The 15 Richest States in the US Right Now
The United States is without doubt the richest country on the planet, holding 30% of the global wealth, which amounts to over $126.3 trillion, according to the 2021 Global Wealth Databook from Credit Suisse. It’s also the country with the most millionaires in the world, 40% of them to be more precise. That’s over 21.2 million adults.
But that doesn’t mean that everyone in the US is doing great in terms of wealth, as there’s a huge income inequality which affects the entire country.
If you want to find out which US states are the most prosperous, you’re gonna have to dig up some figures. Don’t worry though, we’ve done that already. We’ve looked at the median household income, which is one of the best ways to determine the wealth of a given area, by looking at how its people are doing.
There’s more than one way of determining the overall wealth of a state. The Gross Domestic Product, or GDP, is one of the most utilized methods to establish the overall economic health of an area, but that doesn’t account for the income inequality we were talking about above.
Then there’s the mean income value, the sum of the total values divided by the total number of values in the respective dataset, but that doesn’t solve the income gap problem either.
On the other hand, the median income value gives you a better overall picture, the middle ground between the highest earners and the low income individuals, which is why we decided to go for it.
So now that you’ve got a rough idea on how the measurements are made and how we came up with these rankings, let’s find out which are the 15 richest states in the US right now.
- 15. Rhode Island – $71,169
- 14. New York – $72,108
- 13. Minnesota – $74,593
- 12. Alaska – $75,463
- 11. Utah – $75,780
- 10. Virginia – $76,456
- 9. Colorado – $77,127
- 8. New Hampshire – $77,933
- 7. Washington – $78,687
- 6. Connecticut – $78,833
- 5. California – $80,440
- 4. Hawaii – $83,102
- 3. New Jersey – $85,751
- 2. Massachusetts – $85,843
- 1. Maryland – $86,738
15. Rhode Island – $71,169
The 15th richest state in the US right now is Rhode Island, with a median household income of $71,169. It’s the smallest state by area, and it’s got the 7th lowest population in the US, with slightly less than 1.1 million people in 2020. On the other hand though, it’s the second most densely populated state.
The last few years have seen an increase in the overall wellbeing, dropping its poverty rate from 13.9% to 11.58%. It used to struggle with a lack of employment opportunities, but it has gotten a little bit better in the past few years. Many people living in Rhode Island used to rely on food stamps and state assistance.
The figure was around 16.2% back in 2015, when the state saw a median household income of only $58,073, which was a lot lower than today. The median U.S. annual household income was $79,900 in 2021, which puts Rhode Island below this figure with its $71,169, a lot better than in the past few years.
14. New York – $72,108
With a median household income of $72,108, the state of New York surprisingly comes in only at number 14. The fourth most populous state in the US with 20.2 million residents, New York used to fair better in the past, when it was above the median annual household.
Based on the latest figures, those of 2021, it’s now below that mark, and that’s most probably due to the effects of the pandemic, which brought a lot of changes, especially in the unemployment rate, which is now at 7.1%, compared to that of 5.3% back in 2015.
When it comes to poverty, New York has 13.58% rate, which is better than a few years ago when it was down to 15.4%. Income inequality is rather high there, and that’s mainly due to the cost of living, which is much higher than in many other states. Goods and services are also a more expensive, some reports showing that New York is 15.7% more expensive than the rest of the country.
Another important issue is that the median home value in this state is $373,075, which makes buying a home extremely difficult for most citizens. The solution, for most, is paying the high cost of rent, leaving them with little for the other living costs.
13. Minnesota – $74,593
Located in the upper midwestern region of the United States, Minnesota is the 22nd most inhabited state in our country, with over 5.75 million people. With a median household income of $74,593, it’s better off today than it was a few years ago, though now it’s below the median annual of the entire country.
Thanks to its intensive agriculture and the many farmed lands, Minnesota is a prosperous state. Unemployment rate is 3.7%, which is a lot better than most other states in the country, sitting at 39th place from the total of 50.
One other thing that helps Minnesota is its very low poverty rate, 9.33%, which places it 48th in the country. One factor that drives these figures is the impressive 34.7 percent of residents with a bachelor degree.
If you think of moving, Minnesota would make for a very good option.
12. Alaska – $75,463
Unlike many other states, Alaska has remained fairly constant over the years thanks to its rich natural resources, with the oil industry doing well, to which mining, forestry, fishing and agriculture are added. The median household income for 2021 was at $75,463, which was almost similar for the past few years, with only slight differences.
On another note, Alaska’s unemployment rate sits at 6.3%, which didn’t change much from the 2015 levels, but it’s helped by having among the lowest poverty rates in the US, with only 10.34%.
11. Utah – $75,780
Utah has risen in wealth for the past few years, now reaching a median household income of $75,780, putting it immediately below the top ten states.
What makes Utah special is the fact that it has the second lowest unemployment rate, with only 2.4%, and the third lowest poverty rate, at 9.13%, a combination that bridges the gap between the haves and have nots.
It’s one of the most prosperous states in the US, with a rich job market, but on the other hand it’s also among the most expensive in the country, with the average home costing around $330k.
