Top 10 Richest U.S. States by Median Income

Can you name the 10 richest states in the USA, based on median household income?
For the year 2020. Source: American Community Survey.
Quiz by jpg20369
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Last updated: December 1, 2021
First submittedJune 27, 2016
Times taken71,986
Average score70.0%
Rating4.47
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$
State
88,742
Maryland
87,328
Massachusetts
87,016
New Jersey
86,391
Hawaii
83,056
California
$
State
80,972
New Hampshire
80,408
Washington
80,197
Alaska
79,719
Connecticut
79,217
Virginia
+10
Level 75
Sep 11, 2016
Last I heard, North Dakota's income had gone through the roof because of gas drilling. Puzzled to see that missing.
+3
Level 85
Nov 10, 2016
Yes quiz definitely needs to be updated.
+40
Level 73
Nov 10, 2016
Perhaps, but resource extraction often has little to do with typical household incomes (witness Equatorial Guinea).
+11
Level ∞
Sep 26, 2019
North Dakota ranks #18 for 2018.

Edit: North Dakota's 2020 ranking is #32.

+4
Level ∞
Dec 1, 2021
Proximity to centers of power (government, tech, corporate) seems to be the major source of household wealth in the U.S.
+3
Level 61
Nov 10, 2016
Yeah, but there are so few people that live in North Dakota that the portion involved with the oil trade is significant enough that i guessed it too, got all except Minnesota
+4
Level 47
Dec 19, 2020
That might affect the average household income, but not the median household income, which is what the quiz is based on.
+2
Level 57
Nov 25, 2016
its for 2014
+4
Level 47
Jan 12, 2018
not only that, but it has tons of jobs...
+7
Level 42
Apr 10, 2018
North Dakota household income has only gone up to $60,000, as of 2016. This list bottoms out at $67,000.

And it only "exploded" from $50k in 2005. So the hype may be overblown.

What you MAY have remembered hearing is that the COST OF LIVING and HOUSING values and costs have EXPLODED, because of demand.

Home values have gone up 60 percent in ten years according to one source--which is since the 2006-7 national housing bust.

According to the same source, job growth in North Dakota has been NEGATIVE, recently.

+6
Level 65
Nov 4, 2019
Don't forget Median and Average income is not the same. There could be a few rich holding all the money, making the average seem high, while the median is low.
+2
Level 76
Sep 11, 2016
Can confirm that NJ is way too expensive.
+3
Level 50
Jan 24, 2018
And California.
+2
Level 58
Oct 13, 2016
Just had a crazy glitch, I scored 8, my high score says 7, and Maryland is green but says 0% fo my high score. I was typing it just as time ran out.....weird
+14
Level ∞
Oct 14, 2016
Bug in the matrix!
+9
Level 87
Apr 9, 2018
Love the username, alburquirky. :-)
+13
Level 73
Nov 10, 2016
I always thought Rhode Island was super rich for some reason
+4
Level 67
Nov 10, 2016
You're probably thinking of Newport Beach, RI. There are a lot of beautiful (and impossibly expensive) mansions on the waterfront. I don't think most of them are full-time homes to in-state residents though. New England is small enough that I suspect a lot of wealthy people from CT and MA own those homes. I haven't spent a ton of time in Rhode Island, but it seems middle-of-the-road as far income is concerned.
+4
Level 74
Mar 5, 2019
It's just Newport, RI. Newport Beach is in California.
+5
Level 42
Apr 10, 2018
Actually, Rhode Island has had a moderately lousy economy in the last 30 years or so. It's a victim of the bust in the textile factory economy of the old days. But it muddles through, due to seaside tourism.
+3
Level 87
Jul 15, 2018
It's mostly Providence's urban area, pretty nondescript working class.
+2
Level 71
Nov 10, 2016
I can't imagine where all that income in Alaska comes from?
+22
Level 73
Nov 10, 2016
Exporting ice to the south
+4
Level 83
Nov 10, 2016
energy
+5
Level 66
Nov 4, 2019
All the people who weren't earning enough money there moved away.
+5
Level 67
Nov 10, 2016
A thousand bucks per year per resident from the state's oil dividend doesn't hurt.
+3
Level 75
Jan 29, 2018
Resource extraction (petroleum, wood, shellfish/fish and mining) and tourism/hospitality. It can be expensive to live in the north (in both the USA and Canada), and there's often a shortage of workers, so wages are high.
+2
Level 42
Apr 10, 2018
It's EXPENSIVE to live in Alaska unless you can live off the land; for one thing you can't get ANYWHERE without FLYING, sometimes in a PRIVATE plane, sometimes that private plane is your OWN plane.

