States with highest, lowest personal incomes in 2024, according to WalletHub

FILE-In this photo illustration, a person holds a wallet filled with $20 dollar bills. (Photo Illustration by Thomas Trutschel/Photothek via Getty Images)

The personal finance website WalletHub has released its list of states where people have the highest income in 2024. According to the Federal Reserve Bank of St. Louis, the median yearly income in the U.S. is around $74,600.

WalletHub compared the 50 states and the District of Columbia across three key metrics: the average annual income of the top 5%, the average for the bottom 20%, and the median for all residents of each state.

They discovered that the highest-earning 10% of individuals in the United States earn over 12 times more than those in the lowest-earning 10%, based on the latest Census data. By measuring the income of various percentiles against a state's median income, we can better identify where income disparities are more prevalent, which could help us understand why residents of certain states struggle more to make ends meet.

Source: WalletHub

Virginia tops the list for highest income when balancing the median, top 5%, and bottom 20% of earners. The top 5% in Virginia make an average of $518,296 per year, while the bottom 20% make an average of $18,694 – both the third-highest in the nation. The median annual income in Virginia is $89,393, which ranks as the 17th-highest in the country. So, it seems many people are skewed to either side of the wealth spectrum.

Many people who work in Washington, D.C., live in Virginia and Fairfax County, where the average salary is over $100,000. Northern Virginia boasts a thriving business community and is home to defense contractors like Boeing, Northrop Grumman, General Dynamics, and RTX Corporation.

Virginia's Loudoun County is also home to the world's largest and fastest-growing data center hub, with major industry leaders like Amazon, Verizon Business, Google, Facebook, and Salesforce having a presence in the county.

New Jersey residents have the second-highest income when considering low, high, and median earnings. The top 5% of New Jersey residents earn an average of $505,621 annually, the fourth-highest in the country. In addition, the median income in the state is $117,847, which is the sixth-highest. Unfortunately, residents in the bottom 20% are only slightly better off than average, earning $16,445 per year, which ranks as the 21st-highest in the country.

New Jersey is strategically located between two major cities, New York City and Philadelphia, which explains much of the state's high incomes.

New York ranks third for highest income when considering the top 5%, bottom 20%, and median earnings. The average annual income of the top 5% of earners in New York is $553,436, the highest in the country. On the other hand, the bottom 20% of earners make an average of $13,301 per year, ranking 44th out of the 50 states and the District of Columbia. In this study, the high-income bracket receives more weight than the low-income bracket, explaining New York’s high ranking.

Three boroughs in New York City have the highest income gaps in the country, according to The New York Times. Manhattan reported the largest income gap in the nation; Bronx and Kings counties also were among the 10 U.S. counties with the greatest income disparity between rich and poor. The median annual income in the Empire State is also pretty good, at $91,366, ranking as the 13th-highest in the nation.

The top 10 states are:

  1. Virginia
  2. New Jersey
  3. New York
  4. Connecticut
  5. Washington
  6. Utah
  7. Illinois
  8. Minnesota
  9. Colorado
  10. Massachusetts
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The bottom 10 are:

  1. Kentucky
  2. Alaska
  3. Alabama
  4. Rhode Island
  5. Louisiana
  6. Vermont
  7. Maine
  8. Mississippi
  9. New Mexico
  10. West Virginia

Side note: the median income in 2019 before the coronavirus pandemic was $78,250.