America’s Richest (and Poorest) States

September 17, 2015 by Thomas C. Frohlich

The United States added 3.2 million jobs in 2014, a greater addition to the workforce than in 2013, when 2.3 million jobs were added. At the end of last year, there were 139 million U.S. jobs, more than at the beginning of 2008, the pre-recession peak. Despite the improvement, inflation-adjusted household income levels increased only slightly across the nation, according to recently released figures from the U.S. Census Bureau’s 2014 American Community Survey.

The typical American household income was $53,657 in 2014. Three states — Washington, North Dakota, and Connecticut — reported income growths in excess of $2,000 in 2014. While the states with the largest increases in income were all relatively wealthy, only Kentucky, a relatively poor state, reported a significant income decline, with a typical household earning $1,139 less in 2014 than in 2013. In 33 states, income levels remained effectively the same from 2013.

One of the most notable changes from 2013 to 2014 was the rate of health insurance coverage among states. The implementation of the Affordable Care Act resulted in a massive decrease in the number of Americans without coverage. There were 11.2 million more insured Americans in 2014 than there were a year prior. While income and poverty did not change meaningfully in the majority of state, the rate of uninsured residents declined in every state in the country.

The states with the lowest incomes also tended to have relatively high poverty rates, while the opposite tended to be true in states with the highest incomes. The poverty rates in nine of the 10 states with the lowest median household incomes exceeded the national rate of 15.5%.

Click here to see America’s richest (and poorest) states.

Across the nation, the poverty rate improved in only 12 states, two of which were among the 10 lowest-income states. Alaska, on the other hand, which had the third-highest median income, was the only state in the nation where the poverty rate actually increased.

Educational attainment rates are often associated with regional incomes. Not surprisingly, the majority of the wealthier states tended to have higher educational attainment rates. In seven of the 10 wealthiest states, the share of adults with a bachelor’s degree increased significantly. Only in one of the poorest states, Arkansas, the educational attainment rate increased.

To identify the richest and poorest states with the highest and lowest median household income, 24/7 Wall St. reviewed state data on income from the U.S. Census Bureau’s 2014 American Community Survey (ACS). Median household income for all years is adjusted for inflation. Data on health insurance coverage, employment by industry, food stamp recipiency, poverty, and income inequality also came from the 2014 ACS. Income inequality is measured by the Gini coefficient, which is scaled from 0 to 1, with 0 representing perfect equality and 1 representing total inequality. We also reviewed annual average unemployment data from the Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) for 2013 and 2014.

These are America’s richest and poorest states.

50. Mississippi
> Median household income:
$39,680
> Population: 2,994,079 (20th lowest)
> Unemployment rate: 7.8% (2nd highest)
> Poverty rate: 21.5% (the highest)

Mississippi’s median household income in 2014 remained unchanged from 2013, reflecting little improvement in the residents’ standard of living. The typical Mississippi household earned $39,680 last year, well below the national median of $53,657. Relatively low levels of education may have contributed to lower incomes in the state. Just 21.1% of adults in Mississippi had a bachelor’s degree as of last year, versus the national attainment rate of 30.1%. As in many low-income states, poverty was also a major problem. Mississippi had the highest poverty rate in the country last year, at 21.5%. Also, the state’s unemployment rate of 7.8% last year, despite declining from the year before, remained among the highest nationwide. Low incomes and a weak job market may have contributed to low real estate values as well. Nearly 21% of homes were valued at less than $50,000, the second highest rate in the country of home values this low.

49. West Virginia
> Median household income:
$41,059
> Population: 1,850,326 (13th lowest)
> Unemployment rate: 6.5% (17th highest)
> Poverty rate: 18.3% (7th highest)

West Virginia’s median household income in 2014 was unchanged from 2013, reflecting little improvement in the residents’ standard of living. The typical West Virginia household earned $41,059 last year, well below the national median income of $53,657. As many low-income states, poverty was also a major problem. West Virginia had the seventh highest poverty rate in the country last year, at 18.3%. Across the state, homes were valued at just $103,900, more than $77,000 lower than the national benchmark of $181,200. Additionally, over 21% of homes were valued at less than $50,000, the highest rate in the country. Low incomes and a weak job market may have contributed to the low real estate values. At 6.5%, the state had one of the highest unemployment rates in the country. High unemployment may be the result of low levels of education. Only 19.2% of adults in West Virginia had a bachelor’s degree as of last year, the lowest attainment rate in the country.

