Special Report

America's Richest and Poorest States

Source: SeanPavonePhoto / Getty Images

5. Connecticut
> Median household income: $74,168
> Population: 3,588,184 (22nd lowest)
> 2017 unemployment rate: 4.7% (16th highest)
> Poverty rate: 9.6% (5th lowest)

Connecticut is one of just a handful of states with a poverty rate under 10%, at 9.6%. Connecticut workers are more likely than those in almost all other states to work in high paying fields like information and finance. They are also much less likely to work in lower paying fields such as agriculture and transportation. Unlike many other very affluent states, the median household income in Connecticut did not increase significantly from 2016 to 2017.

Source: Thinkstock

4. Massachusetts
> Median household income: $77,385
> Population: 6,859,819 (15th highest)
> 2017 unemployment rate: 3.7% (16th lowest)
> Poverty rate: 10.5% (10th lowest)

The home of Harvard, Massachusetts is the best educated state by a significant margin. Some 43.4% of adults in the state have at least a bachelor’s degree. Adults with at least a bachelor’s degree tend to be qualified for a wider range of careers — many of which pay higher salaries. Those with higher incomes and more disposable income can afford to plan for the future and provide a safety net like health insurance. Massachusetts has the lowest uninsured rate, 2.8%, of any state by a full percentage point.

Source: Thinkstock

3. Hawaii
> Median household income: $77,765
> Population: 1,427,538 (11th lowest)
> 2017 unemployment rate: 2.4% (the lowest)
> Poverty rate: 9.5% (3rd lowest)

Hawaii households are among the least likely to live in poverty and those in the state’s labor force are the least likely to be unemployed in the country. Some 17.3% of workers in the state are involved in the arts, entertainment, recreation, accommodation, and food service industries, as Hawaii is a popular vacation spot. The string of islands in the Pacific Ocean obviously have an economy that functions much differently than the other 49 states. Shipping goods to Hawaii can be expensive, so many items cost much more than in other states. Hawaii’s median home value is by far the highest in the country at $617,4000, more than $100,000 higher than the next highest state.

Source: Smallbones / Wikimedia Commons

2. New Jersey
> Median household income: $80,088
> Population: 9,005,644 (11th highest)
> 2017 unemployment rate: 4.6% (20th highest)
> Poverty rate: 10.0% (7th lowest)

New Jersey households are more likely to be extremely wealthy than those in any other state. Some 13.0% of New Jersey households earn $200,000 or more, while just 1 in 10 people in the state live below the poverty line. Nearly 40% of New Jersey adults hold at least a bachelor’s degree, making them qualified to work in high paying, specialized industries. New Jersey workers are among the most likely to be employed in lucrative fields such as information, management, and finance.

Source: Thinkstock

1. Maryland
> Median household income: $80,776
> Population: 6,052,177 (19th highest)
> 2017 unemployment rate: 4.1% (22nd lowest)
> Poverty rate: 9.3% (2nd lowest)

Though it did not have a significant increase in its median household income from 2016 to 2017, Maryland is still America’s richest state. No state has a higher median household income than Maryland’s $80,776. Maryland borders Washington D.C. on three sides, so it should come as no surprise that a disproportionate share of the state’s residents work in public administration. More than 1 in 10 Maryland workers are in the public administration sector, which includes many lucrative federal government jobs. Many Maryland adults are qualified for highly specialized, high paying jobs, as 39.7% of adults in the state hold at least a bachelor’s degree — the third highest rate among states.