The U.S. Census Bureau released on Wednesday new data from its 2015 nationwide population survey. According to the annual survey, the national median household income rose to $55,775 in 2015. No state reported income declines. While 39 states reported significant increases in household income, income levels in 11 states remained the same.
24/7 Wall St. ranked all 50 states according to the newly released median household income figures. Annual income levels range from $75,847 in Maryland to $40,593 in Mississippi.
High-income states typically share certain social and economic characteristics. For example, residents of states with the highest incomes also tend to have high education levels. In 17 of the states reporting higher than average household incomes, college attainment rates also exceed the national attainment rate of 30.1%.
While it certainly does not make up the difference between a poverty wage and a six-figure salary, residents of low-income states enjoy cheaper goods and services than residents of high-income states. For example, goods and services cost 10.3% more in Maryland than they do across the nation. In Mississippi, meanwhile, goods and services cost 13.4% less than the national average.
> Median household income: $45,215
> Population: 4,425,092 (25th lowest)
> 2015 Unemployment rate: 5.4% (20th highest)
> Poverty rate: 18.5% (5th highest)
Like most states, Kentucky’s median household income of $45,215 a year has increased since 2014, when the median income, adjusted for inflation, was $43,014 a year. Residents are still quite poor, however. Kentucky’s poverty rate of 18.5% is the fifth highest poverty rate of all states. While no guarantee, a college degree substantially improves the odds of finding a job with a good wage. In Kentucky, just 23.3% of adults have a bachelor’s degree, considerably lower than the national college attainment rate of 30.6%.
Similarly, home values closely mirror household incomes. In 18 of the states with high household incomes median home values exceed the national median home value of $194,500. The opposite is the case in the nation’s poorest states.
To identify the richest and poorest states with the highest and lowest median household income, 24/7 Wall St. reviewed state data on income from the U.S. Census Bureau’s 2015 American Community Survey (ACS). Median household income for all years is adjusted for inflation. Data on health insurance coverage, employment by industry, food stamp recipiency, poverty, and income inequality also came from the 2015 ACS. Income inequality is measured by the Gini coefficient, which is scaled from 0 to 1, with 0 representing perfect equality and 1 representing total inequality. We also reviewed annual average unemployment data from the Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) for 2014 and 2015.