Money Problems? Arizona Ranks 40th in Per-Capita Income

Arizona apparently deserves its reputatation as a mecca for low-paying jobs, ranking 40th in an economic analysis among states for per-capita income.

The U.S. Bureau of Economic Analysis reports, according to the Biz Journal this morning, that the average income for state residents if $34,999 -- "well below the national average of $40,584."

It could always be worse. Thankfully, the deep south and other western states keep Arizona from settling to the bottom. Advancing a smidgen up the ladder since 2009, we beat out the likes of Indiana, Kentucky and -- at No. 50 -- the Third World state of Mississippi.

We should strive to do better. A neat comparison of state economies in a January Economist piece shows that Arizona's country-equivalent, going by gross domestic product and other factors, is Thailand.

While it's astounding to think Arizona as a whole is as rich as a country with ten times the population, it's all relative. California, (12th on the per-capita list despite its budget problems) matches with Italy in the Economist comparison.

Yeah, we'd trade a rice bowl for a meaty panini.

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Ray Stern has worked as a newspaper reporter in Arizona for more than two decades. He's won numerous awards for his reporting, including the Arizona Press Club's Don Bolles Award for Investigative Journalism.