Just squint, it will look better
It is always fun to see where Alaska ranks in various categories among the 50 states. While it does not do all that well when it comes to crime, education or the economy, it is not all bad news. When it comes to the richest-poorest-by-household-income comparison, we come out almost OK – if you close one eye and squint hard.
USA Today did such a ranking and Alaska placed seventh, behind Maryland, which ranked first, and then New Jersey, Hawaii, Massachusetts, Connecticut and New Hampshire. It placed just ahead of California.
The newspaper pegged Alaska’s median household income at $73,181; its population at 739,795, the nation’s third-lowest. Unemployment was the highest in the country at 7.2 percent and the poverty rate was 11.1 percent, 15th lowest among the 50 states.
“Though Alaska still has one of the highest median household incomes, several key economic indicators paint a dire picture of the state’s economy,” USA Today reported “The state is tied with South Dakota for the largest increase in unemployment rate at 0.3 percent. Alaska now has a 7.2 percent unemployment rate — the highest of any state.
“Alaska’s median household income dropped more than any other state from 2016 to 2017, and by a significant margin. The state’s $73,181 median is $4,722 less than it was the previous year. No other state experienced a drop above $1,300. In 2016, Alaska’s $77,903 median income was good for second among all states.”
The “dire picture of the state’s economy,” part, along with the household income sinking more than any other state part of the newspaper report is troubling. Maybe stripping away half the Permanent Fund dividend from families during a recession is having an effect.
With numbers like those listed by USA Today, Alaska is starting to look like a state governed by Democrats, places where squinting is absolutely mandatory.