Income It Takes to Be Considered Rich in Your State

Ask 100 people how much money they would need to be rich and you would likely get 100 different answers. “Rich” is a subjective term — and there is no universally agreed upon income threshold. While there is no debate that people such as Oprah Winfrey or Jeff Bezos are rich, determining a base salary that would qualify someone as rich is not as simple. Here is a list of the richest person in every state

As a relative quality rather than an absolute one, for many, being rich may simply mean having a higher income than the vast majority of other people. According to the U.S. Census Bureau, about half of all U.S. households earn $65,700 or more per year. However, only those households earning at least $131,350 per year are among the richest 20% of households nationwide. But just as median income varies considerably by state, so does the amount needed to be in the richest 20% of households in each state.

To determine the income it takes to be considered rich in each state, 24/7 Wall St. reviewed the minimum income needed to be in the highest earning 20% of households. Data on household income came from the U.S. Census Bureau’s 2019 American Community Survey. In some parts of the country, an annual household income of $94,750 is enough. In others, a minimum household income of over $170,000 is required to rank among the highest earners. 

In states where the threshold to be in the wealthiest 20% of households is the highest, the overall cost of living also tends to be high. For example, in Massachusetts, where only households earning at least $171,600 are in the top 20%, goods and services are about 10% more expensive than they are on average nationwide, according to RPP data from the Bureau of Economic Analysis.

Conversely, in states like Arkansas and West Virginia, where a five-figure income can still be higher than what 80% of other households in the state earn, a dollar goes much farther than it does in most other parts of the country. Here is a look at the value of a dollar in every state.

Click here to see how much income it takes to be considered rich in every state.

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