CHARLESTON, W.Va. -- Slightly more West Virginians fell below the poverty line last year than the year before, according to a report released Thursday from the U.S. Census Bureau.
The state's poverty rate was 18.6 percent in 2011, up from 18.1 percent the year before, according to the Census Bureau's 2011 American Community Survey.
West Virginia is the second-poorest state in the nation, according to an assessment of the census data by 24 /7 Wall Street. The state's median household income in 2011 was $38,482 -- lower than every state except Mississippi's $36,919.
West Virginia ranked 10th highest for poverty in the nation, according to an analysis of the report by the West Virginia Center on Budget and Policy, a left-leaning economic think tank. The center released a statement outlining highlights of the report.
West Virginia's child poverty rate was 25.8 percent last year, compared to 25.5 percent the year before. The state ranked 12th highest in the nation for child poverty.
The poverty level for black West Virginians was 34.8 percent, up from 29.1 percent in 2010 and 16.2 percent higher than the overall state average.
The poverty rate for state residents over age 65 was 9.4 percent last year, down from 9.9 percent in 2010.
The poverty rate among state residents who have a bachelor's degree or higher was 4.1 percent. For those who only have a high school diploma, the poverty rate was 15.4 percent.
The report showed that 14.9 percent of West Virginians ages 18-64 -- 272,287 residents -- did not have health insurance last year. That number was up 0.3 percent from 2010.
Ted Boettner, executive director of the West Virginia Center for Budget and Policy, said the state should expand Medicaid under the Affordable Care Act to combat poverty in the state.
"The expansion of Medicaid to over 120,000 West Virginians will be the biggest step that we've taken to help struggling families in West Virginia in the last 40 to 50 years," Boettner said. "It's huge."