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Highest-earning county in every state

  • Highest-earning county in every state

    The median household income in the United States has varied little from year-to-year in recent memory as wages have stagnated and consumers’ buying patterns haven’t remained largely unchanged.

    However, the average household income differs from state to state. In Washington D.C., for example, the median household income in 2018 was $85,203, while just a few miles over in West Virginia, the median household income in the same year was just $44,097. And while the annual average increased in Washington D.C. compared to the year prior, the annual average decreased in West Virginia.

    But data shows that annual income heavily depends on an individual’s educational attainment, race, ethnicity, gender, and even location. One cluster of the United States is particularly well off: The five counties with the highest median household income in the country can all be found in the Washington D.C. metropolitan areas of Maryland and Northern Virginia. Those five counties are Virginia’s Loudoun County, Fairfax County, Arlington County, and Falls Church, as well as Maryland’s Howard County.

    Those counties can probably attribute their wealth to their proximity to Washington D.C., which attracts highly educated and skilled people in areas of law and public policy. And people in those fields often marry each other, making two high-earning households one very high-earning household.

    The median household income in the U.S. overall is $61,937. But 6.3% of U.S. households make less than $10,000 a year, while 19.6% make less than $25,000.

    Using data from the U.S. Census Bureau's 2018 American Community Survey 5-Year Estimates, Stacker compiled a list of the highest-earning county in every state. The counties in every state are ranked by their median household income. Data is current as of December 2019. Counties must have at least 1,000 households to be considered for the list.

    Read on to find out which county in your state is raking in the most cash.

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  • Alabama: Shelby County

    - Median household income: $75,761 (22.3% higher than national average)
    - Total number of households: 78,328
    - Households making less than $10,000: 4% (36.5% lower than national average)
    - Households making less than $25,000: 14.5% (26.0% lower than national average)

    Shelby County, Ala., has an unemployment rate of 2.9%, a whole 1% below the national average of 3.9%. In the past year, the job market has grown 2%, and over the next 10 years, the job growth is expected to be 34%. The average annual income for someone living in Shelby County is $33,135, well above the national average.

  • Alaska: Juneau City and Borough

    - Median household income: $88,213 (42.4% higher than national average)
    - Total number of households: 12,521
    - Households making less than $10,000: 3.2% (49.2% lower than national average)
    - Households making less than $25,000: 10.2% (48% lower than national average)

    Juneau City and Borough is home to Alaska’s state capital of Juneau, and as such, the largest industry is public administration, followed by health care, social assistance, and educational services. The highest paying industry is the utility industry, where workers earn about $93,750 a year. The income inequality in Juneau is actually lower than the national average as well, scoring a 0.436 on the Gini index.

  • Arizona: Maricopa County

    - Median household income: $61,606 (0.5% lower than national average)
    - Total number of households: 1,520,767
    - Households making less than $10,000: 5.9% (6.3% lower than national average)
    - Households making less than $25,000: 18.1% (7.7% lower than national average)

    In 2019, Maricopa County, Arizona had the highest population growth rate in the nation for the third year in a row, which has contributed to the success of its local economy. The U.S. Bureau of Economic Analysis also found that Arizona had the fourth-highest wage growth rate in the nation in 2018 and the fifth-highest personal income growth rate.

    [Pictured: World famous fountain which gave Fountain Hills its name.]

  • Arkansas: Benton County

    - Median household income: $64,141 (3.6% higher than national average)
    - Total number of households: 94,333
    - Households making less than $10,000: 3.6% (42.9% lower than national average)
    - Households making less than $25,000: 15.8% (19.4% lower than national average)

    As of 2016, the largest employer in Benton County, Arkansas, was Walmart, followed by J.B. Hunt, Rogers School District, Mercy Health System of Northwest Arkansas, and Bentonville School District. Three different poultry processing companies also landed in the top-10 largest employers in Benton County, and several other school districts made the top 30 as well.

  • California: Santa Clara County

    - Median household income: $116,178 (87.6% higher than national average)
    - Total number of households: 635,525
    - Households making less than $10,000: 3.2% (49.2% lower than national average)
    - Households making less than $25,000: 10.6% (45.9% lower than national average)

    The most common industry in Santa Clara County, California is professional, scientific, and technical services, which employs 167,916 people in the county. Other common industries are manufacturing, health care and social assistance, educational services, and retail trade. However, the highest-earning industries are the information industry, management of companies and enterprises, and professional, scientific, and technical services.

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  • Colorado: Douglas County

    - Median household income: $115,314 (86.2% higher than national average)
    - Total number of households: 117,426
    - Households making less than $10,000: 1.8% (71.4% lower than national average)
    - Households making less than $25,000: 5.9% (69.9% lower than national average)

    In 2018, jobs in Douglas County, Colorado grew 3.8%, and the number of businesses increased by 2.7%. Of the residents of Douglas County, 72.7% participated in the labor force during the same year. Douglas County was ranked #6 in 2017 out of all the counties in the United States for the highest median household income.

  • Connecticut: Fairfield County

    - Median household income: $92,969 (50.1% higher than national average)
    - Total number of households: 340,491
    - Households making less than $10,000: 4.6% (27% lower than national average)
    - Households making less than $25,000: 13.9% (29.1% lower than national average)

    Being close to New York City, Fairfield County, Connecticut enjoys the metropolitan area’s rich and diverse economy. The top industries in the county include manufacturing, financial services, professional services, and health care. The region is also home to 19 Fortune 1000 companies, and visitors may recognize some well-known companies in the Fairfield region, including NBC Sports, Vineyard Vines, and Bic.

  • Delaware: New Castle County

    - Median household income: $70,996 (14.6% higher than national average)
    - Total number of households: 203,855
    - Households making less than $10,000: 5.9% (6.3% lower than national average)
    - Households making less than $25,000: 16.4% (16.3% lower than national average)

    The biggest industry in New Castle County, Delaware is health care and social assistance, which employs 38,255 people, followed by educational services and retail trade. But the highest paying industries are the utility industry, professional, scientific, and technical services, and the management of companies and enterprises. From 2017 to 2018, employment in the county grew 8.12%, increasing to about 276,000 total employees.

  • Florida: St. Johns County

    - Median household income: $77,323 (24.8% higher than national average)
    - Total number of households: 86,268
    - Households making less than $10,000: 4.2% (33.3% lower than national average)
    - Households making less than $25,000: 12.7% (35.2% lower than national average)

    St. Johns County, Florida, has the lowest overall tax structure in northeast Florida as well as a strategic location right on the east coast. The county has several local economic development incentives, which have attracted a highly educated workforce. The St. Johns County Economic Development Office offers special assistance to businesses looking to expand into the county and helps with site selection and even negotiates incentives with prospective businesses.

  • Georgia: Forsyth County

    - Median household income: $101,743 (64.3% higher than national average)
    - Total number of households: 73,675
    - Households making less than $10,000: 2.8% (55.6% lower than national average)
    - Households making less than $25,000: 9% (54.1% lower than national average)

    In 2018, Forsyth County was the #1 locale in Georgia for business due to its low crime rate, well-compensated workforce, and stellar school system. Forsyth County also has the most educated workforce in the state, the lowest property taxes in metropolitan Atlanta, and compared to other counties, more of its residents work in the computer, mathematical, management, and financial business fields.

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