Household income distribution in USA by state [OC]

Household income distribution in USA by state [OC]

My guess its a combination of low population, and concentrated wealth from extractive industries like oil/gas, commercial fishing, lumber, mining, etc. Its also probably a place that's hard to be poor in given the harsh conditions and costs associated with surviving there.

What's interesting is 8 of the 10 with higher percentage income earners are blue states and 9 of the 10 with higher percentage lower income earners are red states...

Genuine question: why is Alaska so high on the list? Are people paid more because of the work conditions? I would never have placed Alaska that high.

There's a reason everyone retires and moves south... We're better than you...

Not so sure about that. The North is up 1-0 since 1865.

It also has a BIG difference in cost of living. I live in a 3800 square foot house on 5 acres in South Carolina. I paid 220k. In New York that would buy me a cardboard box. 40k is a decent living here because everything so cheap. That is poverty up north. There's a reason everyone retires and moves south. Well two reason. We're better than you and were cheap lol I kid I kid

This is a very interesting chart. I live in Florida and my wife and I make about 85k together and feel pretty poor. It's crazy to think that we make more than 70% of the population if not 75%

You do realize there’s more to NY than just the City, right? And that the rest of NY is pretty rural and relatively cheap living?

There is a sharp divide between income in urban vs rural areas and that isn't easily dissected using this chart. A HHI of $85k would yield completely different lifestyles in SE FL vs panhandle. According to this data my family should be living a life of luxury, but we are far from that since we are in an urban area.

A place that's hard to be poor

Exactly. Notice it has the smallest percentage of people in the lowest income bracket of any state.

Hahahahahahahahahahahaha you win. Thank you for that laugh with my coffee.

I recently moved to DC and starting to have a first world problem here. DC is rarely listed on these types of things so I can't see where I fall.

I've been telling people for ages that NJ is actually a really nice place to live; I grew up in Warren County, and no one believes me that there were corn fields and apple orchards there.

Well, there WERE until my town started to be developed heavily. My family moved south not long after that, but I maintain that NJ doesn't deserve the trashy reputation it has.

Source - US Census Bureau | Tools: MS Excel, Datawrapper

Oh man, can we get this controlled for cost of living?

I don't think rich people become residents for recreational purposes, especially since I think the attraction would be limited to the summer months. There are better low-tax jurisdictions in which to base yourself.

I live in Tampa. In reality we're not poor. We match 401k and max out both Roth IRAs. We have an emergency fund and save for fun stuff. I guess I feel poor because I have to save for fun toys like guitars and computer stuff. Instead of just having the money to buy them right now and as I say this it makes me feel terrible to know that most people don't get all that and that's why I'm not poor.

Well for one, all Alaksans can qualify for the permament fund dividend (Annual sharing of oil revenue) plus due to the cost of living there, the base wages are higher than in most states. Wonderful place, lived thre for two years.

Not sure you'd call it old money if this is based on yearly salary/income tax.

And it could attract rich people for recreational reasons

Shhhh, too many people here already. Keep it a secret.

Let other people believe what they want.

Not at all interesting. Urban areas vote democrat, rural areas vote republican in all states. Urban areas have a higher cost of living and higher wages.

You’d be surprised. There are a lot of wealthy people, quite a few of whom are retired, who buy houses and cabins and such up here and make Alaska their residence for the PFD and tax breaks. Then they buy another house in Arizona, or somewhere similar, for the winter months.

Maryland is the closest example. A significant portion of central Maryland work in DC.

I'd say it's frustrating more than interesting.

It would be interesting to compare this with another stat like property tax. Also, could we get one showing a >450K

There's a lot more to it than that. Red states tend to have more of the population in rural areas, vs Blue states that are heavily urban. Urban jobs typically pay better, but at the same time, are in areas with a higher cost of living. It's not as simple as "Stupid, selfish Republican states and smart, generous Democrat states" like some of the comments seem to suggest

There are a lot of cool things you can look at here. Utah has one of the lowest <$25k groups of any state. Utah also has the highest marriage rate of any state. Utahns tend to get married young as well, second only to Idaho. Because this is household income, this makes a pretty significant difference. Especially in that lowest bracket where many single 18-22 year olds would be

Yep, it's a big state, both in population and size. Interesting to point out further that nearly half the state's population lives in NYC. So that skews the numbers even more.

