Special Report

The Richest County in Every State

Source: Stephen Edmonds / Flickr

Kansas: Johnson County
> Median household income: $89,087 (state: $59,597)
> Poverty rate: 5.4% (state: 12.0%)
> Nov. 2020 unemployment: 4.8% (state: 5.3%)
> Adults with a bachelor’s degree: 56.0% (state: 33.4%)
> Largest place in county: Overland Park

In Johnson County, Kansas, the typical household earns $89,087 a year, nearly $30,000 more than the income the typical household in the state earns annually. Johnson County residents are also less than half as likely to live below the poverty line than the typical Kansas resident.

While about one-third of adults in Kansas have a bachelor’s degree, in Johnson County, 56% of the 25 and older residents have a bachelor’s degree or higher. Johnson County is the only county in the state where over half of all adults have a four-year college degree.

Source: Morgan from Halifax, Nova Scotia, Canada / Wikimedia Commons

Kentucky: Oldham County
> Median household income: $99,128 (state: $50,589)
> Poverty rate: 5.9% (state: 17.3%)
> Nov. 2020 unemployment: 3.5% (state: 5.1%)
> Adults with a bachelor’s degree: 42.4% (state: 24.2%)
> Largest place in county: La Grange

Kentucky is one of the poorest states in the country. The typical household in the state earns just $50,589 a year, about $12,250 less than what the typical American household earns in a year. Not all parts of the state have similarly low incomes, however. In Oldham County, located just northeast of Louisville along the Indiana state border, the typical household earns $99,128 per year. Oldham is also the only county in the state where more than one in every 10 households earn at least $200,000 a year.

Education is one of the strongest predictors of income, and in Oldham County, 42.4% of adults have a bachelor’s degree or higher, well above the 24.2% share of adults across Kentucky.

Source: BOB WESTON / Getty Images

Louisiana: Ascension Parish
> Median household income: $80,527 (state: $49,469)
> Poverty rate: 10.6% (state: 19.2%)
> Nov. 2020 unemployment: 6.2% (state: 8.1%)
> Adults with a bachelor’s degree: 26.4% (state: 24.1%)
> Largest place in parish: Gonzales

Louisiana is one of the poorest states in the country, with a median annual household income of $49,469, the fourth lowest of all states. However, there are wealthy regions even in the poorest parts of the country. Ascension Parish, which forms part of the suburbs of the state capital of Baton Rouge, is the wealthiest parish in the state, with a median annual household income of over $80,000.

Compared to the wealthiest county in every state, the parish ranks lower in some measures associated with higher incomes. For example, just 26.4% of adults in the parish have a bachelor’s degree, compared to a national share of 32.3%. Higher educational attainment is typically correlated with better job opportunities and higher incomes.

Source: SeanPavonePhoto / Getty Images

Maine: Cumberland County
> Median household income: $73,072 (state: $57,918)
> Poverty rate: 9.0% (state: 11.8%)
> Nov. 2020 unemployment: 4.3% (state: 4.7%)
> Adults with a bachelor’s degree: 47.6% (state: 31.8%)
> Largest place in county: Portland

Cumberland County, located in southern Maine along the Atlantic Coast, is the wealthiest county in the state. Its county seat is Portland. With a median household income of $73,072, Cumberland is the only county in the state where most households earn over $70,000 a year.

College-educated workers typically have higher incomes than those with lower education levels — and not only is Cumberland the wealthiest county in Maine, it is also the best educated. Of the local 25 and older residents, 47.6% have a bachelor’s degree or higher compared to 31.8% of adults in the state.

Source: AppalachianViews / Getty Images

Maryland: Howard County
> Median household income: $121,160 (state: $84,805)
> Poverty rate: 5.0% (state: 9.2%)
> Nov. 2020 unemployment: 4.9% (state: 6.6%)
> Adults with a bachelor’s degree: 62.6% (state: 40.2%)
> Largest place in county: Columbia

With a median annual household income of $84,805, Maryland is the wealthiest state in the county — and Howard County, located within commuting distance of both Baltimore and Washington D.C., is the wealthiest county in the state. The typical Howard County household earns $121,160 a year, nearly double the income the typical American household earns annually.

In Howard County, an estimated 62.6% of adults have a bachelor’s degree or higher, the largest share of any county in the state and one of the largest shares of any county or county equivalent nationwide.

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