Special Report

16 States Where Incomes Are Rising Fastest

Source: pawel.gaul / Getty Images

6. Michigan
> 10-yr. personal income per capita growth: +30.5%
> Personal income per capita: $50,706 (25th lowest)
> 10-yr. employment growth: +4.3% (23rd lowest)
> 10-yr. real GDP growth: +11.3% (24th lowest)

Michigan is one of only six states where real personal income per capita increased by more than 30% in the last decade. Inflation-adjusted income per capita in the state stands at $50,706, up from $38,867 in 2010.

Longer working days and greater workforce participation likely explain the climbing income. Workers in the state put in an average of 34.2 hours per week, up 1.5% from 2010 — one of the 10 largest increases among states. Additionally, 40.5% of the state’s population worked in 2020, compared to just 39.1% in 2010. The increase is the seventh highest of any state.

Source: knowlesgallery / Getty Images

5. Idaho
> 10-yr. personal income per capita growth: +31.2%
> Personal income per capita: $46,567 (8th lowest)
> 10-yr. employment growth: +25.2% (2nd highest)
> 10-yr. real GDP growth: +27.8% (8th highest)

Inflation-adjusted per capita income in Idaho stands at $46,567 — among the 10 lowest of any state. Still, it is 31.2% higher than it was a decade ago, the fifth largest increase among states.

The increase in Idaho was likely driven by rapidly climbing workforce participation. An estimated 41.3% of the state’s population are employed, up from just 38.5% in 2010 — the second largest increase of any state. Greater workforce participation came, in part, through rapid job creation, as employment climbed by over 25% in the last decade, more than double the 9.1% national job growth over that time. Construction and education and health services were the fastest growing industries by employment in Idaho between 2010 and 2020.

Source: Planet Unicorn / Getty Images

4. Colorado
> 10-yr. personal income per capita growth: +31.7%
> Personal income per capita: $55,369 (14th highest)
> 10-yr. employment growth: +19.1% (4th highest)
> 10-yr. real GDP growth: +32.3% (5th highest)

Real personal income per capita climbed by 31.7% in Colorado over the last decade — from $42,054 in 2010 to $55,369 in 2020. The increase came over a period of rapid economic growth in the state. Colorado’s inflation-adjusted GDP surged by 32.3% between 2010 and 2020, compared to 18.1% nationwide over the same period.

As is often the case in states where personal incomes have surged in recent years, Colorado has greater workforce participation than it did a decade ago. As of 2020, 45.5% of the state’s population were employed, compared to 44.2% in 2010 — the sixth largest such increase among states.

Source: Sean Pavone / Getty Images

3. Illinois
> 10-yr. personal income per capita growth: +32.0%
> Personal income per capita: $57,412 (5th highest)
> 10-yr. employment growth: +1.4% (13th lowest)
> 10-yr. real GDP growth: +7.0% (16th lowest)

Income per capita, adjusted for inflation, stands at $57,412 in Illinois — 32% higher than in 2010, when real personal income per capita in the state was just $43,506. Over the same period, average weekly wages in the state, not adjusted for inflation, climbed 30.1% — from $796 to $1,036.

The surge in personal income in Illinois was likely driven primarily by greater workforce participation. Since 2010, the state’s population contracted by 5.7%, while overall employment climbed by 1.4% over the same period. Professional and business services and construction were the two fastest growing industries by employment in Illinois between 2010 and 2020.

Source: choness / Getty Images

2. California
> 10-yr. personal income per capita growth: +35.0%
> Personal income per capita: $53,097 (22nd highest)
> 10-yr. employment growth: +13.0% (14th highest)
> 10-yr. real GDP growth: +32.4% (4th highest)

Real personal income per capita was just $39,321 in California in 2010 — 15th lowest of any state. As of 2020, real personal income per capita was $53,097 in the state, 22nd highest among the 50 states. The 35% 10-year increase is the second highest of any state.

A confluence of factors in California contributed to the near-nation leading real income growth. Over the last 10 years, GDP growth, work force participation growth, and average weekly earnings growth were each among the five highest of any state. Any one of these factors alone could contribute to strong growth in real personal income per capita.