Fewer South Carolinians are living in poverty, according to a new report by the U.S. Census Bureau.
The Census data shows that 16.6 percent of the state’s residents, or more than 790,000 people, had earnings below the poverty level last year.
That was a a drop of 1.3 percentage points and is the third-largest in the country, according to the Census Bureau. Only Vermont and Tennessee had larger decreases. Last year was also the lowest that South Carolina’s poverty rate has been since 2008. The Charleston Post and Courier first reported the data.
Median pay varies, according to estimates. Census data show that some South Carolina workers got a raise last year. An average worker in South Carolina made $47,238 in 2015, which is a 1.3 percent increase when adjusted for inflation. However, that would still be among the lowest in the country.
The improvement in South Carolina’s poverty rate parallels a drop in the national rate. Officials said the U.S. rate posted its biggest decline since 1999, though it is still higher than pre-recession levels.