What’s the Median Household Income by County in the US? 15+ Recent Stats

Updated · Jun 20, 2022

America has more than 3,000 counties spread over 50 states. A division that dates back to the early 1700s.

Counties’ boundaries have changed over the years, but their administrative role in local government remains the same.

Today, our focus is on the median household income by county. We’ll review an entire spectrum of metrics, but don’t forget that ordinary people are behind those numbers.

Financial stability is our natural strive, and we can’t deny that some of us are doing better than others in that department.

How much better?

Keep reading to find out.

Telling Stats About US Counties' Median Income (Editor’s Choice):

  • The county with the highest median household income in 2020 was Loudoun County, Virginia.
  • In 2020, Washington D.C. ranked above all 50 US states by median annual household income.
  • Kendall County is the wealthiest in Illinois.
  • Wolfe County, Kentucky, was the poorest in America in 2020.
  • The first American countyJames City County in Virginia—was established in 1634.
  • The 2021 average household income in America was $96,955.
  • More Americans are falling out of the middle-class income status.

Median Household Income in the US

Household income is a significant metric in terms of America’s economic status.

Useful insights can be derived from it about the wealth of the US nation.

And that’s what we’ll do today.

Let’s jump right in:

1. 33.5% of US households earned more than $100,000 in 2021.

(Source: DQYDJ)

Almost 43.59 million US households reached and topped the six-figure income threshold in 2021. That’s a lot more than the median earnings in the next stat.

2. The estimated US median household income is $74,099.

(Source: Seeking Alpha)

That estimate is for January 2022 and is $1,166 higher than the median income of households calculated in December 2021, which was $72,933.

The increase is by 1.6%.

3. A bachelor’s or a higher degree can generate a median yearly household income of $106,936.

(Source: PGPF)

A median of $106,936 was what you could get for having a higher education degree in the US in 2020.

A high school education would get you $47,405, while an associate degree—$68,769.

Those are all median numbers for household income.

4. The real median household income in the US was $67,521 in 2020.

(Source: Statista)

Maryland had the highest median inflation-adjusted household income of $94,384, while Mississippi had the lowest—$44,966.

The District of Columbia and New Hampshire are in the top three for this metric—$88,311 and $88,325, respectively.

5. Household income pertains to people older than 15.

(Source: US Census Bureau)

We’ve been using it a lot, but what is median household income exactly?

According to the US Census Bureau, household income is the combined gross pre-tax income of all household members over 15 years old for a period of12 months.

The median point divides that income into halves. Half of the households earn below that middle point, the other half—above.

Real income means that it’s adjusted to inflation.

Now, what is the average household income in the US, and how is it calculated?

Keep calm! We’re on it:

6. The US average household income was $96,955 in 2021.

(Source: DQYDJ)

A year earlier, that metric was nearly $97,974. The decrease of about $1,019 equals a drop of 1.04%.

The average (or mean) household income is calculated by dividing all households' total income by their number. Simple as that!

7. In 2020, the District of Columbia had the highest median household income in the United States at $90,842.

(Source: US Census Bureau)

The District of Columbia is not an actual state but a federal district. Nevertheless, it took the top place in 2020.

Maryland was the state with the highest median yearly household income of $87,063. Last was Mississippi, with $46,511.

Rank

State

Median household income in 2020 / inflation-adjusted

1

Maryland

87,063

2

New Jersey

85,245

3

Massachusetts

84,385

4

Hawaii

83,173

5

Connecticut

79,855

6

California

78,672

7

New Hampshire

77,923

8

Alaska

77,790

9

Washington

77,006

10

Virginia

76,398

11

Colorado

75,231

12

Utah

74,197

13

Minnesota

73,382

14

New York

71,117

15

Rhode Island

70,305

16

Delaware

69,110

17

Illinois

68,428

18

Oregon

65,667

19

North Dakota

65,315

20

Wyoming

65,304

21

Texas

63,826

22

Pennsylvania

63,627

23

Vermont

63,477

24

Wisconsin

63,293

25

Nebraska

63,015

26

Nevada

62,043

27

Iowa

61,836

28

Arizona

61,529

29

Georgia

61,224

30

Kansas

61,091

31

South Dakota

59,896

32

Maine

59,489

33

Michigan

59,234

34

Idaho

58,915

35

Indiana

58,235

36

Ohio

58,116

37

Florida

57,703

38

Missouri

57,290

39

North Carolina

56,642

40

Montana

56,539

41

South Carolina

54,864

42

Tennessee

54,833

43

Oklahoma

53,840

44

Kentucky

52,238

45

Alabama

52,035

46

New Mexico

51,243

47

Louisiana

50,800

48

Arkansas

49,475

49

West Virginia

48,037

50

Mississippi

46,511

Did you find your state in the table?

What place does it take?

Now, let’s check how US counties are doing in terms of income:

Median Household Income by County: Facts and Numbers

There’s no denying that the US is a big country.

One look at the world map proves it. So it’s no surprise that American counties are in the thousands.

Here’s an interesting fact:

8. In some states, counties are called boroughs or parishes.

(Source: Visual Capitalist)

For example, a parish is the equivalent of a county in Louisiana. That comes from its French catholic heritage.

On the other hand, Alaska calls its counties boroughs. Currently, there are 19 boroughs in the state. However, most of its territory is labeled as an unorganized borough.

9. The wealthiest county in the US is Loudoun, Virginia.

(Source: US Census Bureau)

With a median annual household income of $147,111, Loudoun county was the richest, according to the US Census Bureau 2020 data.

Its wealth can be traced back to the 1960s, when the Washington Dulles International Airport was built. Things have been going uphill from then on, with high-tech job openings and highly educated professionals working for enormous salaries.

That’s how Loudoun became so rich. But how wealthy are other US counties?

