, up from 45th in 2011.

James Robinson | E+ | Getty Images