48. Arkansas
> Median household income:
$41,262
> Population: 2,966,369 (19th lowest)
> Unemployment rate: 6.1% (25th highest)
> Poverty rate: 18.9% (6th highest)

Arkansas’s median household income in 2014 remained unchanged from 2013, reflecting little improvement in the residents’ standard of living. The typical Arkansas household earned $41,262 last year, well below the national median income of $53,657. Like in many states with lower incomes, poverty was also a major issue. Arkansas had the sixth highest poverty rate in the country last year, at 18.9%. Statewide, homes were valued relatively low. The typical home in Arkansas was valued at $112,500, nearly $70,000 below the national benchmark of $181,200. Additionally, nearly 19% of homes were valued at less than $50,000, the third highest share in the country of homes valued so low. Low incomes may be partially due to low levels of education. Only 21.4% of adults in Arkansas had a bachelor’s degree as of last year, the second lowest post-secondary educational attainment rate in the nation.

47. Alabama
> Median household income:
$42,830
> Population: 4,849,377 (23rd highest)
> Unemployment rate: 6.8% (11th highest)
> Poverty rate: 19.3% (4th highest)

Alabama’s median household income in 2014 remained mostly unchanged from 2013, reflecting little improvement in the residents’ standard of living. The typical Alabama household earned $42,830 last year, well below the national median income of $53,657. Like in many of the states with low median household incomes, poverty was also a major problem. Alabama had the fourth highest poverty rate in the country last year, at 19.3%. Also, the state’s unemployment rate of 6.8% last year, despite declining from the year before, remained among the highest nationwide. Low incomes and a weak job market may have contributed to low real estate values as well. In Alabama, the median home value was just $125,600, more than $55,000 below the national benchmark of $181,200. Additionally, nearly 17% homes were valued at less than $50,000, the fourth highest rate in the country of homes valued so low.

46. Kentucky
> Median household income:
$42,958
> Population: 4,413,457 (25th lowest)
> Unemployment rate: 6.5% (17th highest)
> Poverty rate: 19.1% (5th highest)

A typical Kentucky household earned $42,958 last year, well below the national median income of $53,657, and more than $1,000 lower than the year before. Kentucky was the only state that had a significant decline in its median household income between 2013 and 2014. Nationwide, median household incomes grew roughly $600 over that period. Poverty was also a major problem. Kentucky had the fifth highest poverty rate in the country last year, at 19.1%. Statewide, homes were valued relatively low at just $123,800, or more than $55,000 below the national benchmark of $181,200. At 6.5%, the state also had one of the highest unemployment rates in the country. Low incomes may be due to low levels of education. Only 22.2% of adults in Kentucky had a bachelor’s degree as of last year, compared to 30.1% of adults nationwide.

45. Tennessee
> Median household income:
$44,361
> Population: 6,549,352 (17th highest)
> Unemployment rate: 6.7% (12th highest)
> Poverty rate: 18.3% (7th highest)

Tennessee’s median household income in 2014 remained unchanged from 2013, reflecting little improvement in the residents’ standard of living. A typical Tennessee household earned $44,361 last year, nearly $10,000 below the national median income of $53,657. At 6.7%, the state also had one of the higher unemployment rates in the country. Low incomes and a weak job market may have contributed to low real estate values as well. Statewide, homes were valued relatively low at just $142,900, or nearly $40,000 below the national benchmark of $181,200.

44. Louisiana
> Median household income:
$44,555
> Population: 4,649,676 (25th highest)
> Unemployment rate: 6.4% (19th highest)
> Poverty rate: 19.8% (3rd highest)

Louisiana’s median household income in 2014 of $44,555 was lower than the median income in 2013 of $44,946. The typical Louisiana household earned well below the national median income of $53,657. Also, at 6.4%, Louisiana had one of the higher unemployment rates in the country. Low incomes and a weak job market may have contributed to low real estate values. The typical Louisiana home was was worth just $143,600, nearly $40,000 below the national benchmark of $181,200. Additionally, more than 15% of homes were valued at less than $50,000, the ninth highest rate in the country. Like in many states with low median household incomes, poverty was a major problem. Louisiana had the third highest poverty rate in the country last year, at 19.8%. Low incomes are often associated with low levels of education. Just 22.9% of adults in Louisiana had a bachelor’s degree last year, one of the smallest shares in the country.

