Skip to main content

See also:

Winning Powerball numbers: Odds of winning millions better in West Virginia

West Virginia is for winners. Thus far in 2014, the state has produced 9 Powerball Jackpot winners, more per capita than any other state. (Shown: A customer holds a Powerball ticket and money waiting in line on May 17, 2013 in San Francisco, California.)
West Virginia is for winners. Thus far in 2014, the state has produced 9 Powerball Jackpot winners, more per capita than any other state. (Shown: A customer holds a Powerball ticket and money waiting in line on May 17, 2013 in San Francisco, California.)
Photo by Justin Sullivan/Getty Images

Everybody wants to find a winning system, especially when choosing winning numbers for Powerball Jackpot lottery drawings. Because the answer to the question "Who wants to be a millionaire?" is: Everybody. Even millionaires and billionaires would like an extra million or so. But there are no real systems for winning lotteries, where the odds of winning are literally millions to one. Still, although there might not be a "system" to selecting the winning Powerball numbers, the odds do seem to favor people that are playing the lottery in West Virginia.

Apparently, the trick to winning is location, location, location.

The Associated Press reported June 2 that West Virginia, one of the nation's poorest states, has nine winners so far this year that have taken in $1 million or more from the Powerball Jackpot lottery, according to the Multi-State Lottery Association. Those nine make it the No. 1 state of winners per capita, having one for every 200,000 people in the state.

Now, West Virginia didn't have the most winners overall. Actually, the state placed sixth on that list. But, to be fair, those states all have larger populations (thus the per capita title). Those states are: New York (19), Florida (17), California (13) and Pennsylvania and Texas (both with 10).

To extrapolate, if West Virginia's population were equal that of New York, which is 19.6 million, and the per capita winning rate remained the same, the number of winners would be 98.

"It's just a lucky streak that we're on that's amazing," said Randy Burnside, a spokesman for the West Virginia Lottery. "Hopefully we'll have a lot more this year."

And if the per capita propensity for winning Powerball numbers wasn't enough, the state has also claimed to million-plus Mega Millions Lottery winners this year.

According to the U. S. Bureau of the Census, the median household income in West Virginia is $40,400 per year, while the national average is just over $53,000. The number of people living below the poverty line sets at 17.6 percent, compared to only 14.9 percent nationwide.

Given the high poverty rate and overall low income levels, it is no wonder that the people of the Mountain State turn to playing the lottery in hope that they might become suddenly wealthy. The unemployment rate for the state is stuck at 6.0 (or over 48,400) of the state's working population.

In a somewhat related issue, where income is taken in through alternate methods other than vocational, a recent study from George Washington University found that West Virginia was also the state with the highest number of people getting federal monies per capita. At 26.2 percent of its annual income, the state far exceeded the national average (16.7 percent).

So, to repeat, if you want winning Powerball numbers, you get the best per capita percentage if you live in West Virginia. The good news in all of this is that with each $1 million (or more) winner, there is one less West Virginian receving federal money.