America’s Richest (and Poorest) States

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15. North Dakota
> Median household income:
$59,029
> Population: 739,482 (4th lowest)
> Unemployment rate: 2.8% (the lowest)
> Poverty rate: 11.5% (9th lowest)

North Dakota’s median household income increased by $2,555 between 2013 and 2014 to $59,029, the most significant increase in the country. Additionally, just 11.5% of state residents lived in poverty, the seventh lowest rate nationwide. High median incomes and a low poverty rate demonstrate how North Dakota has one of the most equitable income distributions in the country. The state had a Gini coefficient of 0.44, one of the lowest such figures in the country. The state’s booming energy sector is largely responsible for the gains in prosperity. In fact, mining accounted for 2.5 percentage points of the state’s 6.3% GDP growth in 2014, the third highest contribution from that industry in the country.

14. Delaware
> Median household income:
$59,716
> Population: 935,614 (6th lowest)
> Unemployment rate: 5.7% (19th lowest)
> Poverty rate: 12.5% (17th lowest)

Delaware’s median household income in 2014 changed little from 2013. A typical household earned $59,716, on the higher end compared with other states. Delaware’s relatively high education attainment rate partly accounts for the high incomes in the state. More than 30.6% of adults had at least a bachelor’s degree as of last year compared to 30.1% of adults nationally. The state’s high median incomes likely drove up home values. The median home value of $230,500 last year was among the higher values nationwide. High median incomes together with a low poverty rate demonstrate the relatively equitable income distribution in Delaware. Based on the Gini coefficient, income in Delaware was more evenly distributed than in most states.

13. Utah
> Median household income:
$60,922
> Population: 2,942,902 (18th lowest)
> Unemployment rate: 3.8% (4th lowest)
> Poverty rate: 11.7% (11th lowest)

Utah’s median household income in 2014 went up by only about $400 from 2013, reflecting little improvement in residents’ standard of living. Despite the modest increase, Utah’s median income was among the highest in the country. Utah’s relatively high education attainment rate partly accounts for the high incomes in the state. More than 31% of adults had at least a bachelor’s degree as of last year compared to 30.1% of adults nationally. Median home values in Utah were also among the highest in the nation. The state’s median home value of $223,200 last year was worth about $40,000 more than the typical American home. High median incomes and a relatively low poverty rate of 11.7% demonstrate how Utah has one of the most equitable income distributions in the country.

12. Colorado
> Median household income:
$61,303
> Population: 5,355,866 (22nd highest)
> Unemployment rate: 5.0% (15th lowest)
> Poverty rate: 12.0% (13th lowest)

Colorado’s median household income increased by more than $1,500 to $61,303 in 2014, one of the largest increases and one of the higher incomes in the country. High median incomes likely drove up home values. The median home value of $255,200 last year was one of the highest home values in the country. Colorado’s relatively high educational attainment rate partly accounts for the high incomes in the state. More than 38.3% of adults had at least a bachelor’s degree as of last year compared to 30.1% of adults nationally. While the share of Americans without health insurance declined 2.8 percentage points to 11.7% in 2014, in Colorado, the uninsured rate fell 3.8 percentage points to 10.3%.

11. Washington
> Median household income:
$61,366
> Population: 7,061,530 (13th highest)
> Unemployment rate: 6.2% (22nd highest)
> Poverty rate: 13.2% (19th lowest)

Washington’s median household income in 2014 increased by more than $2,000 from 2013 to 2014, the third-largest increase in the country. As a result, the state’s median income rank improved from 14th highest in the country to 11th highest. High median incomes likely drove up home values. The median home value of $266,200 last year was among the higher values nationwide. High median incomes and a low poverty rate demonstrate how Washington has one of the most equitable income distributions in the country. Washington’s relatively high education attainment rate partly accounts for the high incomes in the state. More than 33.1% of adults had at least a bachelor’s degree as of last year compared to 30.1% of adults nationally.