Every 10 years, the US Census survey, the US logs each person’s personal income. More than just a number, personal income gives a snapshot of the nation’s living standard and quality of life. The 2020 Census reported that median personal income per capita from 2016 to 2020 was $35,384 in 2020 dollars. This represents a decline from the 2010 figure of $40,690 per capita.
Household income, which takes into account the earnings of all people age 15 or older living under the same roof, on the other hand, increased substantially. According to the Census, the figure from 2016 to 2020 was $64,994 in 2020 dollars. Real median household income was $49,445 in 2010. (See what income level is considered middle class in your state.)
But nationwide figures don’t factor in differences among the states. To identify the states with the highest personal income per capita, 24/7 Wall St. reviewed 2021 annual personal income statistics from the Bureau of Labor Statistics. Income per capita includes wages and salaries, Social Security and other government benefits, dividends and interest, profits from business ownership, and other sources. Poverty rate, the share of households earning $200,000 or more annually, and the share of population 25 and older with a bachelor’s degree or higher are five-year estimates from the US Census Bureau’s 2019 American Community Survey.
Massachusetts tops all states for personal income per capita at $83,815. But Northeastern states in total occupy four of the top five places on the list, with Connecticut at $82,888, New Jersey at $78,018, and New York at $77,672. Notably, these states also have high rates of people with college degrees and low poverty rates. (These are 16 states where incomes are rising fastest.)
At the other end of the scale, four of the five states with the lowest per capita personal income were in the South – Mississippi at $44,942 (the lowest), West Virginia at $47,170, Alabama at $50,065, and Kentucky at $51,238.
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