Special Report

States Where Incomes Have Gone Up the Most

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20. Minnesota
> 1 yr. change in median household income: +4.5%
> Median household income: $74,593 (2019); $71,394 (2018)
> Poverty rate: 9.0% (2019); 9.6% (2018)
> Unemployment: 3.2% (2019); 2.9% (2018)

Between 2018 and 2019, the median household income in Minnesota climbed from $71,394 to $74,593. The 4.5% increase was higher than the increase most states reported and in line with the comparable increase across all households nationwide.

Unlike most states on this list, Minnesota’s unemployment rate increased between 2018 and 2019, from 2.9% to 3.2%. Of the six states on this list that had higher unemployment in 2019 than in 2018, Minnesota reported one of the largest increases in median household income — and one of the largest increases in unemployment.

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19. Nebraska
> 1 yr. change in median household income: +4.5%
> Median household income: $63,229 (2019); $60,490 (2018)
> Poverty rate: 9.9% (2019); 11.0% (2018)
> Unemployment: 3.0% (2019); 2.9% (2018)

The typical household in Nebraska earned $63,229 in 2019, about $2,700 more than in 2018. The higher incomes led to a significant reduction in the share of state residents facing serious financial hardship. The poverty rate in Nebraska fell from 11.0% in 2018 to 9.9% in 2019, one of the larger improvements among states. Despite reporting a rise in incomes, Nebraska is one of only six states where unemployment was worse in 2019 than in 2018, as the unemployment rate ticked up from 2.9% to 3.0% over that period.

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18. Utah
> 1 yr. change in median household income: +4.5%
> Median household income: $75,780 (2019); $72,484 (2018)
> Poverty rate: 8.9% (2019); 9.0% (2018)
> Unemployment: 2.6% (2019); 3.0% (2018)

Median household income climbed by 4.5% in Utah from 2018 to 2019, in line with the increase nationwide. Though household incomes are climbing at comparable rates, the median household income in Utah, at $75,780, is about $10,000 greater than the national median.

The high — and rising — median household income in Utah is likely due in part to the strong job market in the state. Just 2.6% of the state’s labor force was out of work in 2019, down from 3.0% in 2018. Over the same period, the national unemployment rate fell to 3.7% from 3.9%.

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17. Washington
> 1 yr. change in median household income: +4.6%
> Median household income: $78,687 (2019); $75,231 (2018)
> Poverty rate: 9.8% (2019); 10.3% (2018)
> Unemployment: 4.3% (2019); 4.5% (2018)

The median household income in Washington climbed by 4.6% in 2019 — from $75,231, to $78,687. Over the same period, the median household income nationwide increased by 4.5%. In the majority of states that reported stronger than average income growth, incomes remain lower than they are nationwide. Washington is one of the exceptions, however, as the typical household earns about $13,000 more annually than the typical American household does.

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16. North Carolina
> 1 yr. change in median household income: +4.7%
> Median household income: $57,341 (2019); $54,756 (2018)
> Poverty rate: 13.6% (2019); 14.0% (2018)
> Unemployment: 3.9% (2019); 4.0% (2018)

Median household income climbed by 4.7% in North Carolina in 2019 — a slightly larger increase than the 4.5% increase across the U.S. as a whole. Despite outpacing national income growth, the typical North Carolina household earns $57,341 a year, about $8,000 less than the typical American household.

North Carolina residents are also more likely than most Americans to struggle financially. The state poverty rate stands at 13.6%, down from 14.0% in 2018. Over the same period, the national poverty rate fell to 12.3% from 13.1%.

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