One in three West Virginians live in areas where there is "gross poverty," with their neighbors falling below the poverty line.

WV has the fifth-highest rate in the country, according to a new US Census report.

The poverty level is based on a sliding scale depending on a family's size. In 1999, the poverty threshold was about $8,500 in annual income for an individual under 65 years old, or about $13,400 dollars for a family of four.

The study of 1999 census tracts, described as small statistical subdivisions of counties averaging about four-thousand inhabitants, - found that 33.8% percent of West Virginia residents lived in these so-called "poverty areas."

The District of Columbia, Louisiana, Mississippi and New Mexico had higher concentration rates.

The states with the lowest concentrations of poverty were New Hampshire, Vermont and Iowa.

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