16. Kansas: Johnson County
> County median household income: $81,121
> State median household income: $55,477
> Poverty rate: 5.6%
> Oct. unemployment: 2.6%
> Major metro area: Kansas City, MO-KS
Johnson County workers tend to be employed in high-paying sectors with more frequency than the workers nationwide. In the county, 9.9% of workers are employed in the generally higher-paying finance, insurance, or real estate sector — compared to the 6.6% share nationwide. County workers are also much more likely to work in professional, scientific, or management services, also high-paying sectors.
Johnson County sits just to the southwest of Kansas City, offering residents the option of going into the city for work. Just 2.6% of Johnson County’s labor force are unemployed as compared to 3.3% of the Kansas labor force.
17. Kentucky: Oldham County
> County median household income: $92,237
> State median household income: $46,535
> Poverty rate: 5.6%
> Oct. unemployment: 3.3%
> Major metro area: Louisville/Jefferson County, KY-IN
At $92,237 a year, Oldham County’s median household income is nearly double that of the state as a whole. The county’s median household income is nearly $20,000 more than that of the next wealthiest county in the state. The county lies on the Ohio River, just northeast of Louisville, providing its residents access to the numerous jobs available in the city.
Kentucky’s bachelor’s degree attainment rate of 23.2% is one of the lowest among states. In Oldham County, however, 40.4% of adults hold a college degree, the second highest rate in the state. Higher levels of education qualify residents for lucrative careers that many other Kentuckians would not have access to.
18. Louisiana: Ascension Parish
> County median household income: $74,748
> State median household income: $46,710
> Poverty rate: 11.7%
> Oct. unemployment: 3.9%
> Major metro area: Baton Rouge, LA
Ascension Parish, Louisiana, is located between Baton Rouge and New Orleans, giving residents access to both the capital city as well as the largest city in the state. This access to two major job market likely helps fight unemployment in the area. At 5.0%, Louisiana has one of the highest unemployment rates of any state. The unemployment rate in Ascension Parish, however, is 3.9%, one of the lowest in the state.
Louisiana’s 19.6% poverty rate is one of the highest in the country. But Ascension Parish residents are less likely to live in poverty, as the county has a 11.7% poverty rate. Not only is that well below the state’s poverty rate, but also it is one of relatively few parishes in the state with a lower poverty rate than the U.S. rate of 14.6%.
19. Maine: Cumberland County
> County median household income: $65,702
> State median household income: $53,024
> Poverty rate: 10.7%
> Oct. unemployment: 2.7%
> Major metro area: Portland-South Portland, ME
Over the past five years, the U.S. population grew by 3.8%, yet population growth in Maine was fairly stagnant, yet population growth in Maine was fairly stagnant, increasing by less than 0.1%.Cumberland County’s population growth rate of 2.5% was the highest of any Maine county. This growth may have been bolstered by the area’s relatively strong job market.
Cumberland County has one of the lowest poverty rates in the state, at just 10.7%. Statewide, 12.9% of residents live in poverty. Conversely, Cumberland County has a relatively high share of wealthy residents. Some 6.8% of county households earn at least $200,000 a year, making it the only part of the state with a greater share of wealthy households than the national share of 6.3%.
20. Maryland: Howard County
> County median household income: $115,576
> State median household income: $78,916
> Poverty rate: 5.2%
> Oct. unemployment: 3.0%
> Major metro area: Baltimore-Columbia-Towson, MD
Howard County, Maryland, is one of the wealthiest counties nationwide, with the typical household earning more than $115,000 per year. Residents are also among the least likely to face poverty, as just 5.2% live below the poverty line. Nationwide, 14.6% of Americans live in poverty.
The area’s high incomes are partially attributable to high educational attainment. Howard is one of just seven counties nationwide in which at least 60% of adults have a four-year college degree. This means that residents are more likely to be qualified for high-paying careers. The county is within commuting distance of both Washington, D.C. and Baltimore, and most working residents commute to jobs outside of Howard County.