Edit: I'd also wager that rural NY is likely tougher to get by in and more expensive than say rural Louisiana or rural Mississippi. Things like state gas taxes are going to affect rural NYers and I think the average price in NY is $2.60+, while it's closer to $2.20 in LA and MS. Stuff like that will stack and deplete PPP.

For anyone who has no idea what PFD means:

The Permanent Fund Dividend [PFD] is a dividend paid to Alaska residents that have lived within the state for a full calendar year (January 1 – December 31), and intend to remain an Alaska resident indefinitely.

The lowest individual dividend payout was $331.29 in 1984 and the highest was $2,072 in 2015.

As of the end of 2016, the fund is worth nearly $55 billion that has been funded by oil revenues.

Thanks Wikipedia!

I mean technically we beat em so good they don't even exist anymore.

You are surrounded by 10 of the 15 wealthiest counties in the country (4 of the top 5). The services and opportunities in the area are stellar, you'll love it!

Actually it’s capped at around 1100 now.

Source: Am Alaskan

Old money isn't represented on the graph. Salaries above 150k are probably not related to old money until you get well beyond that and look at the top .1%, not the top 10%.

That's why NY's percentage at 25K or less is very surprising. Nearly 1/5 of New Yorkers make less than $25k, which means they are even WORSE off then those in the south.

That's extremely misleading as welfare distributions and decisions are made by states and much of the funding comes from individual states. The number of recipients and the amounts they receive don't reflect the neediness of the people; they reflect the state's willingness to help.

Federal welfare barely exists in some states, which use less than 10% of the federal TANF block grant for basic assistance; California uses almost half. In California welfare is largely provided by counties, due to state mandate. California's TANF grant from the federal govt is 3.7 billion dollars. LA county alone spends about $1 billion of their own money on general assistance/general relief.

And New Hampshire is the Alaska of New England, which explains the fierce libertarian streak there. Government services? Why in the hell would anybody need to take my money for that?

This is already an issue with pay. Minnesota, for example, will have something like 1.5x the pay around the twin cities than it will the rest of the state along with higher cost of living. You'd have to try and separate the bimodality of both pay and cost of living from rural vs urban in every state they're present.

Right there with you. We're in the top 20% in Missouri according to this chart, but we still budget tightly, buy almost all our groceries at Aldi (eggs were $0.49/dozen over the summer!), and only go on vacation every ~3 years because we have to save up. My gaming computer is getting long in the tooth, but it'll be another 12 months or so before I have enough saved up to replace it.

But I'm also maxing my 401k with matching, maxing the Roth IRA, have a very small amount of stock investment, am paying a bit extra on the mortgage, and am investing in our home, which we plan to live in the rest of our lives. The thing to look at isn't your spendable/liquid cash month-to-month, but your net worth.

The surreal thing for me is the change from 5, or 10, or 15 years ago. I grew up pretty poor. Last week, the lamp post in our front yard got broken and needed replaced, so we bought a replacement and put it in and then built a little brick wall around it. Total cost was probably around $130. 6 years ago, we literally would not have been able to afford that and it would have just stayed broken. Now, we can fix it the same week.

Isn’t the dividend only like a $1500 check every year? Not nearly enough to impact your income bracket.

I just read in a different Reddit thread that $450k/year is middle class. I would love to see this too.

They don't actually, have a look at individual data.

In poor states, rich people are much more likely than poor people to vote for the Republican presidential candidate, but in rich states (such as Connecticut), income has a very low correlation with vote preference.

So basically poor people in poor states vote R, and rich people in poor states vote R,

Making Alaska one's domicile for the PFD doesn't make much sense, especially given the higher cost of living. For most wealthy it would make more sense to be domiciled in Florida or somewhere like that.

Edit: I'd also wager that rural NY is likely tougher to get by in and more expensive than say rural Louisiana or rural Mississippi. Things like state gas taxes are going to affect rural NYers and I think the average price in NY is $2.60+, while it's closer to $2.20 in LA and MS. Stuff like that will stack and deplete PPP.

