Special Report

16 States Where Incomes Are Rising Fastest

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16. Ohio
> 10-yr. personal income per capita growth: +25.7%
> Personal income per capita: $52,849 (23rd highest)
> 10-yr. employment growth: +4.3% (25th lowest)
> 10-yr. real GDP growth: +13.6% (23rd highest)

Personal income per capita in Ohio climbed from $42,036 in 2010 to $52,849 in 2020. The 25.7% increase is slightly higher than the comparable increase nationwide and 16th highest among states. Ohio’s economy expanded by 13.6% over the same period, a faster pace than just over half of all states. GDP growth in the state was driven in large part by increased productivity, as Ohio’s workforce expanded by just 4.3% in the last 10 years, less than half the 9.1% increase in employment nationwide over that time.

While job creation in the Buckeye State over the last 10 years has been hampered by declines in several industries, including information and resource extraction — rapid growth in other industries, such as construction and professional and business services, helped offset those job losses.

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15. Nevada
> 10-yr. personal income per capita growth: +25.8%
> Personal income per capita: $48,896 (16th lowest)
> 10-yr. employment growth: +14.0% (11th highest)
> 10-yr. real GDP growth: +13.8% (22nd highest)

Income growth in Nevada has outpaced growth in much of the rest of the country since 2010. Real personal income per capita in the state stands at $48,896, up from $38,865 in 2010, a 25.8% increase.

Nevada was particularly hard hit during the Great Recession and was still struggling considerably in 2010 even as much of the U.S. was already beginning to recover from the recession. This partially explains Nevada’s rapid income growth from 2010 to 2020. Despite the faster than average growth, real personal income in Nevada is about $4,200 below the national average of $53,072.

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14. Indiana
> 10-yr. personal income per capita growth: +26.4%
> Personal income per capita: $50,772 (24th highest)
> 10-yr. employment growth: +6.7% (18th highest)
> 10-yr. real GDP growth: +10.8% (22nd lowest)

Real personal income per capita in Indiana stands at $50,772, up over $10,000, or 26.4%, from 2010. One factor that can drive up personal income is the share of the population who are in the workforce. In Indiana, the share of the total population with a job increased from 43.2% to 44.2% between 2010 and 2020, a larger increase than in all but 13 other states.

Indiana’s job market improved considerably during the decade. The number of people working climbed by 6.7%, a larger increase than most other states reported. Additionally, the state’s annual jobless rate fell from 10.4% in 2010 to 7.1% in 2020.

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13. Arizona
> 10-yr. personal income per capita growth: +26.8%
> Personal income per capita: $45,103 (4th lowest)
> 10-yr. employment growth: +19.4% (3rd highest)
> 10-yr. real GDP growth: +24.6% (9th highest)

Employment in Arizona surged by nearly 20% over the last decade. The near-nation leading increase was partially the result of the high unemployment rate the state recorded during the Great Recession. The recession left Arizona’s economy in far worse condition than most in 2010, with 10.4% of the state’s labor force unemployed. Arizona’s annual unemployment rate stood at 7.9% as of 2020.

As Arizona added jobs, the share of the population in the workforce climbed from 37.3% to 38.4%, one of the larger increases among states. The uptick in workforce participation partially explains the rapid personal income per capita growth in Arizona. Personal income per capita climbed from $35,573 in 2010 to $45,103 in 2020, a 26.8% growth.

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12. Montana
> 10-yr. personal income per capita growth: +27.1%
> Personal income per capita: $50,465 (22nd lowest)
> 10-yr. employment growth: +9.7% (15th highest)
> 10-yr. real GDP growth: +14.5% (21st highest)

Real personal income per capita stands at $50,465 in Montana, up 27.1% from 2010. Real income rises when wage growth outpaces inflation, and wages in Montana have surged in the last decade. Weekly earnings in the state averaged $846 in 2020, a 28.6% increase from 2010, when the average private sector worker earned $658 a week.

Job growth has also been strong in Montana. Overall employment rose 9.7% from 2010 to 2020, one of the larger improvements among states. Over the same period, the state’s annual unemployment rate fell from 7.3% to 5.9%.