43. New Mexico
> Median household income:
$44,803
> Population: 2,085,572 (15th lowest)
> Unemployment rate: 6.5% (17th highest)
> Poverty rate: 21.3% (2nd highest)

New Mexico’s median household income in 2014 remained unchanged from 2013, reflecting little improvement in the wealth of its residents. The typical New Mexico household earned $44,803 last year, well below the national median income of $53,657. As in many of the least wealthy states, poverty was also a major problem. About 21% of New Mexicans lived below the poverty line last year, the second highest rate in the country. At 6.5%, the state also had one of the higher unemployment rates in the country. Low incomes and a weak job market may have contributed to such low real estate values. Statewide, homes were valued relatively low at just $158,400, or more than $22,000 below the national benchmark of $181,200. Additionally, nearly 14% homes were valued at less than $50,000, the 13th highest rate in the country. Low incomes and high unemployment may be due to relatively low levels of education. Only 26.4% of New Mexicans had bachelor’s degrees as of last year, compared to the 30.1% of citizens who did nationwide.

42. South Carolina
> Median household income:
$45,238
> Population: 4,832,482 (24th highest)
> Unemployment rate: 6.4% (19th highest)
> Poverty rate: 18.0% (11th highest)

A typical South Carolina household earned $45,238 last year, about the same as in 2013, and well below the national median income of $53,657. Low incomes may be due to low levels of education. In fact, 26.3% of adults in South Carolina had a bachelor’s degree as of last year, lower than the 30.1% of adults with such a degree across the nation. Statewide, homes were valued relatively low at just $140,000, or more than $40,000 below the national benchmark of $181,200. Additionally, nearly 16% of homes were valued at less than $50,000, the 10th highest rate in the country. At 6.4%, the state had one of the higher unemployment rates in the country.

41. Montana
> Median household income:
$46,328
> Population: 1,023,579 (7th lowest)
> Unemployment rate: 4.7% (13th lowest)
> Poverty rate: 15.4% (22nd highest)

Despite a higher share of adults with at least a high school education than the rest of the country, Montana’s incomes were quite low. The typical Montana household earned $46,328 last year, well below the national median of $53,657 and unchanged from 2013. Low incomes may be partially due to a relatively large share of the state’s workforce that was employed in a low-paying industry. In fact, 12.4% of Montana’s workforce was employed in the retail sector, compared to just over 11% nationally. Low incomes also often affect the housing market. The median home value in the state was only $196,800 in 2014, just higher than the national median of $181,200.

40. North Carolina
> Median household income:
$46,556
> Population: 9,943,964 (9th highest)
> Unemployment rate: 6.1% (25th highest)
> Poverty rate: 17.2% (12th highest)

North Carolina’s median household income in 2014 remained unchanged from 2013, reflecting little improvement in the residents’ standard of living. The typical North Carolina household earned $46,556 last year, below the national median of $53,657. However, state residents may be better off than other states with similar incomes. North Carolina’s cost of living was roughly 8% lower than the national cost of living. Nevertheless, poverty was also a major problem. At 17.2%, North Carolina had the 12th highest poverty rate in the country last year. The poverty rate was improved from 2013, where 17.9% lived below the poverty line.

39. Florida
> Median household income:
$47,463
> Population: 19,893,297 (3rd highest)
> Unemployment rate: 6.3% (21st highest)
> Poverty rate: 16.5% (16th highest)

Florida’s median household income in 2014 remained mostly unchanged from 2013, reflecting little improvement in the residents’ standard of living. The typical Florida household earned $47,463 last year, well below the national median of $53,657. Like in many of the states with lower median incomes, poverty was also a major problem. Florida had the 16th highest poverty rate in the country last year, at 16.5%. Additionally, nearly 12% homes were valued at less than $50,000, the 21st highest rate in the country of homes valued so low. In 2013, 20% of Florida’s population did not have health insurance, the third highest rate in the nation. While the share of uninsured Floridians fell to 16.6% in 2014, it remained the third least insured state in the country.

