The Cost of your State: Income

Your decision of where to live has ramifications across all aspects of your life.  Today, we’ll explore income, the first of three topics in this series.  I’ll also show you a few tools your can use when deciding if it is time to move… or if you are just curious about your state fits in the rankings.


Its no surprise that some states are richer than others.  Where you live can have a big impact on your earnings potential.  The US Census Bureau has an on going American Community Survey collecting information on citizens between the major censuses that only occur once a decade.  They have found wide income disparity between states.  You could easily make twice as much in a rich state than a poor state.

The places with the highest income per capita are:

  1. Washington, D.C. – $45,877
  2. Connecticut – $39,373
  3. New Jersey – $37,288
  4. Massachusetts – $36,593
  5. Maryland – $36,338

Meanwhile the lowest per capita incomes can be found in:

  1. Alabama – $23,606
  2. Arkansas – $22,883
  3. West Virginia – $22,714
  4. Mississippi – $21,036
  5. Puerto Rico – $11,241

Read through the full list on Wikipedia over here.

Is your state holding you back?  If so, I’d advise you to move to a place that will pay you better, but also avoid living right in the heart of a big city, where life can be expensive.  It may be best for you to live in an affordable suburb of a wealthy region so that you can  get the biggest bang for your buck.

Of course, different regions have specialty industries like finance on New York’s Wall Street or entertainment in California’s Hollywood.  So consider moving to the region that is the epicenter of your industry.  However, these regions are saturated with industry-types and you may find yourself in a low-paying menial job at the start of your career.  Fortunately, they provide unmatched experiences and opportunities for you to grow into as your career and earning potential grow.  Work hard and good luck!