The Struggles of Madison County: Idaho's Poorest


Idaho's Madison County is home to about 5,000 families. Its population is 95 percent white and was settled by members of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. One hundred years ago this month, Madison County was created after first being part of neighboring Fremont County. It was named for the fourth president of the U.S., James Madison.

It's also the poorest county in Idaho, according to a new report titled, "The Poorest County in Each State," from 24/7 Wall Street.

According to the study, Madison County's median household income between 2009 and 2013 was $32,059, compared to the state level of $46,767. The poverty rate between the same years hovered near 36 percent.

The report says that in spite of the low incomes, Madison County residents had relatively high educational attainment rates—nearly 95 percent of its adult population have a high-school diploma and nearly 34 percent had completed at least a bachelor's degree. But fewer than half of the housing units in Madison County are owned by their occupants.

Madison County came in No. 12 on the report of the nation's poorest counties.