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Top 10 US States Facing Financial Hardships



Image source: Getty Images

It’s important to note that financial challenges can vary greatly depending on various factors, such as cost of living, job availability, and state policies. Today we’re going to talk about the most financially challenged states in America.

According to new research, the experts at Uplift Legal Funding looked at six different factors related to personal finances in all 50 states and gave each state an Index score out of 10. These factors included how much annual income people in each state spend and save. They also included household debt-to-income ratios, personal bankruptcy rates, and the number of Google searches related to savings and debt in each state.

1. Montana


Montana. Credit: Getty Images/iStockphoto

As per recent statistics, with a score of 25.6 out of 100, Montana was named the U.S. state in greatest need of financial aid. One of the contributing factors to this score is the high percentage of annual income residents use for essential living expenses. In fact, at 94.9%, Montana ranks third highest in the nation in this metric. Despite this, it seems that Montanans are still looking for ways to save money.

With 308.1 searches per 100,000 residents on Google for money-saving tips, it’s clear that residents are feeling the financial squeeze. However, the situation becomes even more challenging when considering Montana’s household debt-to-income ratio, which is the third highest in the country at 1.72. This means that residents owe significantly more than they earn annually.

There is no surprise that Montanans also turn to Google for assistance with their debt. According to Google searches related to debt, Montana ranks second in the United States at 548.6 searches per 100,000 residents. Could Montana improve its financial situation and alleviate the economic hardships of its residents by taking the following steps?

2. Maine

Maine. Credit: Getty Images

The second state in need of financial assistance is Maine, which scored 27 out of 100. Shockingly, residents only have 3.4% of disposable income to save due to their high annual average consumption of 96.6%. But what makes Maine residents more determined to find ways to save? With 321.9 searches per 100,000 residents, they always seek money-saving tips.

Additionally, this state ranks third highest for debt-related Google searches, with 521.2 searches per 100,000 residents. However, despite these alarming statistics, Maine has the third lowest personal bankruptcy rate of 47.7 per 100,000 inhabitants.

Maine’s Tough Spot With Energy: A Recap Of Last Year’s Challenges

According to Central Maine News, Maine was in a tough spot regarding energy last year. Around 70,000 low-income households needed help paying their electric bills, but less than half were getting the assistance they needed. And even for those who were getting some help, it wasn’t enough to make electricity affordable for most people. So, with winter coming up and energy costs on the rise, many families were in danger of being cold and unsafe. And let’s be honest, just sealing up your house won’t pay for those high energy bills.

But wait, it gets worse! The Public Utilities Commission (PUC) announced a big increase in the Standard Offer supply price for CMP and Versant customers. So, what does that mean for low-income households? Not great news, that’s for sure.

Luckily, there’s a bit of a silver lining: the Council recently issued its first annual report with some recommendations for legislative and regulatory action to provide more assistance to low-income ratepayers. They’re talking about increasing annual assistance from around $17 million to about $60 million to make electricity affordable for everyone who needs it within a reasonable timeframe. Now that’s more like it!

3. Missouri


Missouri. Credit: Getty Images/iStockphoto

Have you ever wondered which U.S. state has the highest personal bankruptcy rate? Well, let me introduce you to Missouri, the third-ranked state with a score of 28.8 out of 100. Despite having a lower household debt-to-income ratio of 1.24, lower than most states, Missouri boasts the second-highest personal bankruptcy rate of 251.1 per 100,000 residents. That’s right, folks – only Alabama has a higher bankruptcy rate!

So, what makes Missouri stand out in terms of financial struggles? It turns out that residents in Missouri file for bankruptcy more than any other state (besides Alabama, of course). With a high annual average consumption rate of 91.2%, residents are left with only 8.8% of their income to save. Yikes! How does this compare to other states?

Breaking The Cycle Of Poverty: How The Working Families Bill Provides Real Opportunities

Last year, something pretty awesome happened in Missouri. The Working Families Bill was created with cash from the American Rescue Plan Act (ARPA). You know, the stimulus check thingy? Well, this program allocated $52 million to create the first guaranteed basic income program in Missouri. That’s right, $5 million dollars was put aside for a pilot program that gave $500 per month for 18 months to about 440 households.

Now, you might be thinking, what about the rest of the ARPA funding? Well, let me tell you, money is being used well. They’re using it to expand healthcare access and invest in public safety by creating new youth opportunities. That’s what I call investing in the community!