So businesses and even the state have to PAY people to live there, otherwise they'd have no workers.

+4
Level 83
Nov 10, 2016
I got all of them, but, I am truly stunned to see Maryland at #1. How!!?? So many lower-income people living in the northern Washington DC suburbs and all over Baltimore. I was also a little surprised to see my home state of Virginia, even though I know Northern Virginia is one of the wealthiest places in the country I thought the southern 4/5ths of the state would drag it down. But I guess the population disparity between these areas kept the median up. The rest are fairly obvious, though I would have expected Maine, Vermont, and maybe some other places not on the list to be above New Jersey.
+10
Level 79
Nov 10, 2016
Northern Virginia and Central Maryland are two of the wealthiest areas of the nation due to all the federal employees living there, just as people work in NYC but live in New Jersey and Connecticut, which is why they make the cut but New York doesn't. Vermont has Hemmings Motor News and Maine has L. L. Bean and the Portland Sea Dogs but otherwise not much else, so their absence isn't surprising.
+5
Level 78
Nov 10, 2016
Keep in mind, there are A LOT of people working in NYC (making tons of cash) and living in Jersey.
+4
Level 47
Nov 10, 2016
And Connecticut
+3
Level ∞
Nov 10, 2016
My guess is that a large percentage of people have relatively high-paying jobs working for the federal government or government contractors.
+2
Level 83
Nov 10, 2016
I know there are some I just thought the large majority lived on the other side of the Potomac, and also that they would be vastly outnumbered by the low-income populations of the areas I mentioned.
+3
Level 55
Nov 13, 2016
I live in Maryland and as a member of the "working poor" class of people, I too was amazed when I heard this. Sure ive heard that their are really rich people down by DC but everyone I've met or know is at most middle class.
+3
Level 66
Feb 16, 2021
This is based on median income, so the rich people aren't what are affecting it; it's more that the middle class is making more on average.
+5
Level 42
Apr 10, 2018
Maryland is one of the most EDUCATED states in the country--so, NOT surprising it's one of the highest paid.

https://www.usnews.com/news/best-states/slideshows/10-most-educated-states?slide=5

Wanna know what occupation is the most overrepresented in Maryland, compared to national population?

Healthcare. A highly paid profession.

http://www.businessinsider.com/disproportionately-popular-job-in-every-state-map-2017-4

+3
Level 55
Nov 4, 2019
I live in Southern VA and thought the same. Northern VA has a bustling economy because it's so close to DC, but the Southern portion of VA is dirt poor.
+2
Level 53
Jun 9, 2021
nj is just really cool i guess (totally not biased because i 100% do not live in new jersey 100% i am not lying)
+2
Level 44
Nov 10, 2016
Got Minnesota with 4 seconds left! :D
+2
Level 49
Apr 1, 2017
Okay, I lived in California and I guess I believe it a little. Though, it's probably from all the industry in Southern California. Now I've lived in Minnesota and seeing that state right below California surprised me greatly. :D
+1
Level 71
Sep 26, 2017
Think you know where the States of USA are? ….. try my "Walk the coast of USA quiz"……

here it is

+3
Level 54
Sep 12, 2020
Lol why do you always advertize your quizzes on quizzes not even related to them
+4
Level 70
Jan 24, 2018
Interesting quiz. Tough for us non Americans mind.
+4
Level 67
Jan 30, 2018
There has to be some way to spell Massachublah easier. I missed it again because of misspelling.
+5
Level 63
Jan 30, 2018
Californian and Hawaiian people may get paid better for instance, but when your housing and other cost of living is through the roof...If you have to pay double for the same house as in Tennessee, or if your gas is $1 more a gallon, or if you need to make $130,000 to get by....is your state really one of the richest states?
+3
Level 67
Jan 5, 2022
I think it makes a lot of sense, actually.

When your cost of living and cost of, well, everything (which is especially the case for Hawaii), is so high, then that basically acts as an inflationary driver across the entire economy. Meaning that the value of the US dollar is effectively lower in those states than it would be in some others.

California, for example, has the highest minimum wage in the country. Hawaii doesn't de jure, but in practice a higher percentage of the people in Hawaii make more than minimum wage, than is the case elsewhere.

So even if someone is just struggling to get by and barely afford to pay rent and gas (as you propose), they're in that situation with a higher income (measured in US dollars) than someone elsewhere would be. And since this quiz is basically just using raw dollars as the yardstick, it makes sense that those states would be high on the list.

