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See where your income ranks among America’s richest

By Jake Beardslee · October 31, 2023

In brief…

  • Residents of CT need $602k+ income to be in top 5% earners in the state.
  • Northeast and West Coast have highest income thresholds for top 5%.
  • Americans in WV can earn under $300k and be in top 5% in the state.
  • Southern and midwestern states like MS and NM have lowest thresholds for top 5%.
A new study using IRS data reveals wide disparities in the income needed to be in the top 5% of earners across different states, with northeast and west coast states requiring much higher incomes than southern and midwestern states.  Eric Prouzet/Pexels

A new study reveals vast differences in income needed to be in the top 5% of earners across the United States. According to research by GOBankingRates, using IRS household income data, residents of Connecticut need to earn at least $602,707 to be among the richest 5%. The study found Connecticut requires the highest income of any state to make the top 5 percent.

The study found that the top five states with the highest income thresholds to reach the richest 5% were all located on the northeast and west coasts. Specifically, New York, New Jersey, Massachusetts and California joined Connecticut as the places where you need to earn over $550,000 per year just to crack the top tier of high-income households.

On the flip side, Americans living in states like West Virginia, Mississippi, New Mexico, Alabama and Arkansas can reach the top 5% of earners by making less than $350,000 annually. The data showed that midwestern and southern states tend to have much lower thresholds for incomes needed to be considered among the wealthiest residents compared to coastal states. For example, West Virginians only require under $300,000 in total household income to rank in the top 5% of earners there, a stark contrast to the over $600,000 needed in Connecticut.