Special Report

America's Richest (and Poorest) States

5. Connecticut
> Median household income: $67,098
> Population: 3,596,080 (22nd smallest)
> Unemployment rate: 7.8% (38)
> Pct. Below poverty line: 10.7% (4th lowest)

Connecticut is both one of the richest and most unequal states. The state is often depicted in the media as the poster child for America’s growing inequality. Connecticut’s Gini coefficient of 0.499 was the second most highest in the nation. A typical household earned roughly $67,000 last year and nearly one in 10 earned more than $200,000 in 2013, second only to New Jersey. Yet, unlike many of the richest states, the unemployment rate in Connecticut was above the U.S. rate and only changed slightly from the year prior. Connecticut is also home to a disproportionate amount of financiers. Roughly 9% of employed workers were categorized as working in finance, insurance or real estate by the Census Bureau, the second highest among all states.

4. Hawaii
> Median household income: $68,020
> Population: 1,404,054 (11th smallest)
> Unemployment rate: 4.8% (8th lowest)
> Pct. Below poverty line: 10.8% (5th lowest)

In addition to paradisal scenery and tropical weather, Hawaii residents are also among the nation’s wealthiest. A typical household earned more than $68,000 last year, considerably higher than the national household median income of $52,250. High incomes, as well as Hawaii’s own requirements for employers to provide workers with health coverage, have made health insurance more accessible in the state. Only 6.7% of residents did not have health insurance in 2013, less than half the national proportion of 14.5%. The cost of living in Hawaii, however, was higher than in every other state last year, most because many goods need to be shipped from the mainland.

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3. New Jersey
> Median household income: $70,165
> Population: 8,899,339 (11th largest)
> Unemployment rate: 8.2% (10th highest)
> Pct. Below poverty line: 11.4% (8th lowest)

Offering easy commuting access to New York from the northern part of the state and to Philadelphia from the south, New Jersey households had the third highest median income in the country last year at $70,165. Additionally, nearly 10% of households had incomes of $200,000 or more , the highest rate in the country. In the midst of high incomes, however, there is also poverty. More than 11% of New Jersey residents lived in poverty in 2013, an increase from the year before. The portion of residents without health insurance also rose 0.5 percentage points between 2012 and 2013, one of the larger increases in the nation.

2. Alaska
> Median household income: $72,237
> Population: 735,132 (4th smallest)
> Unemployment rate: 6.5% (18th lowest)
> Pct. Below poverty line: 9.3% (2nd lowest)

While Alaskans were among the nation’s wealthiest as of last year, 18.5% of state residents didn’t have health insurance last year, one of the highest rates in the nation. Every other wealthy state, by contrast, had exceptionally low proportions of residents without health insurance. It remains to be seen whether the Affordable Care Act will improve health coverage in the state. Otherwise, Alaskans seem to be very well off. Fewer than one in 10 residents lived below the poverty line last year, lower than in every state except for New Hampshire. Income is also distributed relatively evenly across the state’s 735,132 residents. The state’s Gini coefficient was the lowest in the country last year.

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1. Maryland
> Median household income: $72,483
> Population: 5,928,814 (19th largest)
> Unemployment rate: 6.6% (22nd lowest)
> Pct. Below poverty line: 10.1% (3rd lowest)

Maryland is the wealthiest state in the nation. The median household income was $72,483 in 2013, more than $20,000 higher than the national median income of $52,250. Additionally, few states had a higher proportion of high income households than Maryland, where 8.9% earned $200,000 or more in 2013. The state also had among the lowest poverty rates in the nation last year at just over 10% of the population. But despite their relative affluence, Maryland households have not been immune to the struggles most Americans have faced in recent years. From 2009 to 2013, the state’s poverty rate and the percentage of households on foodstamps rose, while the inflation-adjusted median household income fell.

Click here to see the poorest states in America. 

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