America’s Richest (and Poorest) States

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5. Hawaii
> Median household income:
$69,592
> Population: 1,419,561 (11th lowest)
> Unemployment rate: 4.4% (9th lowest)
> Poverty rate: 11.4% (7th lowest)

A typical Hawaiian household earned nearly $70,000 last year, higher than the national median of $53,657, but effectively unchanged from 2013. The cost of living in Hawaii, however, was one of the highest in the country, with goods and services costing an average of 16.2% more than across the country. High median incomes, the high cost of shipping materials to the state, and the relative scarcity of residential land likely drove up home values. The median home value of $528,000 last year was the highest in the country, roughly three times the median home value nationwide. Additionally, Hawaii had one of the lowest Gini coefficients in the country, indicating how evenly income was distributed across the state. The state’s low poverty rate of 11.4% — one of the lowest in the country — is further evidence of the relatively equitable income distribution.

4. Connecticut
> Median household income:
$70,048
> Population: 3,596,677 (22nd lowest)
> Unemployment rate: 6.6% (14th highest)
> Poverty rate: 10.8% (3rd lowest)

A typical household in Connecticut earned more than $70,000 last year, far higher than the national median income of $53,657. Median household income rose by $2,104 between 2013 and 2014, the second-largest increase of any state. High median incomes likely drove up home values. The median home value of $267,200 last year was among the higher levels nationwide. High median incomes and a low poverty rate — the third lowest — demonstrate how Connecticut has one of the most equitable income distributions in the country. Few states had a higher proportion of high-income households than Connecticut, where one in every 10 households earned $200,000 or more in 2014. Nationwide, 30.1% of adults had at least a bachelor’s degree. In Connecticut, 38% of adults had at least such a degree last year, the fourth highest such rate in the nation.

3. Alaska
> Median household income:
$71,583
> Population: 736,732 (3rd lowest)
> Unemployment rate: 6.8% (11th highest)
> Poverty rate: 11.2% (6th lowest)

Few states had a higher proportion of high-income households than Alaska, where 6.4% earned $200,000 or more in 2014. A typical Alaskan household earned more than $71,500 last year, higher than in all but two other states. High incomes are also due to a trust fund that redistributes oil revenues to residents of the state. High median incomes likely drove up home values. The median home value of $254,500 last year was among the higher levels nationwide. High median incomes and a relatively low poverty rate of 11.2% demonstrate how Alaska has one of the most equitable income distributions in the country. While Alaska residents were among the nation’s wealthiest as of last year, 17.2% of residents did not have health insurance, the second highest uninsured rate in the nation. Similarly, the state’s unemployment rate of 6.8% last year, despite declining from the year before, remained among the highest nationwide.

2. New Jersey
> Median household income:
$71,919
> Population: 8,938,175 (11th highest)
> Unemployment rate: 6.6% (14th highest)
> Poverty rate: 11.1% (4th lowest)

A typical New Jersey household earned nearly $72,000 last year, more than in every other state except for Maryland. The cost of living in New Jersey, however, was one of the highest in the country, with goods and services costing an average of 14.5% more than across the country. Home values in the state were also higher than in the most of rest of the country. The median home value of $313,200 last year was the fourth highest nationwide. Few states had a higher proportion of high-income households than New Jersey, where 10.4% of households earned $200,000 or more in 2014. New Jersey’s relatively high education attainment rate partly accounts for the high incomes in the state. Nearly 37.5% of adults had at least a bachelor’s degree as of last year compared to 30.1% of adults nationally.

1. Maryland
> Median household income:
$73,971
> Population: 5,976,407 (19th highest)
> Unemployment rate: 5.8% (22nd lowest)
> Poverty rate: 10.1% (2nd lowest)

A typical Maryland household earned more than $73,000 last year, more than in any other state in the country. The cost of living in Maryland, however, was also one of the highest in the country, with goods and services costing an average of 10.9% more than across the country. High median incomes likely drove up home values. The median home value of $288,500 last year was among the higher levels nationwide. High median incomes and a low poverty rate — the second lowest in the country last year — demonstrate how Maryland has one of the most equitable income distributions in the country. Few states had a higher proportion of high-income households than Maryland, where 9% earned $200,000 or more in 2014.