Ask 100 people how much money they would need to be rich and you would likely get 100 different answers. “Rich” is a subjective term — and there is no universally agreed upon income threshold. While there is no debate that people such as Oprah Winfrey or Jeff Bezos are rich, determining a base salary that would qualify someone as rich is not as simple. Here is a list of the richest person in every state.
As a relative quality rather than an absolute one, for many, being rich may simply mean having a higher income than the vast majority of other people. According to the U.S. Census Bureau, about half of all U.S. households earn $65,700 or more per year. However, only those households earning at least $131,350 per year are among the richest 20% of households nationwide. But just as median income varies considerably by state, so does the amount needed to be in the richest 20% of households in each state.
To determine the income it takes to be considered rich in each state, 24/7 Wall St. reviewed the minimum income needed to be in the highest earning 20% of households. Data on household income came from the U.S. Census Bureau’s 2019 American Community Survey. In some parts of the country, an annual household income of $94,750 is enough. In others, a minimum household income of over $170,000 is required to rank among the highest earners.
In states where the threshold to be in the wealthiest 20% of households is the highest, the overall cost of living also tends to be high. For example, in Massachusetts, where only households earning at least $171,600 are in the top 20%, goods and services are about 10% more expensive than they are on average nationwide, according to RPP data from the Bureau of Economic Analysis.
Conversely, in states like Arkansas and West Virginia, where a five-figure income can still be higher than what 80% of other households in the state earn, a dollar goes much farther than it does in most other parts of the country. Here is a look at the value of a dollar in every state.