America, according to some press reports, is a country of billionaires and people who live below the poverty line. That is not entirely true. There are several hundred billionaires and millions who make sums that put them below the poverty line. Millions more are considered middle class. The median sum Americans have as income every year has risen many years in the past decade. However, the “value” of that income has started to be eroded by high inflation. In a way, the middle class is getting poorer.
Like most demographics, income varies widely geographically across America. Some of the sting of living in states where low income is prevalent is that they also have lower costs of living, but this does not always entirely offset income differentials.
On the other hand, household income, which takes into account the earnings of all people age 15 or older living under the same roof, increased substantially. According to the Census Bureau, the figure from 2016 to 2020 was $64,994 in 2020 dollars. Real median household income was $49,445 in 2010. But nationwide figures do not factor in differences among the states.
To identify the state with the highest personal income per capita, 24/7 Wall St. reviewed 2021 annual personal income statistics from the Bureau of Labor Statistics. Income per capita includes wages and salaries, Social Security and other government benefits, dividends and interest, profits from business ownership, and other sources. The poverty rate, share of households earning $200,000 or more annually and share of population 25 and older with a bachelor’s degree or higher are five-year estimates from the Census Bureau’s 2019 American Community Survey.
Massachusetts tops all states for personal income per capita at $83,815. Northeastern states occupy four of the top five places on the list, with Connecticut at $82,888, New Jersey at $78,018 and New York at $77,672. Notably, these states also have high rates of people with college degrees and low poverty rates.
Here are the details about Massachusetts:
- Average personal income per capita: $83,815
- Households with income above $200,000: 14.3% (second highest)
- Poverty rate: 9.8% (ninth lowest)
- Adults with a bachelor’s degree or higher: 44.5% (the highest)
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