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What it takes to be in the top 1% of every state

  • What it takes to be in the top 1% of every state

    The top 1% of Americans have a combined net worth of  $34.2 trillion, according to Federal Reserve data last updated Oct. 19, 2020. That number represents more than 30% of all household wealth in the U.S.

    Windfall used its 2020 consumer financial database to determine the net worth required to rank in the top 1% of each state. The analysis used population estimates from the 2019 U.S. Census Bureau and net worth estimates from Windfall’s wealth database of more than 80 million households. For each state, the minimum net worth required to qualify in the top 1% for that state is included, along with the median net worth of all homeowners with a primary residence in that state, and total homeowners with a net worth of $1 million or more. Net worth represents an individual’s assets like homes, cars, and investments, less their liabilities like mortgage and other debt.

    Wealth inequality in the U.S. has ballooned in the last several decades, with the gap between the richest and poorest Americans more than doubling between 1989 and 2016. The net worth of U.S. billionaires increased 36% from March 18 to Dec. 7 of this year alone. The collective fortune of the country's 10 richest billionaires to $4 trillion. For added perspective, Jeff Bezos, Elon Musk, and Bill Gates together are worth more than $1 trillion.

    This divide is primarily created by two factors: the ability of one class of people through hereditary or earned wealth to invest in the stock market; and the coronavirus, which disproportionately affects those near the bottom of the economic ladder.

    Keep reading to find out what life is like for the top 1% in each state, from where they live to how they got there to who they are.

  • Alabama

    - Minimum net worth of the state’s top 1%: $1,803,910 (686.1% more than median net worth)
    - Median net worth of all Alabama homeowners: $229,475
    - Homeowners with net worth of $1 million or more: 130,567
    - 2019 total population: 4,903,185

    Alabama's wealthiest man, Jimmy Rane, has a net worth of $900 million—the state is one of seven that have no billionaires. Rane, aka the “Yella Fella” of Great Southern Wood Preserving, made his fortune by building the modest family business into a billion-dollar company with his brother. 

  • Alaska

    - Minimum net worth of the state’s top 1%: $1,261,447 (325.6% more than median net worth)
    - Median net worth of all Alaska homeowners: $296,411
    - Homeowners with net worth of $1 million or more: 10,558
    - 2019 total population: 731,545

    Alaska is another of the seven states with no billionaires. The state's richest people are Leonard Hyde and Jonathan Rubini, who are each worth $300 million and have made their wealth through real estate investments. Both men and their families live in Anchorage. 

  • Arizona

    - Minimum net worth of the state’s top 1%: $2,982,899 (695.2% more than median net worth)
    - Median net worth of all Arizona homeowners: $375,113
    - Homeowners with net worth of $1 million or more: 375,536
    - 2019 total population: 7,278,717

    Called the “Beverly Hills of Arizona,” Paradise Valley has become one of the wealthiest and most exclusive neighborhoods in the state. Residents, who largely work in the tech and business industries in neighboring Phoenix and Scottsdale, bring in an average income of $328,000 and enjoy luxury amenities like access to a handful of resorts. Among those residents is Mark Shoen, the billionaire owner of U-Haul and its parent company AMERCO.

  • Arkansas

    - Minimum net worth of the state’s top 1%: $1,439,149 (639.6% more than median net worth)
    - Median net worth of all Arkansas homeowners: $194,595
    - Homeowners with net worth of $1 million or more: 57,232
    - 2019 total population: 3,017,804

    Among the richest cities in Arkansas is Bentonville, home to Walmart and Jim Walton, who currently holds, with his siblings, about half of Walmart’s stock. In the third quarter of 2020, Walmart's e-commerce sales in the U.S. increased by a whopping 79%.

  • California

    - Minimum net worth of the state’s top 1%: $6,806,380 (647.1% more than median net worth)
    - Median net worth of all California homeowners: $911,086
    - Homeowners with net worth of $1 million or more: 3,613,018
    - 2019 total population: 39,512,223

    In Silicon Valley, where tech companies dominate local industry, one in every four households earns $200,000 a year or more, making it the wealthiest metro area in the entire United States. One of the area’s most notable residents and industry founders is Mark Zuckerberg, whose net worth of $71 billion also lands him a spot among the wealthiest people in the nation.

  • Colorado

    - Minimum net worth of the state’s top 1%: $3,967,712 (659.9% more than median net worth)
    - Median net worth of all Colorado homeowners: $522,170
    - Homeowners with net worth of $1 million or more: 403,322
    - 2019 total population: 5,758,736

    Cherry Hills Village, Colorado, which was named the second-wealthiest city in the country by a 2018 study published by Bloomberg, is home to celebrities like John Elway and Peyton Manning. Philip Anschutz, the richest person in the state, lives in nearby Denver and is worth $11 billion. Anschutz made his wealth through investments in various industries including real estate, entertainment, railroads, and oil. 

  • Connecticut

    - Minimum net worth of the state’s top 1%: $3,603,629 (875.8% more than median net worth)
    - Median net worth of all Connecticut homeowners: $369,295
    - Homeowners with net worth of $1 million or more: 196,032
    - 2019 total population: 3,565,287

    For decades, Greenwich, Connecticut, has been regarded as one of the wealthiest enclaves in the country, a reputation the coronavirus has only solidified as affluent New Yorkers have fled the city in search of greener pastures. Located about an hour from New York City, the town has been dubbed the “hedge fund capital” thanks to the several billion-dollar funds that occupy one-third of the area’s office space. Ray Dalio, founder of one of these hedge funds—Bridgewater—calls the coastal city home.

  • Delaware

    - Minimum net worth of the state’s top 1%: $2,360,634 (617.4% more than median net worth)
    - Median net worth of all Delaware homeowners: $329,068
    - Homeowners with net worth of $1 million or more: 41,801
    - 2019 total population: 973,764

    Despite the state’s small size, Delaware has several prosperous neighborhoods, including Greenville, which is home to President-elect Joe Biden and several members of the DuPont family. While there are no billionaires in Delaware, the richest people in the state are siblings Elizabeth Snyder and Robert Gore, who each have a net worth of $885 million. They both have stakes in the materials firm their parents founded in 1958, W.L. Gore & Associates. Gore also invented a type of fabric called Gore-Tex that is often used in clothing and footwear made for the outdoors.

  • Florida

    - Minimum net worth of the state’s top 1%: $3,635,565 (838.1% more than median net worth)
    - Median net worth of all Florida homeowners: $387,564
    - Homeowners with net worth of $1 million or more: 1,325,560
    - 2019 total population: 21,477,737

    America’s most millionaire-dense zip code is Fisher Island, Florida, a 216-acre, man-made island that’s just off the coast of Miami. Only about 650 families own land on the property, including famous faces like Gloria Estefan and billionaires like Phillip Frost. Residents of the island, whose average income lies well north of $500,000 annually, can enjoy the resort-like amenities in their free time.

  • Georgia

    - Minimum net worth of the state’s top 1%: $2,207,434 (689.9% more than median net worth)
    - Median net worth of all Georgia homeowners: $279,469
    - Homeowners with net worth of $1 million or more: 377,896
    - 2019 total population: 10,617,423

    Often described as the economic capital of the southeast, Atlanta—specifically its Buckhead neighborhood—is home to some of the state’s most successful businessmen. Home Depot founder Bernie Marcus resides there, as does media mogul Tyler Perry. Much like Greenwich, Connecticut, Buckhead has seen an influx of wealthy residents since the start of the coronavirus pandemic; average home sale prices there increased to $1.2 million.