Incomes were on the rise in the United States ahead of the pandemic, according to the most recent available annual data from the Census Bureau. The typical American household earned $65,712 in 2019, about $3,000 more than the national median household income of $62,860 in 2018. Of course, incomes have fluctuated a great deal in the past year, thanks to the effects of COVID-19 on the economy and budgets of American families.
Early evidence points to COVID-19 substantially increasing income inequality. Even before the pandemic, incomes varied substantially across the country, including from state to state. For example, in 2019 there were eight states where most households earned an income of less than $55,000 a year. At the same time, there were a dozen states where the majority of households earned 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. The poorest states are in the South, while the states with the highest incomes are either in the Northeast or on the West Coast.
Median incomes tend to have strong correlations with other key socioeconomic indicators, such as home values, educational attainment, and poverty. The states with higher incomes tend to have lower poverty rates, higher shares of adults with at least a bachelor’s degree, and higher median home values.
To identify the richest and poorest states in America, 24/7 Wall St. reviewed one-year median household income estimates from the U.S. Census Bureau’s 2019 American Community Survey for all 50 states. Additional information on state poverty rate, educational attainment, median home value, and population are also one-year estimates from the 2019 ACS.