Where does Shelby County rank among wealthiest counties?

Published 11:43 am Thursday, January 10, 2019

By NEAL WAGNER / Managing Editor

Shelby County is the wealthiest county in Alabama, and boasts a much lower poverty rate and higher income than the rest of the state, according to a study recently conducted by the 24/7 Wall Street website.

On Jan. 9, the site released its ranking of the wealthiest and poorest counties in each state in the nation, and Shelby County topped the list for Alabama.

“Alabama is one of the poorest states in the country. The state’s median annual household income of $46,472 is more than $11,000 below the U.S. median,” read the site. “Alabama also has one of the highest poverty rates of all states at 18 percent.”

“The residents of Shelby County, which is located just south of Birmingham, tend to be much more affluent. Most households earn more than $74,000 a year, and just 8.3 percent of residents live in poverty. The county’s higher incomes are likely bolstered by a strong job market. The county’s unemployment rate of 2.8 percent is well below the state’s 4.1 percent unemployment rate.”

The website attributed the county’s strong population growth over the past several years to its strong economic standing.

“Likely because of its relative prosperity and strong job market, Shelby County’s population is growing at a faster pace than the state’s population growth rate,” read the site. “In the past five years, the county’s population grew by 6.9 percent, more than four times the rate of Alabama’s population growth as a whole.

To view the listing of the wealthiest county in every state, visit 247wallst.com/special-report/2019/01/09/the-richest-county-in-every-state-3/2/.

In contrast, Alabama’s poorest county is Sumter County in the western part of the state. It posts a median household income of about $22,000, a 36 percent poverty rate and a 5.3 percent unemployment rate, according to the website.

“Like many other counties on this list, Sumter is shrinking rapidly,” read the website. “In the last five years, the county’s population shrunk by 4.3 percent, even as Alabama’s population as a whole grew by 1.5 percent. Now home to 13,000 people, the county’s population has fallen steadily since it peaked at nearly 33,000 in 1900.”