38. Oklahoma
> Median household income:
$47,529
> Population: 3,878,051 (23rd lowest)
> Unemployment rate: 4.5% (11th lowest)
> Poverty rate: 16.6% (14th highest)

The standard of living among Oklahomans improved little last year as the state’s median household income remained unchanged from 2013. Oklahoma’s poverty rate was 16.6% last year, the 14th highest rate, and the typical household earned $47,529, well below the national median income of $53,657. Lower incomes tend to lower the value of homes in an area. Nearly 16% of homes were valued at less than $50,000, the eighth highest share in the country of homes valued so low.

37. Idaho
> Median household income:
$47,861
> Population: 1,634,464 (12th lowest)
> Unemployment rate: 4.8% (14th lowest)
> Poverty rate: 14.8% (25th highest)

Idaho’s median household income in 2014 hardly changed from 2013, reflecting little improvement in its residents’ standard of living. The typical Idaho household earned $47,861 last year, well below the national median of $53,657. Statewide, homes were valued relatively low. At just $165,300, the typical home in Idaho was worth about $15,000 less than the median American home value of $181,200. Low incomes are often the result of low levels of education. Though nine in 10 Idaho residents completed high school, a higher share than the 86.9% of Americans who had, only a quarter of adults in the state had a bachelor’s degree as of last year, one of the lowest attainment rates in the country.

36. Missouri
> Median household income:
$48,363
> Population: 6,063,589 (18th highest)
> Unemployment rate: 6.1% (25th highest)
> Poverty rate: 15.5% (21st highest)

Missouri’s median household income increased by $833 from 2013 to $48,363, but still remained below the nationwide median income of $53,657. However, state residents may be better off than their income suggests. The cost of living in the state was more than 10% less expensive than across the country. Statewide, homes were valued relatively low at just $138,500, or more than $40,000 below the national benchmark of $181,200. Low incomes may be due to low levels of education. In fact, 27.5% of adults in Missouri had at least a bachelor’s degree as of last year, lower than the 30.1% of adults who had at least a bachelor’s degree nationwide.

35. Ohio
> Median household income:
$49,308
> Population: 11,594,163 (7th highest)
> Unemployment rate: 5.7% (19th lowest)
> Poverty rate: 15.8% (20th highest)

Ohio’s median household income in 2014 remained effectively unchanged from 2013. With low incomes came lower home values. The median home was worth $129,100, or more than $50,000 below the national benchmark of $181,200. The low incomes may be due to low levels of education. In fact, 26.6% of adults in Ohio had a bachelor’s degree as of last year, versus the comparable national educational attainment rate of 30.1%. On the other hand, a higher share of Ohio adults had at least a high school education compared to the nationwide figure, although not enough to push incomes higher.

34. Georgia
> Median household income:
$49,321
> Population: 10,097,343 (8th highest)
> Unemployment rate: 7.2% (6th highest)
> Poverty rate: 18.3% (7th highest)

Georgia’s median household income in 2014 changed little from 2013, reflecting minimal improvement in residents’ standard of living. Like in many states with a low median income, poverty was also a major problem. Georgia had the seventh highest poverty rate in the country, at 18.3%. Also, despite declining from the year before, the state’s 7.2% unemployment rate was one of the highest in the country. Low incomes and a weak job market may have contributed to low real estate values as well. Statewide, homes were valued relatively low. At just $147,900, the median home value was more than $30,000 below the national benchmark of $181,200. Additionally, nearly 12% of homes were valued at less than $50,000, the 16th highest rate in the country of homes valued so low.

33. Indiana
> Median household income:
$49,446
> Population: 6,596,855 (16th highest)
> Unemployment rate: 6.0% (25th lowest)
> Poverty rate: 15.2% (23rd highest)

Statewide, Indiana homes were valued relatively low. The typical home in Indiana was worth just $124,300, or more than $55,000 less the national benchmark of $181,200. Low incomes may be at least partially due to low levels of education. Less than 25% of adults in Indiana had a bachelor’s degree as of last year, a smaller attainment rate than in all but nine other states. Though Indiana is one of the poorer states, income is distributed relatively evenly across the state’s 6.6 million residents. Indiana’s Gini coefficient was one of the lowest in the country last year. Though Indiana’s median household income in 2014 changed little from 2013, the uninsured rate across the state dropped significantly. While 14% of Indiana residents did not have health insurance in 2013, less than 12% of remained uninsured as of last year.