I think it’s worth noting that Blue states like NY generally have higher rates of upward economic mobility than states in the south. I.e., someone born poor in NY or NJ is more likely to move up the income ladder than someone born poor in South Carolina or Alabama.

I think part of the reason is that wealthier Blue states tend to have better schools & higher levels of educational attainment.

Also, I’d argue that Blue states seem to be more likely to enact policies that benefit the poor. As an example, most of the states that expanded Medicaid under the Affordable Care Act are Blue states.

So you get the MD salary but the DC rent and cost of living? Raw deal.

A few observations:

The #1 poorest and #2 richest are right next to each other. Looks like old money is concentrated on the North East Coast. And if you don't want to be surrounded by the poor, you need to like Mormons (Utah) or cold dark winters (Alaska).

Being able to meet your basic needs doesn't exactly speak of luxury in my mind. Luxury implies you can buy unnecessary things whenever you want.

Yes, children are eligible for the PFD the year after they are born.

NJ historically has been home to many large corporate headquarters. There are a significant number of high-paying c-level jobs available at all of those, in addition to tons of managerial positions that would qualify you to make the green category. Lots of people working good paying jobs in New York City also live here, and New York is also home to many large companies with many high level positions available.

I am a teacher (not something people generally consider to be a well-paid profession) in NJ. I'll never make the green level, but less than 10 years in and I am in the purple. With another education bump on the pay scale, I'll be in the blue for the later half of my career.

Not in the hearts and minds of the millions of Americans that refuse to accept the outcome of a war that ended over 150 years ago.

You get that amount per person in your household though, right?

I have a friend with 5-kids. He was a teacher in Alaska and said they got paid for each kid.

There is a multitude of influences here. Younger people move to the cities where employment opportunities are, older people move to the countryside where they can get some peace and quiet.

Older people tend to be more conservative.

As you said, urban areas experience more diversity, so they are bound to be less socially conservative.

College graduates have much better employment opportunities in Urban areas, and people with higher education tend to be progressive.

Rural areas have tighter social bonds, so change seems less desirable to them.

Generally, urban areas have been the 'losers' when it comes to job distribution etc. in the last few decades, so they have a more positive image of the past, which makes them more conservative.

There's a lot more and more complex reasons of course.

It's not just an American trend either, it's happening across Europe, too.

It also matters what's important to you. Cost of living these days basically gets you a house and land. Most other costs are the same as everyone can shop at Amazon/target/Costco for basically the same prices for most everything they buy. I live in a high cost of living place so I have to settle for a smaller place but I make about 40% more than if I were still back home and since there is more to life than a house I have a lot more money for traveling, going to events, and buying cool things.

It's a trade off but it just depends how important house size is to you.

Actually something like 70% of ny’s impoverished live in nyc. Brooklyn and the Bronx and even queens have millions upon millions of poor people. The South Bronx is still the poorest congressional district in the entire country.

They're also about 1/6 of the US GDP... Lots of rich and poor people live in the most populous state. Imagine that... /s

Well the motto is "Live Free or Die", so yeh!

It's interesting how the lower income earners shoot themselves in the foot, while the higher income earners try to help the former...

I think that was just people making fun of the house republicans who implied that

It might look low, but it has such huge impact to the local economy. The Alaska example is one of the main arguments for the universal basic income.

Atlanta was founded in a location with essentially no geographic advantages. Indianapolis is a planned city built in what was the middle of nowhere. Salt Lake City and Las Vegas were the middle of the desert. Cities are much richer and more economically dynamic than more conservative areas. Maybe they’re doing something right besides just being next to a river? Favorable geography definitely helps though (this history of New York from port to manufacturing hub to financial center is great

Our taxes are some of the highest in the country, but we also have one of if not the best public schools in the country. Amazing place to live with such variety. Mountains, beaches, Philadelphia, New York City, farms.

