A recent survey conducted by YouGov, a London based research group, asked Americans to identify what annual salary they would need to earn to consider themselves rich. The results varied widely, but most Americans place the threshold somewhere between $90,000 and $100,000. In addition to shedding light on the prevailing perceptions of financial prosperity in the United States, the survey also highlights the subjective nature of what qualifies as rich, and what does not.
For many Americans, the answer to what it means to be rich is likely relative — as in, how much money it takes to earn more than the vast majority of other people. According to data from the U.S. Census Bureau, the wealthiest 20% of households nationwide earn over $125,322 a year. However, exactly how much it takes to fall into the highest quintile of earners varies widely by state.
24/7 Wall St. reviewed the lower limit of income for the highest earning 20% of households to identify how much it takes to be considered rich in each state. In some parts of the country, an annual household income of $92,000 is enough, while in others, only households that make over $160,000 rank among the highest earners. In states where the wealthiest residents earn the most, incomes tend to be higher overall. Here is a ranking of America’s richest and poorest states.
Just as the amount of money it takes to be among the highest earners varies by state, so too does the cost of living. Across all states, the cost of living ranges from 18.5% more expensive than national average prices to 14.3% less expensive. In states where it takes more money to rank in the top 20%, cost of living tends to be higher than average. Conversely, in states where it takes less income to rank among the highest earners, the cost of living tends to be lower. Differences in cost of living can be even more pronounced at the city level. Here is a look at the most expensive city in every state.