- Lake County
- Iosco County
- Montmorency County
- Clare County
- Gogebic County
- Ontonagon County
- Oscoda County
- Alpena County
- Roscommon County
- Ogemaw County
- Baraga County
- Isabella County
- Osceola County
- Genesee County
Lake County, the poorest county in Michigan, was established by the Michigan Legislature in 1840 as Aishcum County, later renamed in 1843 for its abundance of lakes. With a median household income of $45,946 and a poverty rate of 22.9%, the county faces economic challenges.
Home to a population of 12,308, the community grapples with the impact of poverty on its residents, emphasizing the need for targeted initiatives to uplift and support the local population.
Iosco County, the second one on the list, is in the middle of Lake Huron's "Sunrise Side." It has a population of 25,369, with most people living near US-23 along the Lake Huron shoreline. The median household income is $46,224, but the poverty rate stands at 18.2%. The county faces economic challenges, and efforts to improve living conditions and boost the local economy are crucial for its residents.
Montmorency County, found in the northeastern part of Michigan's lower peninsula, is another economically challenged county in the state. With a median household income of $46,345 and a poverty rate of 16.3%, the county faces economic difficulties.
Despite its scenic beauty and 9,297 residents, the county encounters challenges due to its economic struggles. Notably, Montmorency County is characterized by its abundant water resources, boasting 248 lakes and reservoirs that cover 14.8 square miles, contributing to its natural allure and potential for tourism development.
Clare County, a poor county in Michigan, has a median household income of $47,816 and a poverty rate of 17.2%. The population is 31,065. Despite economic challenges, Clare County boasts attractions like Kirtland's Warbler Habitat and Festival, where nature lovers can explore the unique bird habitat. Additionally, outdoor enthusiasts can enjoy the Michigan Shore-to-Shore Trail, providing opportunities for hiking and exploration.
Gogebic County, ranking fifth on our list, is the westernmost county in Michigan. Home to 14,361 people, the county has a median household income of $47,913, with a 16.8% poverty rate. Notably, Gogebic County is among the four Michigan counties in the Central Time Zone, adding a unique characteristic to its identity.
Next on our list of the poorest counties in Michigan is Ontonagon County. Established in 1843 and organized in 1848, the county has a population of 5,868. The median household income is $48,316, with a poverty rate of 14.3%. Notably, Ontonagon County holds the distinction of being the westernmost county in the United States that lies within the Eastern Time Zone.
Oscoda County, the seventh poorest county in Michigan, is a small place with 8,311 people. It's the least populated county in the Lower Peninsula and the sixth-least populated in the whole state. People here make a median household income of $48,692, but the poverty rate is 18%. Despite its size, Oscoda County faces economic challenges, reflecting the struggles experienced by its residents.
Alpena County, the eighth poorest county in Michigan, is part of Northern Michigan. With a population of 28,893, the county has a median household income of $49,133 and a poverty rate of 15.6%.
Despite its economic challenges, Alpena County boasts seven recognized historical markers, reflecting its rich history and cultural significance. The county's residents face economic struggles, but efforts to address these challenges and preserve its heritage contribute to a resilient community.
Roscommon County, the next on the list of poorest counties in Michigan, has a median household income of $49,898 and a population of 23,633. The community is located around two big lakes, surrounded by vast state forests.
Despite its scenic setting, the county faces economic challenges, with a poverty rate of 16.3%. The residents grapple with financial difficulties, emphasizing the need for targeted efforts to improve economic conditions in this picturesque yet struggling Michigan county.
Ogemaw County, located in Michigan, is another poor county facing economic challenges. It was first established by the Michigan Legislature in 1840. With a median household income of $50,377 and a poverty rate of 16.4%, many residents grapple with financial difficulties. The county has a population of 20,726, highlighting the impact of economic struggles on a significant portion of its residents.
Baraga County, another poor county in Michigan, has a median household income of $51,911 and a poverty rate of 14.2%. With a population of 8,215, the county is named after Bishop Frederic Baraga, a Catholic missionary who helped the Ojibwa Indians in the Michigan Territory.
Despite its natural beauty and historical roots, Baraga County faces economic challenges, reflecting the broader struggle of certain communities in Michigan to overcome poverty and build sustainable livelihoods.
Isabella County, another poor county in Michigan, has a median household income of $52,638 and a poverty rate of 19.4%. With a population of 64,813, the area was originally known as Ojibiway Besse, meaning "the place of the Ojibwa." Despite its historical roots, the county faces economic challenges reflected in its income and poverty statistics.
Osceola County, the penultimate county on our list of poorest counties in Michigan, was established by the Michigan Legislature on April 1, 1840, with the name Unwattin County. With a median household income of $54,875 and a poverty rate of 15.7%, the county faces economic challenges.
The population is 23,105, and despite the economic struggles, there are several community colleges and universities within a 50-mile radius, providing educational opportunities for residents.
Genesee County, which wraps up our list of poorest counties in Michigan, is noteworthy for being home to the fossil of an ancient whale called Balaenoptera Lacepede. Interestingly, the county got its name from Genesee County, New York. With a median household income of $58,594, a poverty rate of 16.4%, and a population of 404,208, Genesee County faces economic challenges, but its unique history and natural discoveries add distinctive aspects to its character.