We have higher wages because of where we are, and coupled with a lot of good military jobs and oil work, which pays out the wazoo, we all earn pretty good money, not to mention our state pays us ~1k a year just for our oil reserves. I make pretty good money just at Walmart, and I have friends who do even better. The cost of living is higher too, however, so net income would probably place us a little lower.

Your family IS living a life of luxury if you're making more than 80% of people. Even if it doesn't feel like your idea of luxury, it is. You're probably able to buy groceries without feeling bad about spending that money, for example. That is a luxury many people take for granted.

Yes, and they have pet wolves to help with the food supply. This frees up more time to pan for gold.

Yup, I just took this picture near Montgomery.

Yup, I just took near Montgomery.

Yea I second that one. Income distribution is nice and neat in VA, but I know the living costs are disproportionate.

Everything is just so damn expensive. I live in Virginia and make over 100k.

I live a decent life but by no means am I living a luxury life. I have a town house that costs me 2k a month when you add in all the interest pmi and taxes.

I max out my 401k which comes out to around 1300 a month. It’s tax free but still. I get another 800 or so out of my pay check for taxes medical dental etc.

I also save around 1k for liquid savings on my take home.

I still have enough for fun toys every now and then. And enough to go out to eat out at like ruby tuesdays or the bbq joint. I drive a basic suv that works but isn’t fancy and or anything.

I pay off my credit card and keep a low debit ratio.

Basically my point is I’m not asking for sympathy I have a life where I’m eating everyday and I can go to the doctor and be fine but I’m considered to be living luxury in the view of most Americans. When in reality we are all so bogged down with hidden fees taxes and other nickel and dime bullshit that it holds us all down.

I live a good life but I’m not living a top 1% life. I’m doing everything the experts say to do. Save. Live within your means and all that shit. But Jesus it’s not a lavish life. I wake up. Go work. eat sleep. Clean the yard and watch football on weekends. That’s my life. I can’t just splurge or I’ll have to sit around for another half Year saving for my emergency fund. I’ll always fucking saving for something bad to happen. You basically get pulled into a life where you just Fucking sit around because if you spend or get hurt that’s it. Gotta start over.

I have no idea how those who are making the national average or living around the poverty line manage. It’s draining.

It's weird to think that in only 80 years we went from the Civil War to dropping the atomic bomb.

On the other side, South Dakota has lower household income because cost of living here is so low. Like stupid low. Very easy to live here. I love South Dakota, low cost of living, low crime rate, plenty of jobs in many fields.

Tell be about it. My wife and I support single payer health care but we live in Missouri, so when we tell people this they look at us like we are wanting a handout. This is when I have to point out to them that we would be in the group that has their taxes raised to pay for this and we just think that helping everyone makes society better as a whole. The even funnier thing is they are usually very religious yet they seem to think that helping poorer people is not something jesus would do.

Yeah but it's Mississippi

Which should really tell you something about the GOP tax plan trying to define "middle class" as up to $450k income.

The graph doesn't show old vs new money.

Florida: Where the more north you go, the farther South you get.

Why do you feel poor? Do you live in a city?

Ha, I'm actually the opposite. I live in DC and work in Maryland.

That’s why they only live there during the summer, so they can enjoy the fishing and hiking etc. because let’s be honest, Alaska is a lot prettier than Florida. But they retain Alaska residence over anywhere else because while the cost of living may be higher, taxes on income and such are significantly lower, AND you get the bonus of the PFD.

Remember, when you compare yourself to others, you are probably comparing yourself to like individuals. So if you compare yourself to college educated households living in the suburbs with kids you're more likely to feel poor because the median is going to be much higher for that demographic.

Look at Maryland and Virginia then average out from there. I am almost certain that DC is affecting the salaries of both of them. I know a bunch of NoVa -> DC and Maryland -> DC commuters and they make pretty good salaries.

Did you mean to say rural areas of been the losers when it comes to job distribution?

I also felt poor when my wife and I made that amount. Although it was also combined with the fact that we were just getting going in our careers so we had lots of debt.

What's up with the green section, and can it be traced to any policy differences across those states?