32. Maine
> Median household income:
$49,462
> Population: 1,330,089 (10th lowest)
> Unemployment rate: 5.7% (19th lowest)
> Poverty rate: 14.1% (22nd lowest)

Maine’s median household income in 2014 was nearly $1,800 higher than the state’s median income in 2013, reflecting an improvement in the residents’ standard of living. Nationwide, median income increased by just one-third of that. Despite a relatively high share of adults with at least a high school education compared to the rest of the country, Maine’s incomes were somewhat low. The lower incomes may be due to a large proportion of the state’s workforce employed in a low-paying industry. In fact, 13.9% of Maine’s workforce was employed in the retail sector, the highest such rate across the country.

31. Michigan
> Median household income:
$49,847
> Population: 9,909,877 (10th highest)
> Unemployment rate: 7.3% (5th highest)
> Poverty rate: 16.2% (18th highest)

Michigan’s median household income increased to $49,847 last year. While this was a significant increase over 2013, income remained below the national income of $53,657. Also, the state’s unemployment rate of 7.3% last year, despite declining from the year before, remained among the highest nationwide. Low incomes and a weak job market may have contributed to low real estate values as well. Statewide, homes were valued at just $125,700, more than $50,000 below the national benchmark of $181,200. Despite a higher share of adults with at least a high school education than the national rate, Michigan’s incomes were quite low. Low incomes may be due to more than 18% of the state’s labor force working in manufacturing, a low-paying industry. Nationwide, 10.3% of the labor force worked in manufacturing.

30. Arizona
> Median household income:
$50,068
> Population: 6,731,484 (15th highest)
> Unemployment rate: 6.9% (9th highest)
> Poverty rate: 18.2% (10th highest)

Arizona’s median household income in 2014 increased slightly from 2013, reflecting a minor but significant improvement in the residents’ standard of living. The median household income rose from $49,180 in 2013 to $50,068 in 2014, a $888 increase. Poverty in Arizona was a major problem, with 18.2% living below the poverty line last year, the 10th highest poverty rate in the country. The state’s unemployment rate of 6.9% last year, despite declining from the year before, remained among the highest nationwide. Arizona had a significant change in residents with health insurance, as the uninsured rate dropped from 17.1% in 2013 to 13.6% in 2014, the 11th largest drop in the country.

29. South Dakota
> Median household income:
$50,979
> Population: 853,175 (5th lowest)
> Unemployment rate: 3.4% (3rd lowest)
> Poverty rate: 14.2% (23rd lowest)

South Dakota’s median household income in 2014 remained effectively unchanged from 2013, reflecting little improvement in the residents’ standard of living. Additionally, nearly 16% of homes were valued at less than $50,000, the seventh highest rate in the country. Statewide, homes were valued relatively low at just $142,300, or nearly $40,000 below the national benchmark of $181,200. Despite a higher share of adults with at least a high school education than across the country, South Dakota’s incomes were quite low.

28. Oregon
> Median household income:
$51,075
> Population: 3,970,239 (24th lowest)
> Unemployment rate: 6.9% (9th highest)
> Poverty rate: 16.6% (14th highest)

Oregon’s 2014 median household income of $51,075 remained effectively unchanged from 2013. The state’s unemployment rate of 6.9% last year, despite declining from the year before, also remained among the highest nationwide. While the typical household in Oregon did not earn significantly less than most Americans, 18.9% of households received food stamps, the highest reliance on government subsidies of any state in the country.

27. Nevada
> Median household income:
$51,450
> Population: 2,839,099 (16th lowest)
> Unemployment rate: 7.8% (2nd highest)
> Poverty rate: 15.2% (23rd highest)

Nevada’s median household income in 2014 remained unchanged from 2013, reflecting little improvement in the residents’ standard of living. Income was also distributed relatively evenly across the state’s 2.8 million residents. The state’s Gini coefficient, a measure of the equality of income distribution, was one of the lowest in the country last year. Still, the state’s unemployment rate of 7.8% last year, despite declining from the year before, was the second highest in the country in 2014. More than one-quarter of the state’s labor force was employed in the arts, entertainment, recreation, and accommodation and food services sector, traditionally a low-paying industry. Nationally, that industry employed 9.8% of the workforce.

