Spending on Social Welfare Programs in Rich and Poor States. Final Report.. West Virginia

07/01/2004

Population (July 2003): 1.8 Million

Total State Expenditures - SFY 2002: $8,150 Million (US Total: $1,073,816 Million)

TANF Expenditures - SFY 2002 (% of total): 2.5 % (US: 1.3%)

Medicaid Expenditures - SFY 2002 (% of total): 19.8 % (US: 20.8%)

(Source: U.S. Department of Commerce, Census Bureau and NASBO 2002 State Expenditure Report)

West Virginia's per capita personal income has been one of the lowest in the nation for the past twenty years. West Virginia did not benefit as much as other states from the economic boom of the late 1990s probably because its personal income tax is not as heavily dependent on the stock market. The recent projected state budget deficits for SFYs 2004 and 2005 have forced state officials to make difficult cuts.

West Virginia is also a high need state by most standards. The state's poverty rate has been one of the highest in the nation since 1995. Unemployment in West Virginia has also been consistently higher than the national rate, although it has decreased from 6.6 percent in 1998 to 4.8 percent in 2001, and again increased to 6.1 percent in 2003. West Virginia's labor force participation rate is especially low, ranging from 50 to 55 percent since 1995, compared to 63 to 65 percent for the nation. This may reflect large number of unemployed individuals who have stopped looking for work, as well as an aging population.

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