Special Report

The Richest County in Every State

Source: JSatterthwaite / Getty Images

46. Virginia: Loudoun County
> County median household income: $129,588
> State median household income: $68,766
> Poverty rate: 3.7%
> Oct. unemployment: 2.3%
> Major metro area: Washington-Arlington-Alexandria, DC-VA-MD-WV

Loudoun County, Virginia is within commuting distance of Washington D.C. Proximity to the countless jobs in and around the nation’s capital partially explains the area’s 2.3% unemployment rate, one of the lowest of any county and well below the 3.8% national rate.

Many of the area jobs are high skilled and high paying. About 60% of county adults have a bachelor’s degree or higher — roughly double the 30.9% national percentage — and the typical area household earns about $130,000 a year, the highest income of any county by more than $12,000.

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47. Washington: King County
> County median household income: $83,571
> State median household income: $66,174
> Poverty rate: 10.2%
> Oct. unemployment: 3.2%
> Major metro area: Seattle-Tacoma-Bellevue, WA

King County, Washington, includes Seattle, which is home to several major companies’ headquarters, including Starbucks, Amazon, and Microsoft. The companies employ many in the area in high-paying corporate jobs. About 18.9% of county workers are employed in the professional, scientific, and management sector, one of the highest concentrations of any U.S. county.

Most households in King County earn more than $83,500 a year, and a high percentage earn much more. Some 13.4% of area households earn at least $200,000 per year, more than double the national share and one of the highest shares nationwide. The area’s high incomes have likely made real estate in the county much more expensive. The median home in the area is worth $446,600, more than double the typical American home value.

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Source: Jim Surkamp / Flickr

48. West Virginia: Jefferson County
> County median household income: $72,526
> State median household income: $44,061
> Poverty rate: 9.9%
> Oct. unemployment: 3.1%
> Major metro area: Washington-Arlington-Alexandria, DC-VA-MD-WV

Jefferson County, West Virginia, borders both Maryland and Virginia and is by far the wealthiest county in the state. The median household income of $72,526 a year is more than $13,000 higher than any other West Virginia county. As part of the Washington, D.C. metro area, residents have access to high paying jobs in and around the nation’s capital. High incomes in Jefferson County are bolstered by a strong job market. Statewide, the unemployment rate is 4.6%. In Jefferson County, it is just 3.1%.

Home values in an area typically mirror incomes. West Virginia has nearly the lowest median home value of any state at $111,600. In Jefferson County, the typical home is worth $227,300.

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Source: Rita Maloney (Redlake6) / Wikimedia Commons

49. Wisconsin: Waukesha County
> County median household income: $81,140
> State median household income: $56,759
> Poverty rate: 5.0%
> Oct. unemployment: 2.5%
> Major metro area: Milwaukee-Waukesha-West Allis, WI

Waukesha County’s median annual household income is more than $24,000 higher than Wisconsin’s median. The county is due west of Milwaukee, allowing residents access to jobs in the city. The county has one of the lowest poverty rates in the nation, at just 5.0%, less than half of Wisconsin’s poverty rate.

Waukesha County’s economy is largely dependent on manufacturing. Of the county’s labor force, 18.3% are employed in the manufacturing sector, a rate 8.0 percentage points higher than the U.S. labor force.

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Source: Mr. Satterly / Wikimedia Commons

50. Wyoming: Campbell County
> County median household income: $80,178
> State median household income: $60,938
> Poverty rate: 9.4%
> Oct. unemployment: 3.7%
> Major metro area: N/A

The median household income in Campbell County is more than $80,000 a year, nearly $20,000 higher than the median household income across Wyoming. Campbell County owes much of its prosperity to the oil and natural gas industry. More people in Campbell County work in extraction than any other industry.

Like many oil-rich counties, Campbell County bucks the trend that the wealthier counties tend to have better-educated populations. Oil and natural gas production provides high-paying jobs with relatively low educational attainment requirements. Statewide, 26.7% of Wyoming adults have a bachelor’s degree. In Campbell County, that rate is just 18.5%.

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