Special Report

America's Richest and Poorest States

According to recently published data for 2019 from the U.S. Census Bureau, incomes are on the rise in the United States. The typical American household earned $65,712 in 2019, about $3,000 more than the national median household income of $62,860 in 2018. Over the same period, 40 states reported a statistically significant increase in median household income, and no state reported a significant decrease. 

While incomes were higher in the vast majority of states in 2019, incomes vary from state to state — often considerably. For example, there are still eight states where most households earn an income of less than $55,000 a year. At the same time, in a dozen states, most households earn an income of over $75,000 annually.

To help illustrate these income disparities, 24/7 Wall St. identified America’s richest and poorest states. States were ranked using median household income data from the U.S. Census Bureau’s 2019 American Community Survey.

In much of the country, income growth was accompanied by declines in poverty. No state reported a statistically significant increase in poverty from 2018 to 2019, and of the 40 states where household incomes went up, 23 also reported significant declines in the share of residents living below the poverty line. Nationwide, the poverty rate fell from 13.1% in 2018 to 12.3% in 2019. Here is an in-depth look at poverty in America.

One likely factor behind the rising incomes was improvement in the job market. The unemployment rate fell from an average of 3.9% in 2018 to 3.7% in 2019. Over the same period, 34 of the 40 states where incomes rose reported a stable or improved jobless rate. 

The latest Census release on income and poverty does not account for the economic shock that resulted from COVID-19 pandemic. These are the cities with the worst COVID-19 unemployment crisis right now

Click here to see America’s richest and poorest states
Click here to read our methodology