Now, here’s what it takes to qualify for those sweet, sweet payments.

  • First, you have to be a parent or legal guardian of a kid who’s enrolled in a St. Louis City public school.
  • Second, you have to have been negatively impacted by COVID-19 (who hasn’t, amirite?).
  • Third, your household income needs to be at or below 170% of the federal poverty level based on family size.

The best part? You are free to use the money for whatever you need it for. That means you can pursue higher-paying jobs, pay off debts, and cover childcare expenses. Board of Aldermen President Megan Green said it best; this bill is the chance to break the cycle of poverty for these families. That’s what we call a win-win situation.

4. Delaware


Delaware. Credit: Getty Images

Are you living in Delaware and feeling the financial pinch? Well, you’re not alone. In fact, with a score of 31.6 out of 100, Delaware ranks fourth among the U.S. states that need the most financial assistance. But why is that the case, you ask? It turns out that Delaware residents have an average annual consumption rate of 97.4%, leaving them with just 2.6% of disposable income to save.

Unsurprisingly, the state has a high number of Google searches about saving money, with 372.2 searches per 100,000 individuals. What are the best ways to stretch your dollar and maximize your income? That’s something to consider.

5. Alabama

Alabama. Credit: Getty Images

According to the data, Alabama is the fifth state in need of financial help, scoring 32 out of 100. Despite residents spending an average of 87.9% of their income, Alabama ranked first for the personal bankruptcy rate. At 296.4 per 100,000 residents, Alabama had the highest bankruptcy rate of any other state. It was also the fourth least likely state to Google ways to save money, at 226.8 searches per 100,000 residents.

6. Oregon

Oregon. Credit: PureWow

All right, let’s jazz up this report on Oregon’s financial status! Oregon is coming in hot at number six on the list of states that could use some extra cash, with a score of 34 out of 100. Surprisingly, even though Oregonians make less money on average, they still rank third in the country for their debt-to-income ratio.

And get this – they’re also the fourth most avid Googlers of debt relief tips, with a whopping 476.6 searches per 100,000 residents!

The Impact Of The Pandemic On Oregon’s Financially Insecure Households

Did you know that almost half of Oregon’s households can’t afford to meet their basic needs? Yeah, that’s right! According to a recent report by United Ways of the Pacific Northwest and United for ALICE, 44% of households, or about 744,895, are considered in poverty or ALICE. ALICE stands for Asset Limited, Income Constrained, Employed, and they earn above the Federal Poverty Level. However, they still can’t afford to cover basic living expenses. And guess what? The number of financially insecure households in Oregon has increased by a whopping 42,000 during the first two years of the pandemic, which is a 6% increase from 2019 to 2021.

So if you’re feeling the pinch in your wallet, rest assured that you’re not the only one – the good folks of Oregon are right there with you, searching high and low for ways to ease the debt burden.

7. Utah


Utah. Credit: DANIEL SLIM/AFP via Getty Images

Hold on to your wallets, folks, because Utah is in seventh place on the list of the most financially strapped states in the U.S.! Scoring 34.7 out of 100, Utah’s personal bankruptcy rate is a whopping 167.1, earning it the dubious distinction of having the twelfth-highest bankruptcy rate in the country.

But wait, there’s more – Utah also has the third-highest debt-to-income ratio at 1.72, which isn’t exactly something to write home about. And if that wasn’t bad enough, the state also ranks fifth in the nation for debt-related Google searches, with 494.9 searches per 100,000 residents. So, if you’re living in Utah, consider budgeting and look for ways to reduce those debts!

8. Florida

Florida. Credit: ULora/iStock/Getty Images Plus/Getty Images

It looks like the Sunshine State, Florida, could use a little financial sunshine of its own! According to recent data, it’s the eighth state in the good ol’ U.S. that could use some aid, scoring 35.9 out of 100 on the financial assistance scale. At a whopping 92%, it’s the seventh highest in the nation for average annual income consumption! That’s a lot of dough being spent!

But here’s the kicker – despite only saving an average of 8% of their income, Florida is the tenth least likely state to search for ways to save money, with only 241.6 searches per 100,000 residents. And if that wasn’t enough to make you say, “Holy debt, Batman,” the state also ranks fourth in the nation for household debt-to-income ratio, with a score of 1.60. It’s time for some financial sunshine to shine on the Sunshine State!

