Determining the richest states comes down to the residents' income and the local state government's revenue. In this article, we'll look at each state's median household income and GDP to determine the wealthiest states in the U.S.
The state's median household income varies significantly due to the job market, costs of living, and overall economic health. In 2019, the median U.S. household income was $65,712. The District of Columbia had the highest with $92,266, and Mississippi had the lowest with $45,792. Generally, educational attainment correlates with median household incomes.
GDP, or gross domestic product, is a reflection of each state's economy. The GDP refers to the state's overall distribution of goods. The GDP of the U.S. is $21.7 million. By state, the GDP ranges from $33,278 in Vermont to $3,120,386,000 in California.
Richest U.S. States by Median Household Income
1. District of Columbia
D.C. has the highest median household income of any state of $92,266. D.C. has the highest educational attainment in the U.S., with 56.6% of adults having a Bachelor's degree or higher. Despite this, the District still has a relatively high poverty rate of 13.5%.
Maryland's median income is the second-highest in the U.S. at $86,738. Maryland also has very high education attainment, with 40.2% of adults having a Bachelor's degree or higher. Maryland also has one of the lowest poverty rates in the U.S. at 9%.
Massachusetts, known for having high-quality education and high-paying jobs, is the third-richest state in terms of median income. Massachusett's median income is $85,843. Massachusetts is the most educated state, known for having the second-highest percentage of adults with at least a Bachelor's degree (43.7%) and the highest percentage of graduate and professional degree holders (32.4%).
4. New Jersey
New Jersey is the nation's fourth-richest state, with a median household income of $85,751. New Jersey also ranks high for the quality of education and educational attainment among all states, including having the fourth-highest percentage of adults with a Bachelor's degree at 38.9%. Additionally, New Jersey has the fifth-lowest poverty rate of 9.2%
Hawaii's median household income is $83,102. This is the fifth-highest in the U.S., which is good because Hawaii has one of the highest costs of living of any state. Hawaii's poverty rate is also relatively low at 9.3%.
Richest U.S. States by GDP
Ranking which states are the wealthiest looks much different than using median household income. GDP can be largely influenced by population, so, as evident below, the states with the largest GDPs tend to be the largest. Of the five richest states, three of the five states' GDPs line up with their population ranks, except Florida and New York. New York has the third-largest GDP but the fourth-largest population, while Florida has the reverse. We will also note their respective median incomes for comparison.
California, the nation's most populous state, has the largest state GDP of $3,120,386,000. California's median household income is $80,440, the sixth-highest in the U.S.
The country's second-most populous state, Texas, is also its second-richest state in terms of GDP. Texas's GDP is $1,772,132,000. Texas's median household income is $64,034, just below the national median.
3. New York
New York is the third-richest state in the United States, with a GDP of $1,705,127,000. New York's median household income is the 15th-highest among all states at $72,108.
Florida is the fourth and final state with a GDP of over $1 trillion with $1,111,614,000. Florida's median household income is below the national median at $59,227.
Illinois has the nation's fifth-highest GDP and is the fifth-most populous state. Illinois's GDP is $785,671,000, and its median household income is $69,187.