Utah was ranked the top state in the nation for Economic Dynamism in 2007, and number one in 2014 Forbes’s list of “Best States for Business”. That says enough about how good it fares from an economic point of view.
10. Virginia – $76,456
Home to some of the richest places in the country, with over 37 percent of adults with a bachelor degree, and one of the highest percentage of adults with college degrees, it’s no wonder why Virginia is the 10th richest US state.
Its median household income rose to $76,456 in 2021, and combined with a 3.8% unemployment rate and only 10.01% poverty rate, it’s easy to see a pattern that leads to prosperity.
Neighboring Washington DC, Virginia attracts many Americans with a high education, further leading to the accumulation of wealth.
9. Colorado – $77,127
The mountainous Colorado has become a better home for many of its residents during the past few years, increasing its median household income to $77,127 while decreasing the number of households dependent on food stamp assistance, more recently known as the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program, or SNAP.
Unemployment rate has gone up a bit since 2015, from 3.9% to 5.6% in 2021, but the poverty rate has gone down during the same period of time, from 11.5% to 9.78%.
On the other hand, Colorado has a median home price of $397,820, which is quite a lot for most of its residents, but at the same time it’s home to one of the country’s richest counties, Douglas County, which has a median household income 37% higher than the one for the entire United States.
8. New Hampshire – $77,933
New Hampshire has a median household income of $77,933 and a fairly low cost of living compared to some of the other states on this list, with a median home price of around $290k.
This state also has a low unemployment rate, 2.9%, and the lowest poverty rate from the entire United States, 7.42%. Combined with the lower cost of living, it makes for a very prosperous area.
When it comes to education, New Hampshire sits above most other states, thanks to its many prestigious institutions for higher education.
7. Washington – $78,687
Washington is home to many big companies like Amazon, which means, of course, a higher household income for the state, but also rising costs of living, seen especially in a higher median home price, rising to $409,228. It’s on the fourth place when it comes to the costs of a home.
The median household income for Washington is $78,687, just below the median for the entire country. It sits fairly well in regards to employment opportunities, and the poverty rate which is a low 10.19%.
6. Connecticut – $78,833
Connecticut sits a little bit above Washington, but still $1,000 below the median household income in the US, with $78,833. Its wealth is a result of many big employers in key sectors such as goods and pharmaceuticals that operate from this state, driving the income of its residents to higher levels.
Connecticut has seen a constant growth rate over the past few years. In addition to that, it features the third highest ratio of millionaire households per capita. Costs of living are lower than in other states, with the median home price at only $255,555. Combined with a low poverty rate, it makes for a good area for living.
5. California – $80,440
California, also known as the Golden State, is the biggest contributor to the US economy, with a gross state product of almost $3 trillion. It’s also the most populous and the third largest state by area in the United States.
The main sectors driving its economy up are agriculture, technology, tourism, trade, and media. On a sad note though, it has the highest unemployment rate in the US, at the same level with Nevada, scoring 7.5%. Costs of living are also high, with the median home price reaching $554,886 back in 2020.
The large population, combined with the highest unemployment rate, makes California have a high disparity in the distribution of wealth. Its median household income is $80,440.
4. Hawaii – $83,102
When most people think about Hawaii, they think of those idyllic palm beaches, laidback attitude, surfers and the good life. The hidden side of all this is that Hawaii is also the costliest state in the US to live in, with the median home price rising to an incredible $636,451.
A lot of that wealth comes from the tourism and defense industries, rising the median household income to $83,102. Unemployment rate in Hawaii is big, but the poverty rate is among the lowest in the country.
3. New Jersey – $85,751
The third richest state in the US is New Jersey, with a median household income of $85,751. The proximity to New York City is of course advantageous, since many of its residents work there, making more money than the average New Jersey Citizen.
New Jersey has a low poverty rate, of only 9.67%, but one of the highest unemployment rates in the US, which means there’s a lot of income inequality in the state, especially when you think there are many individuals working in NYC. Also, the cost of living is close to that of New York, which makes it harder for some.
2. Massachusetts – $85,843
Known as a hub for higher education and healthcare, with more employees in these two sectors than any other state, and counting in the highest number of residents with bachelor’s degrees, Massachusetts has all the reasons for being the second richest state in the US, with a median household income of $85,843.
It’s got the third place for the median home price, with $422,856, which shows that the costs of living are quite high there.
Besides the education and healthcare sectors, financial services and technology are also doing very well in Massachusetts.
1. Maryland – $86,738
The richest American state is Maryland, with a median household income of $86,738, and a higher number of government employees, which account for some of the highest paying jobs in the country.
It also has the second lowest poverty rate, with 9.02%, and the median home price of $308,041, just below New York.
Also important is the higher education rate of its citizens, with more than 38% of adults having earned a bachelor degree. Unemployment rate has gone up since a few years ago, most probably due to the pandemic.
As you could probably notice, there’s a strong correlation between higher education and a higher income, but factors like living in an area where some of the best paying industries operate are extremely important as well.
Also interesting to watch is how Alaska has kept constant over the years, which can be partly attributed to its remoteness, which probably leads to a more united community and the willingness for people to help each other more.
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