Ehh. I live in NJ 15 minutes from Philly but 10 minutes from vast farmland. It's nice land and certainly the Garden State. But the trashy thing is inescapable around here. I think you live in a relatively nice county. But I deal with the rural people who wave confederate flags, drive trucks and are racist. And then even closer to me is Camden where i am everyday, which is pretty damn rundown. Zombie heroin people everywhere in sight.

I know NY suburbs in NJ are very similar. But not many people know about the Alabama culture that exists in rural South Jersey. And suburbs even.

Same with Virginia

I grew up in Hunterdon county so very close to yoy. It's A LOT of farm land, modest sized homes, and a decent amount of wealthy areas threw in there as well. NJ does not deserve the reputation it has as being a disgusting place to live. I can say though that I believe north jersey should just join NY because that's why we have such a bad rep. I go to school in NY and everyone assumes NJ is just another NY and I'm like.......No not where I come from. Where I live no one has any sort of accent. We are surrounded by farms and nice people who can drive. There's no trash everywhere and the air doesn't smell like shit.

The North remembers

Yeah, you could in theory account for cost of living by county, separate counties into either rural/urban or rural/suburban/urban based on population density. So then each state would have 2 or 3 data points. It would still be an approximation, but a useful one for visualizing approximate income levels by state

You're not concidering recreational expenses. In my small down drinks are two to three dollars. In the city where I went to college the cheapest bar I knew of had 5 dollar drinks, most averaged 6-7. Then you have restaurants (I can get a decent lunch for $5 at the local diner, double that in the city), movie tickets ex... For businesses rent is one of the few fixed costs. If the building they're in is cheap they can afford to have lower margins.

I don't particularly want to get into the reduced tax burden that comes from living outside city limits, the lack of HOA fees, and the legitimate value in putting equity into a house rather than renting.

So that would definitely contribute to more families moving out of the lowest bracket.

The higher bracket is probably some combination of oil workers/helicopter pilots being a higher percentage of the population than in other areas of the country.

Problem with Fort Myers is that you really wont make the amount of money you would in Miami. I'm probably being too broad, but not a lot of people I know in Ft. Myers make more than $60,000 combined. We had a nurse transfer from Jacksonville to Lehigh and she took almost a $15 pay cut due to the difference in cost of living. Florida is weird, man.

Hi OP. I spent a few minutes trying to see if I could remake the chart into an interactive chart:


I made a better version here. Sorted by mean income! Which is perfect:

My guess is each household has 38 dirty miners in Alaska

Apparently not. Not Sherman enough.

You're not living a 1% life because you're nowhere near 1%, which is roughly 400k a year. There is a massive buying power difference between 100 and 400.

In Canada, our North West Territories has the highest incomes in the country because of the cost of living. Additionally, there are a high portion or resource jobs which typically pay well, and the far north location is considered undesirable to a majority of the Canadian workforce. But it is mainly the ridiculous costs to ship goods (especially food), materials, fuels, and people to remote locations (that are too sparsely populated to effect any economy of scale) which makes everyday living excessively expensive, and wages reflect that.

I find this interesting in and of itself. Do you think this may have to do with the fact that in urban areas people are exposed to a more diverse set of people on a daily basis, whereas rural areas tend to be a lot of the same type of person?

I live in New Jersey, it's expensive to live here. Usually in New Jersey you can go into a pretty wealthy rich area, then like a second later end up in the bad section really quickly.

Your friends live in poverty, OP is comfortable, and people that own a second home or take $10g vacations every year live in luxury.

edit: your not you're

I would hazard a guess that a large percentage of that sub-25k group don’t live in NYC. Hell I grew up in a small rural town outside of Syracuse where you can still buy a nice enough house for $125k; a shitty one might be $50-70k. It isn’t great obviously, but a person living that kind of life can find a way to survive.

Maybe they need a reminder.

You're not upper class until you're living off of accumulated wealth/capital, so you might be Middle Class (if at the very upper end) at 450k/yr.

Income isn't the sole determination of class. It's more about position in society. Are you an employee of someone else, without a capital stake in businesses, etc.? Middle class. You're executing for others above you.

Similarly, are you just a cog, an interchangeable part that just shows up and does his job and turns off at the end of the day? Working class. You're the equivalent of machinery, when it comes to running a business.