Special Report

Richest City in Every State

Source: Rmprit / Wikimedia Commons

Kansas: Olathe
> Median household income: $94,292 (state: $62,087)
> Households earning more than $200,000: 10.6% (state: 5.9%)
> Median home value: $273,400 (state: $163,200)
> Adults with a bachelor’s degree: 48.5% (state: 34.0%)
> 2019 unemployment rate: 2.7% (state: 3.8%)
> Population: 140,557

Olathe is the wealthiest city in Kansas, narrowly edging out several other Kansas City-area cities like Overland Park and Shawnee. The median household income in Olathe of $94,292 is more than $32,000 higher than the state median.

Like many of the other cities on this list, Olathe residents are more likely to hold a college degree than residents across the state. Nearly half of all adults 25 and older, 48.5%, hold at least a bachelor’s degree. Across Kansas, 34.0% of adults that age hold such a degree.

Source: Daderot / Wikimedia Commons

Kentucky: Lexington-Fayette
> Median household income: $58,356 (state: $52,295)
> Households earning more than $200,000: 6.4% (state: 4.1%)
> Median home value: $211,400 (state: $151,700)
> Adults with a bachelor’s degree: 45.0% (state: 25.1%)
> 2019 unemployment rate: 5.3% (state: 4.8%)
> Population: 323,152

Kentucky is a relatively poor state. Most Kentucky households earn less than $53,000 a year. Even in the state’s wealthiest city, the combined Lexington-Fayette urban area, the median household income of $58,356 is lower than the median income of $65,712 across the U.S. as a whole.

The low median income is due in part to a relatively weak job market. In 2019, before the novel coronavirus ushered in the worst unemployment crisis in modern history, an average of 5.3% of Lexington-Fayette’s labor force were out of work, compared to the Census’s 4.5% national unemployment rate the same year.

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Louisiana: Metairie
> Median household income: $60,404 (state: $51,073)
> Households earning more than $200,000: 5.9% (state: 5.0%)
> Median home value: $246,600 (state: $172,100)
> Adults with a bachelor’s degree: 35.5% (state: 25.0%)
> 2019 unemployment rate: 3.6% (state: 5.5%)
> Population: 130,427

Metairie is a Census designated place located just outside of New Orleans. The wealthiest city in Louisiana, Metairie’s median annual household income of $60,404 is nearly $9,000 higher than the statewide median. Still, Louisiana is largely a relatively poor state, and even its wealthiest city’s median household income is about $5,000 lower than the $65,712 national median.

Similarly, Metairie residents are less likely to face serious financial hardship than the typical Louisiana resident, but more likely than the typical American. The city’s poverty rate stands at 15.1% — compared to the 19.0% state rate and the 12.3% national rate.

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Maine: Portland
> Median household income: $61,779 (state: $58,924)
> Households earning more than $200,000: 8.2% (state: 5.2%)
> Median home value: $334,200 (state: $200,500)
> Adults with a bachelor’s degree: 57.4% (state: 33.2%)
> 2019 unemployment rate: 3.1% (state: 3.5%)
> Population: 66,218

Portland is the only city in Maine for which the Census ACS has 2019 data, and it ranks as the richest city in the state by default only. Still, the typical household in the city earns an income of $61,779 a year — about $3,000 more than the typical Maine household.

As is often the case in the cities on this list, Portland is home to a relatively well-educated population. Over half of all adults in the city have a bachelor’s degree or higher, compared to about one-third of all adults in Maine.

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Maryland: Ellicott City
> Median household income: $130,930 (state: $86,738)
> Households earning more than $200,000: 29.9% (state: 13.6%)
> Median home value: $557,900 (state: $332,500)
> Adults with a bachelor’s degree: 71.1% (state: 40.9%)
> 2019 unemployment rate: 3.5% (state: 4.5%)
> Population: 72,605

With a median household income of $86,738, Maryland ranks as the wealthiest state in the country. In Ellicott City, the wealthiest city in Maryland, most households earn over $130,000 a year, and about 30% of all households earn $200,000 or more.

Real estate values are often a reflection of what local residents can afford, and in the Baltimore suburb of Ellicott City, most homes are worth more than $557,000. For reference, across the state, the typical home is worth $332,500, and nationwide, the median home value is $240,500.

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