The Richest County in Each State

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1. Shelby County, Alabama
> County median household income: $68,770
> State median household income: $43,253
> Pct. households in county making $200,000 or more: 6.1%
> 2013 county unemployment rate: 4.4%

Shelby County households had an annual median income of $68,770 over the five years through 2013, the highest compared to all Alabama counties. While Alabama is home to some of the nation’s poorest regions, Shelby residents still tended to have higher incomes than most Americans. A typical Shelby household earned $46,584 more than the median household income in Sumter County, the state’s poorest county, one of the larger such gaps compared with other states.

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2. Juneau City and Borough, Alaska
> County median household income: $81,490
> State median household income: $70,760
> Pct. households in county making $200,000 or more: 6.6%
> 2013 county unemployment rate: 4.6%

With an annual median household income of nearly $71,000 between 2009 and 2013, Alaska was one of the wealthiest states in the nation. Residents of Juneau City and Borough, the state’s wealthiest region, were even better off. A typical household in the area earned $81,490 over that period. As in most of the states’ wealthiest counties, Juneau City’s unemployment rate of 4.6% in 2013 was relatively low, versus the national rate of 7.4%.

3. Maricopa County, Arizona
> County median household income: $53,596
> State median household income: $49,774
> Pct. households in county making $200,000 or more: 4.4%
> 2013 county unemployment rate: 6.7%

While the annual median household income in Maricopa of $53,596 over the five years through 2013 was the highest in the state, it was also roughly in line with the comparable national figure of $53,046. Nearly 17% of county residents lived in poverty over that time as well, an exceptionally high poverty rate compared to the other richest counties reviewed. Despite the fact that many residents struggle, the county attracted a number of new residents. The population grew by nearly 70,000 people between the middles of 2012 and 2013, however, the largest nominal increase among each state’s wealthiest county.

4. Saline County, Arkansas
> County median household income: $55,348
> State median household income: $40,768
> Pct. households in county making $200,000 or more: 1.7%
> 2013 county unemployment rate: 6.2%

A typical Arkansas household earned $40,768 annually over the five years through 2013, nearly the lowest figure compared with other states. Households in Saline County, the state’s wealthiest area, had an annual median income of $55,348 over that period, not especially high relative to most of the states’ richest counties. While residents in the wealthiest counties in the vast majority of states were relatively well educated, less than 24% of Saline County residents had at least a bachelor’s degree over the five years reviewed. Only a handful of the wealthiest counties had a lower educational attainment rate than the comparable national figure of 28.8%.

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5. Santa Clara County, California
> County median household income: $91,702
> State median household income: $61,094
> Pct. households in county making $200,000 or more: 16.1%
> 2013 county unemployment rate: 6.8%

A typical household in Santa Clara County earned nearly $92,000 a year over the five years through 2013, the highest income in the state. Exceptionally wealthy households likely contributed substantially to this figure, as more than 16% of households in the area earned $200,000 or more annually over the five years through 2013, one of the highest such figures nationwide. While the county’s poverty rate of 10.2% over that period was higher than in most other states’ wealthiest counties, it was considerably lower than the national figure of 15.4%.