+6
Level 53
Feb 2, 2018
It would be interesting to see a list of highest wages in relation to cost of living.
+1
Level 36
Apr 9, 2018
Where is Chicago
+12
Level 87
Apr 9, 2018
It's in the state of Illinois.
+1
Level 53
Jun 9, 2021
no its in the state of solid, except for the air which is only 25% solid and the water which is not solid
+2
Level 60
Jan 7, 2022
Is your question is Chicago a state, does Chicago have a high enough income to make the list despite being a state, or where its Geographical location is? For the former, no. The second, no. And the third, Chicago is in the northeastern part of the U.S. State of Illinois on Lake Michigan. To its north is the state of Wisconsin and to its East is the state of Indiana. Hope this answers your question.
+4
Level 59
Apr 9, 2018
No surprise that all these are either on the West Coast or in the Northeast.
+3
Level 77
Apr 9, 2018
Hm, someone should make a quiz like this for the counties of England. Tell you what, I'll do it.
+6
Level 77
Aug 2, 2018
+1
Level 64
Apr 9, 2018
I feel like Bezos and Gates single-handedly bring up Washington's.
+11
Level 83
Apr 10, 2018
Then you don't understand what median means.
+5
Level 64
Aug 26, 2019
Good point. My knowledge of measures of central tendency are lacking.
+3
Level 62
Apr 9, 2018
Got Alaska and Hawaii with one second left for 100%! YES SIR!
+2
Level 55
Apr 16, 2018
Guessed Maryland right away and wasn't surprised it was number one. Also not at all surprised with the New England states or Hawaii, but never would've guessed Alaska...interesting.
+2
Level 87
Jul 15, 2018
The most obvious was the least guessed? Alaska's famously expensive. Not that any of this "richest" does any good when house prices in these states are enough to bankrupt a family.
+3
Level 51
Aug 12, 2018
first thing I typed was Nevada thinking of Las Vegas... I really need to take a lesson on Economics
+3
Level 67
Nov 5, 2018
I live in Washington and the houses are SOOOOOO expensive!
+2
Level 71
Mar 4, 2019
The amount of wealth concentrated in Northern Virginia is insane. The average income of rest of the state is probably fairly typical.
+2
Level 81
Mar 5, 2019
This seems pretty much as expected - New England, around DC, Pacific.
+2
Level 44
Jul 7, 2019
Maryland is shocking though because Baltimore isn't a particularly great city
+3
Level 67
Mar 5, 2019
That was probably enough time to actually type all 50 states but instead I decided to think about it like a sucker
+2
Level 44
Jul 7, 2019
I never ever would've guessed Maryland
+2
Level 35
Nov 4, 2019
Hi I really can't spell Massachusetts could you please start accepting wrong spellings pls xoxo im your biggest fan

mvh eatyourbroccoli

+2
Level 46
Nov 4, 2019
Oh! So close! Lol. Didn't guess Alaska.
+3
Level 69
Nov 5, 2019
Massachusetts, my old foe. Will I ever learn to spell you right?
+2
Level 66
Nov 5, 2019
Can someone explain to me what is so special about maryland? seems substantially higher than the rest, and as a European I have no idea what Maryland is known for, what industries?

Thanks!

+4
Level ∞
Nov 5, 2019
The federal government and government contractors employ a significant percentage of people in Maryland.
+3
Level 37
Nov 5, 2019
done in 25 seconds great quiz thanks
+1
Level 26
May 14, 2021
my strategy was just to start naming all the old money states first, worked pretty well lol
+2
Level 63
Sep 24, 2021
In my opinion there is too much time, I managed to get all of them but only after guessing over 40 states.
+1
Level 57
Jan 5, 2022
FORGOT TO TRY ALASKA AND HAWAII ARGHHHH
+1
Level 54
Jan 5, 2022
SAMEEEEEEEEE
+1
Level 81
Jan 5, 2022
Mode would be much more interesting than median.
+1
Level 20
Jan 6, 2022
I second that
+1
Level 59
Jan 6, 2022
Eyy Maryland represent
+1
Level 71
Jan 7, 2022
New Jersey is proof that money can't buy class.
+1
Level 31
Apr 11, 2022
I spelled California and Connecticut wrong the first time but I got them all right the second time! Greetings from Wyoming, a state that does in fact exist
+1
Level 20
May 2, 2022
Got all except New Hampshire. I always forget about New Hampshire