21. Massachusetts: Norfolk County
> County median household income: $95,668
> State median household income: $74,167
> Poverty rate: 6.5%
> Oct. unemployment: 2.7%
> Major metro area: Boston-Cambridge-Newton, MA-NH
Massachusetts is home to several wealthy counties, but with a $95,668 median annual household income, Norfolk County stands out as the wealthiest. Nationwide, 6.3% of households earn at least $200,000 in a year. In Norfolk County, 16.9% of households earn that much, the highest concentration of any county in the state and one of the highest nationwide.
Massachusetts has the highest college attainment rate in the country, as 42.1% of adult residents have at least a bachelor’s degree. Norfolk County residents are even more likely to have finished college, as 52.5% of adults did.
22. Michigan: Livingston County
> County median household income: $78,430
> State median household income: $52,668
> Poverty rate: 5.9%
> Oct. unemployment: 3.3%
> Major metro area: Detroit-Warren-Dearborn, MI
Of Michigan’s 81 counties, 70 have a median household income lower than the U.S. median of $57,652 a year. At $78,430, Livingston County has the highest median annual household income in the state by more than $5,000. The high income is likely bolstered by the high level of education of county residents. In the county, 34.7% of adults have a bachelor’s degree, compared to 28.1% of adults statewide.
Like much of the state, manufacturing is important in Livingston County. The county resides between Detroit and Lansing, two traditional manufacturing hubs, particularly for automobiles. Nationwide, 10.3% of workers are employed in the manufacturing sector. In Livingston County, 18.1% of workers are.
23. Minnesota: Scott County
> County median household income: $93,151
> State median household income: $65,699
> Poverty rate: 5.6%
> Oct. unemployment: 2.0%
> Major metro area: Minneapolis-St. Paul-Bloomington, MN-WI
Just 5.6% of Scott County residents live in poverty, 4.9 percentage points lower than the poverty rate in Minnesota. The low poverty rate is likely partly the result of the county’s 2.0% unemployment rate, one of the lowest in the state.
Scott County sits just 20 miles away from Minneapolis, so residents can commute to the Twin Cities for work. This convenient location may help explain why Scott County’s population is growing so quickly. Over the past five years, the area’s population increased by more than 10,000 people, an 8.2% increase — more than double the population growth rate of the state as a whole.
24. Mississippi: Madison County
> County median household income: $68,600
> State median household income: $42,009
> Poverty rate: 12.0%
> Oct. unemployment: 3.2%
> Major metro area: Jackson, MS
Mississippi has the lowest median annual household income of any state, at just over $42,000. The U.S. median is over $15,000 higher. Madison County’s median household income is more than $26,000 higher. Madison has a relatively low poverty rate of 12.0%, especially for Mississippi. Statewide, 21.5% of residents live in poverty, the second highest rate of all states.
Mississippi also has the lowest median home value in the country, at less than $110,000. In Madison County, homes are typically worth over $100,000 more, at $213,400. Higher home values generally reflect better economic conditions and a more desirable place to live.
25. Missouri: St. Charles County
> County median household income: $78,380
> State median household income: $51,542
> Poverty rate: 5.7%
> Oct. unemployment: 1.9%
> Major metro area: St. Louis, MO-IL
St. Charles County is a wealthy county just outside of St. Louis. The area’s $78,380 median annual household income is more than 50% higher than Missouri’s median income. Missouri has a an unemployment rate of more than 3%, but St. Charles County’s unemployment rate is much lower, at 1.9%.
Statewide, 28.2% of Missouri adults hold at least a bachelor’s degree. In St. Charles County, 37.1% of adults have at least a four-year degree. This high level of educations allows county residents to qualify for more highly specialized positions.