26. Kansas
> Median household income:
$52,504
> Population: 2,904,021 (17th lowest)
> Unemployment rate: 4.5% (11th lowest)
> Poverty rate: 13.6% (21st lowest)

Kansas’s median household income hardly changed in 2014 from the year before. In Kansas, nearly 15% of homes were valued at less than $50,000, the 11th highest rate in the country. This large share of low value homes reflects the relatively low home value of a typical Kansas home. The statewide median home value was $132,100, nearly $50,000 below the national benchmark of $181,200. As in every state, the uninsured rate dropped in Kansas. In 2013, 12.3% of state residents did not have health insurance. Last year, only 10.2% of residents were uninsured.

25. Wisconsin
> Median household income:
$52,622
> Population: 5,757,564 (20th highest)
> Unemployment rate: 5.5% (18th lowest)
> Poverty rate: 13.2% (19th lowest)

Wisconsin’s median household income in 2014 remained effectively unchanged from 2013, reflecting little improvement in the residents’ standard of living. Income, however, was distributed relatively evenly across the state’s 5.8 million residents. Wisconsin’s Gini coefficient was the sixth lowest in the country last year. Statewide, homes were valued relatively low, at just $164,700, below the national benchmark of $181,200. And while the percentage of Americans without health insurance declined 2.8 percentage points to 11.4%, the uninsured rate in Wisconsin fell by just 1.8 percentage points to 7.3%, more than 4 percentage points lower than the national rate.

24. Nebraska
> Median household income:
$52,686
> Population: 1,881,503 (14th lowest)
> Unemployment rate: 3.3% (2nd lowest)
> Poverty rate: 12.4% (16th lowest)

Nebraska’s median household income in 2014 remained effectively unchanged from 2013, reflecting little improvement in the residents’ standard of living. The state is average by many measures that tend to correlate with income. Also, the state’s Gini coefficient was one of the lowest in the country last year. Statewide, however, homes were valued relatively low at just $133,800, or more than $40,000 below the national benchmark of $181,200.

23. Texas
> Median household income:
$53,035
> Population: 26,956,958 (2nd highest)
> Unemployment rate: 5.1% (16th lowest)
> Poverty rate: 17.2% (12th highest)

Texas’s median household income increased by roughly $750 in 2014 to $53,035, one of the smallest statistically valid increases in the country. Statewide, homes were valued relatively low at just $139,600, or more than $40,000 below the national benchmark of $181,200. The large share of new immigrant hispanic residents may contribute to Texas’ high poverty rate. More than 17.2% of state residents lived below the poverty line last year, higher than the national poverty rate of 15.5%.

22. Pennsylvania
> Median household income:
$53,234
> Population: 12,787,209 (6th highest)
> Unemployment rate: 5.8% (22nd lowest)
> Poverty rate: 13.6% (21st lowest)

Pennsylvania’s median household income remained roughly in line with the nationwide median income of $53,657. This was not the case for the state’s housing market, however. Statewide, the typical home was valued relatively low at just $165,400, or more than $10,000 below the national benchmark of $181,200. As was the case nationwide, the share of uninsured adults in the state declined significantly from 2013. Just 8.5% of the adult population did not have health insurance last year, down from the previous year. Nationwide, 11.7% of Americans did not have health insurance, also down from the 2013 uninsured rate of 14.5%.

21. Iowa
> Median household income:
$53,712
> Population: 3,107,126 (21st lowest)
> Unemployment rate: 4.4% (9th lowest)
> Poverty rate: 12.2% (15th lowest)

Iowa’s median household income in 2014 changed little from 2013, reflecting minimal improvement in the residents’ standard of living. The state’s median household income was roughly in line with the typical national income of $53,657. Income was also distributed relatively evenly across the state’s 3.1 million residents. The state’s Gini coefficient was one of the lowest in the country last year. Statewide, homes were valued relatively low. Nearly 11.5% of homes in Iowa were valued at less than $50,000, the 18th highest rate in the country of homes valued so low. With a median home value of $133,100, the typical Iowa home was worth nearly $50,000 less than the typical American home.

