CONCORD, N.H. (AP) – New Hampshire appears to have the nation’s lowest poverty rate and is near the top for household income, according to U.S. Census Bureau numbers released Friday.

However, neither the poverty rate nor income levels improved during the first three years of the century.

The bureau estimated that 5.6 percent of New Hampshire residents, on average, lived below the poverty level in the three years 2000, 2001 and 2002. That’s the nation’s lowest poverty rate, but the statistical margin of error of plus or minus 0.8 percentage points means the rankings aren’t ironclad.

Minnesota had the second-lowest poverty rate, 6.5 percent.

The state’s poverty rate was essentially unchanged during the three years.

In the bottom half among states were Vermont, at $42,000, and Maine, at $38,000.

The bureau estimated that median annual income for New Hampshire households in 2000, 2001 and 2002 was $54,000, with a margin of error of plus or minus roughly $1,200. Median means half of households had more income and half had less.

The figure is the among the highest in the country, behind Maryland, Alaska and Minnesota, and just ahead of Connecticut, New Jersey and Delaware.

However, the relatively large margin of error makes ranking the states difficult, the bureau warned.

Household income in Connecticut and Massachusetts was in the same range as New Hampshire’s statistically. Rhode Island’s estimated income level was $44,000, still in the top half of states. In the bottom half among states were Vermont, at $42,000, and Maine, at $38,000.

The income figures were adjusted for inflation. The only New England state to show a statistically significant change in household income during the period was Maine, where household income fell by an estimated $1,000.



On the Net:

Census Bureau:

http://www.census.gov/Press-Release/www/2003/IncomePoverty.html

AP-ES-09-26-03 1847EDT



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