America’s Richest (and Poorest) States

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10. Minnesota
> Median household income:
$61,481
> Population: 5,457,173 (21st highest)
> Unemployment rate: 4.1% (5th lowest)
> Poverty rate: 11.5% (9th lowest)

Minnesota’s median household income in 2014 changed only slightly from 2013. While the standard of living for residents did not improve meaningfully, the state’s median household income of $61,481 was one of the highest in the nation. High median incomes and a low poverty rate of 11.5% are evidence of relatively even income distribution in Minnesota. Based on the gini coefficient, income is more evenly distributed in Minnesota than in most states. The high education attainment rate partly accounts for the high incomes in the state. More than 34.3% of adults had at least a bachelor’s degree as of last year compared to 30.1% of adults nationally.

9. California
> Median household income:
$61,933
> Population: 38,802,500 (the highest)
> Unemployment rate: 7.5% (4th highest)
> Poverty rate: 16.4% (17th highest)

Few states had a larger proportion of high-income households than California, where 8.1% earned $200,000 or more in 2014. A typical California household earned nearly $62,000 last year, higher than the national median of $53,657. California’s relatively high education attainment rate partly accounts for the high incomes in the state. Nearly 32% of adults had at least a bachelor’s degree as of last year compared to 30.1% of adults nationally. The cost of living in California, however, was one of the highest in the country, with goods and services costing an average of 12.3% more than they do across the country. Similarly, the median home value of $412,700 last year was the second highest in the country.

Although some of the wealthiest Americans live in California, nearly 16.4% of state residents lived in poverty last year, one of a handful of rich states with poverty rates above the national rate of 15.5%. The disparity is likely due to severe income inequality among the state’s roughly 39 million residents. California’s Gini coefficient was higher than that of all but three other states last year. Also, the state’s unemployment rate of 7.5% last year, despite declining from the year before, remained among the highest nationwide.

8. Virginia
> Median household income:
$64,902
> Population: 8,326,289 (12th highest)
> Unemployment rate: 5.2% (17th lowest)
> Poverty rate: 11.8% (12th lowest)

A typical Virginia household earned nearly $65,000 last year, far higher than the national median income of $53,657. High median incomes likely drove up home values. The statewide median home value of $247,800 last year was among the higher home values nationwide. Few states had a higher proportion of high-income households than Virginia, where 8.1% earned $200,000 or more in 2014. Virginia’s relatively high education attainment rate partly accounts for the high incomes and home values in the state. Nearly 37% of adults had at least a bachelor’s degree as of last year compared to 30.1% of adults nationally.

7. New Hampshire
> Median household income:
$66,532
> Population: 1,326,813 (9th lowest)
> Unemployment rate: 4.3% (7th lowest)
> Poverty rate: 9.2% (the lowest)

A typical New Hampshire household earned more than $66,000 last year, higher than the national median of $53,657. High median incomes likely drove up home values. The median home value of $236,400 last year was among the higher home values nationwide. A high median income and a 4.3% unemployment rate likely helped lower the state’s poverty rate, which was 9.2% last year — the lowest in the country. New Hampshire’s relatively high educational attainment rate may partly account for the high incomes in the state. As of last year, 35% of New Hampshire adults had at least a bachelor’s degree, compared to 30.1% of adults nationally.

6. Massachusetts
> Median household income:
$69,160
> Population: 6,745,408 (14th highest)
> Unemployment rate: 5.8% (22nd lowest)
> Poverty rate: 11.6% (10th lowest)

A typical Massachusetts household earned just over $69,000 last year, significantly more than the national median income of $53,657. High median incomes likely drove up home values. The value of a typical Massachusetts home was $338,900 last year, the third highest figure in the country. Few states had a higher proportion of high-income households than Massachusetts, where 9.3% earned $200,000 or more in 2014. Massachusetts’s relatively high education attainment rate partly accounts for the high incomes in the state. More than 41% of adults had at least a bachelor’s degree as of last year compared to 30.1% of adults nationally.