20. Vermont
> Median household income:
$54,166
> Population: 626,562 (2nd lowest)
> Unemployment rate: 4.1% (5th lowest)
> Poverty rate: 12.2% (15th lowest)

Vermont’s median household income in 2014 remained effectively unchanged from 2013, reflecting little improvement in the residents’ standard of living. The state’s relatively high education attainment rate partly accounts for the high incomes in the state. Nearly 35% of adults had at least a bachelor’s degree last year compared to 30.1% of adults nationally. The state also had one of the lowest unemployment rates in the country at 4.1%, more than two percentage points lower than the nationwide jobless rate of 6.2% in 2014.

19. Rhode Island
> Median household income:
$54,891
> Population: 1,055,173 (8th lowest)
> Unemployment rate: 7.7% (3rd highest)
> Poverty rate: 14.3% (24th lowest)

Rhode Island’s median household income in 2014 remained effectively unchanged from 2013, reflecting little improvement in the residents’ standard of living. The state’s unemployment rate of 7.7% last year, despite declining 1.6 percentage points from the year before, was third highest nationwide. Rhode Island’s relatively high post-secondary education attainment rate partly accounts for the relatively high incomes in the state. More than 30.4% of adults had at least a bachelor’s degree as of last year compared to 30.1% nationally. However, Rhode Island had a relatively low share of residents with at least a high school diploma compared to the rest of the country, at 85.8%. The state also had the seventh-highest measure of income inequality in the country.

18. Wyoming
> Median household income:
$57,055
> Population: 584,153 (the lowest)
> Unemployment rate: 4.3% (7th lowest)
> Poverty rate: 11.2% (6th lowest)

Wyoming’s 2014 median household income of $57,055 went down slightly from 2013. While the standard of living did not improve meaningfully in Wyoming, in 2013, state residents were already among the wealthier Americans. Just 6.7% of households relied on food stamp benefits, the lowest level of SNAP recipiency of any state. High median incomes also drove up home values. The median home value of $201,000 last year was among the higher levels nationwide. High median incomes and a low poverty rate are evidence of Wyoming’s equitable income distribution. Based on the Gini coefficient, income was more evenly distributed in Wyoming than in all but one other state last year.

17. Illinois
> Median household income:
$57,444
> Population: 12,880,580 (5th highest)
> Unemployment rate: 7.1% (7th highest)
> Poverty rate: 14.4% (25th lowest)

Illinois’s median household income went up slightly from $56,962 in 2013 to $57,444 in 2014, nearly $4,000 higher than the corresponding national income of $53,697. Illinois’s relatively high education attainment rate partly accounts for the high incomes in the state. More than 32.8% of adults had at least a bachelor’s degree as of last year compared to 30.1% of adults nationally. While incomes were relatively high statewide, home values were relatively low. A typical home in Illinois was worth about $171,900, slightly less than the national benchmark of $181,200.
Despite declining two percentage points from the year before, the state’s unemployment rate remained among the highest nationwide. Slightly more than 7% of the state’s workforce were actively seeking a job in 2014 compared to a national unemployment rate of 6.2%.

16. New York
> Median household income:
$58,878
> Population: 19,746,227 (4th highest)
> Unemployment rate: 6.3% (21st highest)
> Poverty rate: 15.9% (19th highest)

New York’s median household income in 2014 was effectively unchanged from 2013, reflecting little improvement in the residents’ standard of living. High median incomes likely drove up home values. The median home value of $279,100 last year was among the higher levels nationwide. Although some of the wealthiest Americans live in New York, nearly 15.9% of state residents lived in poverty last year, one of a handful of rich states with a poverty rate above the national rate of 15.5%. The disparity is likely due to severe income inequality among the state’s roughly 20 million residents. New York’s Gini coefficient was the highest in the country last year. Few states had a higher proportion of high-income households than New York, where 7.6% earned $200,000 or more in 2014. New York’s relatively high education attainment rate partly accounts for the high incomes in the state. More than 34.5% of adults had at least a bachelor’s degree in 2014 compared to 30.1% of adults nationally.

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.

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.

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.