A new income survey from Business Insider has found that Montana has the lowest median income for millennials — those born between 1981 and 1997 — amongst the 50 states and the District of Columbia.
The survey used data based on Minnesota Population Center’s 2014 “American Community Survey” in the Integrated Public Use Microdata Series, and and the Pew Research Center’s definition of millenials to find that the median yearly wage for an employed millennial in Montana is just $18,o00.
Idaho was the next lowest at $19,000. Millennials do best in the District of Columbia, where the median income for that age group is $43,000.
The findings also compared the states’ overall median personal income to their millennial median. Montana also was found to have one of the lowest median personal incomes, at $30,000 a year, along with Mississippi, Arkansas, Idaho, and New Mexico.
Low overall wages are seen as one of Montana’s primary economic challenges, with politicians, businesses, activists, and interest groups from both sides of the aisle seeking ways to raise overall wages. Another analysis of 2013 tax returns found that Montanans earned an average of $33,180, good for 49th in the nation.
As some of Montana’s historically significant industries such as timber and mining have been declining — both due to market forces and government policies — the gap has been filled by tourism and retail industries which typically offer much lower wages.