10 Richest US States

According to the US Census, the median household income in the United States is $74,580. Median incomes, however, vary drastically depending on the state. Some states, for example, have incomes of over $20,000 above the national median. Although not a state, Washington DC has the highest median household income in the country, with $101,722. The reasons for these substantial differences in income are fascinating, and frequently influenced by state geography and industries. Read on to explore the factors that make these 10 states the richest in the country.

10 Richest States in the US

Rank State Median Household Income
1 Maryland $98,461
2 New Jersey $97,126
3 Massachusetts $96,505
4 Hawaii $94,814
5 California $91,905
6 New Hampshire $90,845
7 Washington $90,325
8 Connecticut $90,213
9 Colorado $87,598
10 Virginia $87,249

Maryland - $98,461

View from Bladen Street of the Maryland State House capitol building
View from Bladen Street of the Maryland State House capitol building.

With the median household income at $98,461 in Maryland, it ranks first out of all 50 states in terms of wealth. Maryland’s high income is largely due to its proximity to Washington DC, as many residents commute there to work. Naturally, Maryland’s largest employer is the government, which consists of about 530,000 employees in the state. The Marriott is the largest private employer in Maryland, employing about 121,000 residents. Additionally, with a GDP of about $470.2 Billion, The size of Maryland's economy is similar to Nigeria’s, even though its population is only 3% of this West African country’s population.

New Jersey - $97,126

Exchange Place, Jersey City, New Jersey skyline.
Exchange Place, Jersey City, New Jersey skyline.

New Jersey ranks second in wealth with a median household income of $97,126 per year. Similar to Maryland, one of the reasons for New Jersey’s wealth is its proximity to other cities. Serving as a suburb for both New York City and Philadelphia, city commuters compose a large amount of the high income. Pharmaceuticals, financial services, and manufacturing are three of New Jersey’s biggest private industries. Interestingly enough, New Jersey has the largest ratio of millionaire households per capita in the country, with nearly 10% of all residents possessing one million dollars or more in assets.

Massachusets - $96,505

Boston skyline in sunny summer day, view from harbor on downtown, Massachusetts
Boston, Massachusetts skyline, view from the harbor downtown

Massachusetts is the third-ranking state with the highest income, with a median household income of $96,505. The state is home to many important industries such as biotech, healthcare, education, and finance, which contribute to a large quantity of high-paying jobs. Over 840,000 workers work in either the healthcare or education industry and one of the largest employers in the state is the hospital network, Mass General Brigham. Additionally, the state is very educated, with 91.2% of residents holding a high school diploma and 45.9% with a bachelor’s degree or higher. Massachusetts has less wealth inequality than other states with similar industries and education levels, giving it a higher rank for overall income.

Hawaii - $94,814

Arial skyline view of Honolulu at dusk
Arial skyline view of Honolulu, Hawaii at dusk

Hawaii has a median household income of $94,814, ranking it fourth for highest income. While their income levels may be high compared to the majority of other states, they also have the most expensive housing in the US, with the average home in Hawaii costing $839,013. These high housing costs cause many Hawaiian families to face economic hardships despite the high median income. The biggest industries in Hawaii are education, tourism, real estate, and health insurance. Tourism accounts for nearly a quarter of Hawaii’s overall economic activity.

California - $91,905

Skyline view of business center in downtown San Francisco
Skyline view of business center in downtown San Francisco

California is the fifth wealthiest state in the US, with a median household income of $91,905. California’s biggest industries include agriculture, film and television, travel and tourism, tech, and financial and education services. California’s ranches and farms account for an economic output of approximately $55.9 billion annually. Additionally, important tech companies such as Meta, HP, eBay, Google, and Intuit represent a large portion of income for the West Coast state. Some of the country's wealthiest counties are in California, including San Francisco, Marin, San Mateo, and Santa Clara. California also is home to the most billionaires, with 186 billionaires residing in California as of 2022.

New Hampshire - $90,845

Portsmouth, New Hampshire, USA townscape.
Portsmouth, New Hampshire, USA townscape

New Hampshire has a median household income of $90,845 and ranks sixth in wealth. The biggest industries in the state are higher education, healthcare, and insurance. As of 2023, there were about 95,000 employees in the healthcare and social assistance industry. It is also a well-educated state, with 93.8% of residents possessing a high school diploma. New Hampshire is one of nine states to not have income or sales tax. It depends heavily on high local property taxes to fund services such as education.

Washington - $90,325

A roadside sign with welcome to Washington State on it, with a rural setting and blue sky behind.
A Welcome to Washington State roadsign with a rural setting and blue sky behind.

Washington is the seventh richest state in the US with a median household income of $90,325. Some of the most significant industries in the state are aerospace, agriculture and food, clean technology, and forestry. The government is an important economic contributor in the state as well, employing nearly 600,000 workers. One of the state’s weak points, however, is its unemployment, which is one of the highest in the country at 4.7%.

Connecticut - $90,213

Two white chairs on the beach overlooking the Mystic River marina village in Connecticut
Two white chairs on the beach overlooking the Mystic River marina village in Connecticut

Connecticut boasts a median household income of $90,213, placing it eighth in terms of states with the highest income. 15 companies from the Fortune 500 have their headquarters in Connecticut, greatly contributing to the state’s wealth. Key industries comprising high-paying jobs include insurance, pharmaceuticals, bioscience, manufacturing, aerospace, and medical technology. Connecticut began its reputation as an insurance state over 180 years ago and continues to be a key state for insurance in the US. Connecticut’s economy accounts for nearly one-fourth of New England’s GDP

Colorado - $87,598

Aerial view of Vail, Colorado
Aerial view of Vail, Colorado

Consisting of a median household income of $87,598, Colorado ranks ninth in the richest states. Many of Colorado’s industries are high-paying and include aerospace, manufacturing, bioscience, creative industries, energy, defense and security, and technology. It is ranked number one in aerospace employment in the US and is a leader in the technology and science industries, contributing to many high-paying jobs. Additionally, it is an educated state, with 43.7% of residents possessing a bachelor’s degree or higher.

Virginia - $87,249

Richmond, Virginia, USA downtown skyline
Richmond, Virginia, USA downtown skyline

Completing the list as the tenth wealthiest state is Virginia, bringing in a median household income of $87,249. Many financial institutions have set up establishments in Virginia due to its East Coast location and proximity to the US capital. Other key industries include aerospace, technology, government contracting services, NGOs, and cybersecurity. Virginia, with a GDP of over 500 million, has an economy similar to the size of Ireland’s.

In conclusion, these top 10 richest states in the United States showcase diverse industries and economic strengths that contribute to their high median household incomes. From the proximity to major metropolitan areas driving Maryland and New Jersey's prosperity to the robust healthcare and education sectors supporting Massachusetts, each state has a unique economic landscape that shapes its wealth. Despite challenges such as high housing costs in Hawaii or unemployment rates in Washington, these states continue to thrive economically, attracting residents and businesses alike.


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