9. Arizona


Arizona. Credit: iStock / Getty Images Plus / dszc

Alright, let’s take a closer look at Grand Canyon State’s financial situation. Coming in at ninth place on the list, Arizona scored 37.8 out of 100, which may not seem like much, but there’s more to the story! With a household debt-to-income ratio of 1.72, it’s the third highest in the nation!

Arizona is also known for its high annual average consumption rate, coming in at 90.6%, which puts it eleventh on the list. In other words, residents have an average remaining disposable income of 9.4%. So, while there’s room for improvement, Arizonians are certainly not strangers to living it up!

10. South Carolina

South Carolina. Credit: HD Auston Moving

South Carolina lagged in the race for financial fitness, securing a lowly 10th position with a score of just 38 out of 100. The Palmetto State recorded the least number of Google searches for saving money, with a measly 213.5 searches per 100,000 residents. To add to the misery, an eye-watering 92.2% of its annual income goes into consumption, leaving its citizens with 7.8% of disposable income to squirrel away for a rainy day.

It is important that we come together and offer our assistance to those who are struggling in South Carolina and other parts of the country. By doing so, we can contribute to the betterment of our nation as a whole.

South Carolina Housing’s COVID Rescue Plan Funds

Wow, the pandemic really did a number on people’s finances, didn’t it? But did you know that there’s help out there for homeowners who are struggling to keep their homes? Last year, South Carolina Housing made more than $100 million in COVID rescue plan funds available to those still recovering from the pandemic. That’s a lot of money!

Take Rosalyn Rodgers, for example. She’s a homeowner in Columbia who bought her house two decades ago. Back then, things were simpler. She just went to the bank, made the down payment, and boom! House bought. But today, it’s a different story. It’s harder to save for a house and mortgage payments, especially for young people with children. Rosalyn said she felt sorry for them. And she’s not the only one feeling the impact of the pandemic on the housing market.

You see, the negative factors of the pandemic have impacted people seeking homeownership in a seller’s market. That means there’s a limited supply for buyers, making it harder to find a home. But it also impacts homeowners themselves. Since 2020, many have lost jobs or loved ones who were the primary source of income in their households. And all of these factors put homes in jeopardy. It’s tough out there, but thankfully, there are resources available to help those who need them.

Who’s Searching For Ways To Save And Get Out Of Debt In The US?

Get ready to hear about some states nailing their Google searches for financial advice!

Regarding debt-to-income ratios, Hawaii and Idaho top the charts at 2.06, with Maryland not far behind at 1.84. But who’s searching for ways to save and how to get out of debt? Well, it turns out that North Dakota leads the way in both categories, with 545 searches per 100,000 residents for saving-related terms and 550.5 searches per 100,000 residents for debt-related terms. It looks like the Peace Garden State is on a mission to keep its finances in check!

Financially Alarming: Consumer Debt Levels Soar By 7% Last Year, Says ‘Uplift Legal Funding’ Spokesperson

According to a recent statement from a spokesperson from Uplift Legal Funding, consumer debt levels skyrocketed by 7% last year! And what’s even more concerning is that the largest percentage increases were for personal loans and credit card balances. Total personal loan balances increased by 18.3%, while credit card balances increased by 16%. That’s a lot of money owed!

The spokesperson adds, “In the current economic climate, it is to be expected that U.S. citizens are turning to search engines like Google to better discover ways to alleviate debt and save money faster. With consumer debt levels rising in line with the cost-of-living and inflation, the research aims to highlight the importance of living within means and creating personal finance plans.”

“Debt can be overwhelming, but there are various steps individuals can take towards alleviating it including negotiating lower interest rates and applying for 0% balance transfer credit cards. It is important not to ignore it.”

To those facing financial hardships, staying motivated and striving forward is essential. Remember, you’re not alone in this situation, and giving up now would mean all the progress you’ve made so far would go to waste. So keep going and never lose hope!

Written by Nikiya Biggs | LinkedIn | Instagram | Twitter

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Experienced, dedicated, and goal-oriented writer with a flair for producing informative and captivating content. Experience spanning 5+ years in writing includes correct grammar, fact-checking, and adaptability. Throughout my life, I've been exposed to many opportunities. I have played the piano, participated in many recitals, and won numerous awards throughout my life. I have been honing my writing skills for years in my spare time. As an example, I have completed writing exercises and created my own stories in this regard.

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