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Is Your Income Better Than Average? Check It Out By State

Do you ever wonder how much money your neighbor makes? Your boss? Your best friend? Yeah, don’t we all? While we can’t provide the detailed income numbers of each person in the U.S., we can tell you, on average, how much money people in your state make.

income better than average

Out of the entire U.S. population, the median earnings per household is $56,516. The medium green states above (like Texas, Wisconsin, and Michigan) are pretty much right on the income average. States with a lighter shade pay less on average and states that are darker pay out more per household.

And what are the top ranked states for median income? Check it out below!

income better than average 2

The Takeaway

So what’s the point? To move to a higher paying area? No, probably not, since most of the high-paying states are the exact same areas where it’s crazy expensive to live. Thus netting out to a zero or negative gain.

The point of this exercise is simple. Here’s what you need to ask yourself:

  1. Is my household earning more or less than the median household for our state?
  2. If not, what more can I do to earn more? What’s holding me back?
  3. If I can’t quickly improve my income, where can I cut back to make up some of the difference?

Put frankly, if you’re not earning the average, then the world will start to pass you by. It is incredibly difficult to be a financial success if your income is peanuts.

So what can you do to earn more? Could you earn a degree that would bump up your pay? Could you start a side business that would add to your income? Maybe your job just isn’t paying you enough and it’s time for a raise. If you have a reasonable way to earn more without breaking the law, I say go for it.




My name is Derek, and I have my Bachelors Degree in Finance from Grand Valley State University. After graduation, I was not able to find a job that fully utilized my degree, but I still had a passion for Finance! So, I decided to focus my passion in the stock market. I studied Cash Flows, Balance Sheets, and Income Statements, put some money into the market and saw a good return on my investment. As satisfying as this was, I still felt that something was missing. I have a passion for Finance, but I also have a passion for people. If you have a willingness to learn, I will continue to teach.


  1. Hey Derek,

    I have not been able to get a clear answer from researching a bit. I am familiar with these types of maps but what I have always wondered is what exactly comprises a “household”. From what I read on the census website is that most households are made of one working individually but then it states that the average media household income is lower than average family income. When I search for the median family income, it is lower than the average median household income.

    I have always assumed that household means two working adults with two kids but have not been able to find anywhere that confirms this.

    • Hi JC. To my understanding, a household income is what it claims to be – the income of the household, which typically only includes the adults. If you’re a single guy in your own home, then your household income would be the same as your individual income.

      I do see that the median family income is slightly different, but not by much. I wouldn’t worry too much about this if I were you. The main point is, be better than average and never look back.

      Thanks for reading JC!

  2. Very interesting Derek, I’m surprised New York is not on the list.

    I live in Minnesota and we do have a very vibrant economy. If you can bare the cold in the winters, the summers and falls are fantastic! A little humid, but mostly sunny and 75-85 for 3 months straight! In addition, we have many golf courses, lakes, rivers, biking and walking paths.

    Is it bad that I feel a little guilty I’m over the median? Kind of silly to think that…

    • Sounds a lot like West Michigan! I love it here too. We see all the seasons and in the summer time it doesn’t get too hot.

      And no, you shouldn’t feel guilty to earning more than the median. That should be expected!

  3. Hey Derek,

    Was surprised to see Hawaii wasn’t on the top 10. It’s sooo expensive to live there, the income doesn’t match up. Must be why most people live in really small dwellings there!

    Useful article, thanks for posting this.

    • Ha, it’s true. I know a few people that live in Hawaii and don’t earn much. They pretty much live paycheck to paycheck for life!

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