The results of the Census ACS survey reveals the average income for people in the United States. Many factors can influence the median household income across the nation during a given year. From the job market and the ratio of costs to profits, to the state of the economy and everything else in between, average household income rates fluctuate.
The amount of money that people bring into their households is directly correlated with the national economy, so depending upon the relationship between these two variables, median household income will either rise or fall from one year to the next. Let's take a look at the average household income rates over the past few years.
Also, every state has residents who would be considered outliers when reviewing the results of the ACS survey conducted by the Census Bureau. In order to keep the results of the survey accurate, people who are extremely wealthy, as well as people who are living at or below poverty, are omitted from the final findings of the survey. Otherwise, the report would not accurately reflect the median household income. Instead, the very large incomes and the very minimal incomes would offset the average.
The percent of change between annual household income rates over the years will give you an idea as to how the economy of the country was at that time.
Ten Highest Median Household Incomes
1. District of Columbia
The nation’s capital, Washington, D.C. has the highest median household income in the United States of $82,604. The District ranks fourth among the nation’s largest cities in median household income behind San Francisco, San Jose, and Seattle. Incomes are not evenly distributed, however, as the median income for D.C.’s black population is $42,161 while for the white population it was $134,358. Additionally, D.C.’s poverty rate is 15.5%.
Maryland’s median household income is $81,868 making it the second-highest in the country. Unlike Washington D.C., Maryland’s poverty rate is 8.2%, the second-lowest in the country behind New Hampshire. Maryland has the second-highest percentage of graduate or professional degree holders and the third-highest percentage of Bachelor’s degree holders, both contributing to its overall higher median income.
3. New Jersey
New Jersey has the nation’s third-highest median household income. The median household income is $79,363 in New Jersey. New Jersey is also one of the nation’s most educated states. The high median income is particularly helpful for those looking to live near New York City, as housing prices increase significantly the closer one lives to the city.
Hawaii’s median household income is $78,084, making it the fourth-highest in the country. Hawaii’s cost of living is the highest of all 50 states, especially in housing and cost of groceries, since everything needs to be shipped out to the island state; therefore, the median household income needs to match the high cost of living. Hawaii also has a low unemployment rate of 2.7%.
Massachusetts has the fifth-highest median household income of $77,378. Massachusetts is the most educated state in the U.S., with the highest percentage of Bachelor’s degree holders and graduate and professional degree holders. These factors lead to an overall higher median income. The highest median household income in Massachusetts can be found in Dover, where it sits at $204,018.
Alaska’s median household income is $76,715, making it the sixth-highest in the United States. The oil dividends that all Alaska residents receive give a good boost to their household income. The economy is mainly driven by fishing and tourism. Unfortunately, Alaska has an unemployment rate of 6.2%, more than double the national rate and the highest of any state in the country.
Connecticut has the seventh-highest median household income of $76,106. Connecticut is the fifth-most educated state in the U.S. and has the third-highest percentage of graduate or professional degree holders of any state. High-paying fields such as information and finance are common in Connecticut. Connecticut’s unemployment rate is 3.6%, above the national average but still generally low, and its poverty rate is 10.1%.
8. New Hampshire
New Hampshire’s median household income is $74,057, making it the eighth-highest in the United States. New Hampshire has the highest economic security of any state and boasts the lowest poverty rate in the country of 6.4%. Additionally, New Hampshire has one of the lowest unemployment rates among states of 2.6%. New Hampshire’s top industries are manufacturing, healthcare, and tourism.
Ranked ninth in the U.S. for the highest median household income is Virginia. Virginia’s median household income is $71,564, likely attributed to its proximity to Washington D.C. Government jobs in northern Virginia are among the highest paying in the state. Virginia also has the fourth-highest percentage of graduate or professional degree holders in the country. Virginia also has one of the lowest unemployment rates in the country of 2.6%.
California has the tenth-highest median household income in the U.S. of $71,228. California has one of the highest costs of living in the country. It is home to San Francisco, which has the highest incomes and the highest costs of living in the country. California’s impressive tech and entertainment industries offer an abundance of high-paying jobs; however, its poverty and unemployment rates are relatively high still at 13.3% and 3.9% respectively.