While income inequality is a fundamental component of the U.S. capitalist economy, a recent poll conducted by the Pew Research Center found that 61% of Americans think that it has gone too far. Today, the top 1% of earners in the United States account for about 20% of the country’s total income annually. Meanwhile, the lowest-earning quarter of Americans account for just 3.7% of income every year.
Nationwide, it takes an annual income of $538,926 to be among the top 1%. Among the approximately 1.4 million taxpayers who meet this threshold, the average annual income is about $1.7 million — about 20 times the average income of $82,535 among all taxpayers. Wealth, however, is far more concentrated in certain parts of the country than in others, and as a result, the amount it takes to be among the top 1% in each state varies considerably.
Using adjusted gross income percentile data for the 2017 tax year from the IRS, 24/7 Wall St. determined how much you need to make to be in the 1% in every state. All data is derived from federal 1040 individual tax returns and is inflation adjusted for 2019. The annual income floor needed to be in the 1% ranges from less than $350,000 in some states to well more than double that in others.
Across populations, incomes tend to rise with educational attainment. As a result, incomes tend to be higher in states that are home to a large share of college educated adults. Indeed, many of the best-educated states are also those with the highest income threshold to be among the top 1% of earners. Here is a complete list of America’s most and least educated states.
Of course, just as incomes vary nationwide, incomes also vary within states. The income necessary to be among the top 1% in each state is often driven up by a handful of wealthy towns or neighborhoods. Concentrated pockets of wealth drive up average overall incomes in every state. Here is a look at the richest town in every state.