Special Report

America's Richest (and Poorest) States

Des Moines, Iowa
Source: Thinkstock

25. Iowa
> Median household income: $54,736
> Population: 3,123,899 (21st lowest)
> 2015 Unemployment rate: 3.7% (9th lowest)
> Poverty rate: 12.2% (17th lowest)

Iowa’s 2015 median household income of $54,736 is effectively unchanged from the previous year, reflecting little improvement in the residents’ standard of living. Considering that incomes nationwide increased in 2015, state residents are relatively poorer — the typical Iowa household used to earn slightly more than the typical American household, but it now earns about $1,000 less. Though incomes are lower, a dollar goes further in Iowa than it does across the country. Goods and services are nearly 10% cheaper in Iowa than they are nationwide.

Aerial view of Omaha, Nebraska
Source: Thinkstock

24. Nebraska
> Median household income: $54,996
> Population: 1,896,190 (14th lowest)
> 2015 Unemployment rate: 3.0% (2nd lowest)
> Poverty rate: 12.6% (19th lowest)

The typical Nebraska household earns $54,996 a year. Though the state’s median household income is nearly $1,000 lower than the corresponding national figure, it is significantly higher than it was in 2014, when the typical Nebraska household earned $52,707.

While Nebraska residents may not be the highest earners in the country, they benefit from several important economic advantages. Goods and services are 9.4% cheaper in the state than they are across the country, and the state’s 3% unemployment rate in 2015 was the second lowest in the country.

Milwaukee Houses, Wisconsin
Source: Thinkstock

23. Wisconsin
> Median household income: $55,638
> Population: 5,771,337 (20th highest)
> 2015 Unemployment rate: 4.6% (19th lowest)
> Poverty rate: 12.1% (15th lowest)

The typical Wisconsin household earns $55,638 a year, only about $150 less than the median income nationwide. While incomes across the state are roughly in line with the nation as a whole, income inequality is far less pronounced in Wisconsin. With one of the lowest Gini coefficients of any state in the country, income is relatively evenly distributed across the Wisconsin’s 5,771,337 residents.

Homes across the state are worth less than homes across the country. The typical Wisconsin home is valued at just $168,300, or more than $20,000 below the national median home value of $194,500.

El Paso, Texas 2
Source: Thinkstock

22. Texas
> Median household income: $55,653
> Population: 27,469,114 (2nd highest)
> 2015 Unemployment rate: 4.5% (18th lowest)
> Poverty rate: 15.9% (14th highest)

Only 82.4% of adults in Texas have completed high school, the second smallest share of any state in the country. While a high school education is a fundamental precursor to most careers, incomes in Texas are roughly in line with typical earnings nationwide. The typical household in Texas earns $55,653 a year, a significant increase from $53,105 in 2014. Nationwide, median household income has risen to $55,775 a year from $53,713 in 2014.

Hanover, Pennsylvania
Source: Thinkstock

21. Pennsylvania
> Median household income: $55,702
> Population: 12,802,503 (6th highest)
> 2015 Unemployment rate: 5.1% (25th lowest)
> Poverty rate: 13.2% (21st lowest)

Increasing by about $2,500 from 2014, the $55,702 median household income in Pennsylvania remains roughly in line with the nationwide median income. Though home values in the state have increased dramatically last year, they remain well below the value of a typical American home. The median home value in the Keystone State is just $170,600, or more than $20,000 below the national median home value of $194,500.

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