Special Report

These Are the Richest Places in the West

In any discussion of poverty in America, there’s an official baseline: For statistical purposes and the determination of benefits, the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services sets the current federal poverty level in the continental United States at $12,880 for individuals, $26,500 for families of four. (The rates are slightly higher for Alaska and Hawaii.)

The government has no equivalent definition of wealth, which can be very difficult to measure. Excluding the values of investments, property value, and other forms of wealth, to be considered in the top 20% of earners in America, you’d need an annual income of about $95,000 — in some states. In others, to reach that level, you’ll need more than $170,000. Those numbers pale to insignificance compared to the incomes of a relative few individuals. Here is the richest person of all time from your state.

An annual household income of about $95,000 will put you in the top 20% of American earners in some states, while in other states, it’ll take more than $170,000.

In determining the richest places in the West, 24/7 Wall St. has ranked the median household income in the approximately 20,000 places with 500 or more residents using data from the U.S. Census Bureau’s 2019 American Community Survey.

We also reviewed the percentage of homes valued above $200,000 and — adding in education level, which is closely tied to earning potential — the number of adults with at least a bachelor’s degree. All data are 5-year averages through 2019. We only considered places where less than 25% of the population are enrolled in college or graduate school, as the presence of a large student population can skew income statistics.

The results reveal why California is considered “the Golden State.” Some 18 of the region’s richest places are there. Washington comes next with four, followed by Colorado with two, and Oregon with one. The top 15, however, share a first-place tie in terms of median household income.

Click here to see the richest places in the West.