> Median income: $61,872
> Poverty rate: 10.8% (13th lowest)
> Without health insurance: 18.3% (10th highest)
> Unemployment: 7.7% (20th lowest)
Arguably no state has profited more from the surging value of natural resources like oil and timber than Alaska. Roughly 80% of the state’s GDP comes from oil extraction. State residents, a large number of whom work to harvest the state’s natural resources, have benefited from government subsidies to the oil industry, which have kept taxes low and income high.
> Median income: $64,596
> Poverty rate: 9.7% (6th lowest)
> Without health insurance: 12.6% (17th lowest)
> Unemployment: 7.2% (14th lowest)
Like Virginia, one of the primary reasons for Maryland’s wealth is its proximity to D.C. Many white-collar workers live in Maryland and commute to Washington. Four of the nation’s 25 highest-income counties are located within Maryland, including Howard County, which has a median household income of $101,003 — the fifth highest in the U.S. Maryland has become a major center for biotechnology. It is also home to Johns Hopkins University, which is the largest employer in Baltimore, and the Johns Hopkins Hospital and Health System.
3. New Jersey
> Median income: $65,173
> Poverty rate: 9.8% (7th lowest)
> Without health insurance: 14.4% (22nd highest)
> Unemployment: 9.5% (14th highest)
New Jersey’s median income is boosted immensely by its proximity to New York City. While the number of workers that commute to the city is high, the money earned is brought back to the Garden State. All of the state’s wealthiest counties are included in the New York Metropolitan Area, such as Hunterdon, Morris, and Somerset counties. The state also has the highest percentage of millionaire households in the country, according to the Associated Press.
> Median income: $65,958
> Poverty rate: 8.3% (2nd lowest)
> Without health insurance: 10.5% (9th lowest)
> Unemployment: 9.1% (19th highest)
Like New Jersey, Connecticut benefits from being neighbors with New York City. The state includes Fairfield County, one of the nation’s wealthiest counties. This county is close to Manhattan, and many companies that were once based in New York have since moved there. Several hedge funds are based in Fairfield, including Aladdin Capital, SAC Capital Advisors, and Bridgewater Associates, which is the world’s largest hedge fund. Many areas in the state have exceptionally low per capita incomes, however, such as the cities of Hartford, New Haven, and Bridgeport.
1. New Hampshire
> Median income: $66,303
> Poverty rate: 7.1% (the lowest)
> Without health insurance: 10.1% (7th lowest)
> Unemployment: 5.2% (4th lowest)
New Hampshire’s status as the wealthiest overall state is the result of extremely low unemployment rate of 5.2% and the fact that it has the lowest poverty rate in the country. Like Massachusetts, the state has few wealthy areas, but it also does not have any major urban areas with high poverty rates. Hillsborough County, the most populous in the state, has a median household income of nearly $65,000. According to Dennis Delay, an economist with the New Hampshire Center for Public Policy Studies, the state benefits from a larger-than-average middle class, the result of businesses generally paying higher wages. New Hampshire also has no regional or state tax on personal income, and no sales tax.
Michael B. Sauter
Correction: Colorado’s cities of Littleton, Aurora, and Aspen, had been listed as “affluent resort cities.” Littleton and Aurora are more appropriately characterized as “affluent cities.”