Let’s find out right now:

Top 100 Richest Counties in the US

Rank

County and State

Median household income in 2020 / inflation-adjusted

1

Loudoun County, Virginia

147,111

2

Falls Church City, Virginia

146,922

3

Santa Clara County, California

130,890

4

San Mateo County, California

128,091

5

Fairfax County, Virginia

127,866

6

Howard County, Maryland

124,042

7

Arlington County, Virginia

122,604

8

Marin County, California

121,671

9

Douglas County, Colorado

121,393

10

Nassau County, New York

120,036

11

Los Alamos County, New Mexico

119,266

12

San Francisco County, California

119,136

13

Hunterdon County, New Jersey

117,858

14

Morris County, New Jersey

117,298

15

Somerset County, New Jersey

116,510

16

Forsyth County, Georgia

112,834

17

Calvert County, Maryland

112,696

18

Nantucket County, Massachusetts

112,306

19

Stafford County, Virginia

112,247

20

Montgomery County, Maryland

111,812

21

Delaware County, Ohio

111,411

22

Williamson County, Tennessee

111,196

23

Fairfax city, Virginia

109,708

24

Prince William County, Virginia

107,707

25

Putnam County, New York

107,246

26

Summit County, Utah

106,973

27

Middlesex County, Massachusetts

106,202

28

Rockwall County, Texas

105,956

29

Fauquier County, Virginia

105,665

30

Suffolk County, New York

105,362

31

Norfolk County, Massachusetts

105,320

32

Alameda County, California

104,888

33

Bergen County, New Jersey

104,623

34

Elbert County, Colorado

104,231

35

Chester County, Pennsylvania

104,161

36

Carver County, Minnesota

104,011

37

Contra Costa County, California

103,997

38

Oldham County, Kentucky

103,761

39

Charles County, Maryland

103,678

40

Monmouth County, New Jersey

103,523

41

Scott County, Minnesota

103,261

42

Anne Arundel County, Maryland

103,225

43

Alexandria city, Virginia

102,227

44

Broomfield County, Colorado

101,206

45

Poquoson city, Virginia

100,696

46

Frederick County, Maryland

100,685

47

Collin County, Texas

100,541

48

Morgan County, Utah

100,408

49

Fort Bend County, Texas

100,189

50

Carroll County, Maryland

99,569

51

Westchester County, New York

99,489

52

King County, Washington

99,158

53

Hamilton County, Indiana

98,880

54

Kendall County, Texas

98,692

55

New Kent County, Virginia

97,688

56

Washington County, Minnesota

97,584

57

Fairfield County, Connecticut

97,539

58

Goochland County, Virginia

97,146

59

Kendall County, Illinois

96,854

60

King George County, Virginia

96,711

61

Queen Anne's County, Maryland

96,467

62

Sussex County, New Jersey

96,222

63

Chambers County, Texas

95,989

64

St. Mary's County, Maryland

95,864

65

Oconee County, Georgia

95,064

66

DuPage County, Illinois

94,930

67

Rockland County, New York

94,840

68

Orange County, California

94,441

69

Harford County, Maryland

94,003

70

Rockingham County, New Hampshire

93,962

71

Powhatan County, Virginia

93,833

72

Fayette County, Georgia

93,777

73

Placer County, California

93,677

74

Montgomery County, Pennsylvania

93,518

75

York County, Virginia

93,356

76

Bucks County, Pennsylvania

93,181

77

Plymouth County, Massachusetts

92,906

78

Lake County, Illinois

92,654

79

Napa County, California

92,219

80

Middlesex County, New Jersey

91,731

81

James City County, Virginia

91,675

82

Johnson County, Kansas

91,650

83

Hanover County, Virginia

91,444

84

Spotsylvania County, Virginia

90,913

85

District of Columbia, District of Columbia

90,842

86

Williamson County, Texas

90,834

87

Will County, Illinois

90,800

88

Chugach Census Area, Alaska

90,776

89

Gilpin County, Colorado

90,547

90

Denton County, Texas

90,354

91

Burlington County, New Jersey

90,329

92

McHenry County, Illinois

90,014

93

Santa Cruz County, California

89,986

94

New York County, New York

89,812

95

Monroe County, Illinois

89,648

96

Boone County, Indiana

89,444

97

Warren County, Ohio

89,410

98

Ventura County, California

89,295

99

Snohomish County, Washington

89,273

100

Gloucester County, New Jersey

89,056

10. Wolfe County, Kentucky, is the poorest county in the United States.

(Source: US Census Bureau)

Wolfe County had the lowest median US household income of $22,292 in 2020.

That same year, 29.7% of the county’s population lived in poverty.

The bad news:

In 2020, the poverty rate in the United States was 11.4%. That year, 37.2 million Americans lived in poverty. Wolfe County’s poverty rate was over 2.6 times higher.

Top 25 Poorest Counties in the US

Rank

County and State

Median household income in 2020 inflation-adjusted dollars

1

Wolfe County, Kentucky

22,292

2

Presidio County, Texas

22,716

3

Perry County, Alabama

23,875

4

Holmes County, Mississippi

24,074

5

Todd County, South Dakota

24,102

6

Quitman County, Mississippi

24,233

7

Jackson County, South Dakota

24,549

8

East Carroll Parish, Louisiana

24,551

9

Lee County, Kentucky

24,699

10

Brooks County, Texas

25,058

11

Jenkins County, Georgia

25,712

12

Dimmit County, Texas

25,996

13

McDowell County, West Virginia

26,072

14

Allendale County, South Carolina

26,074

15

Sumter County, Alabama

26,150

16

Greene County, Alabama

26,688

17

Claiborne Parish, Louisiana

26,849

18

Clay County, Kentucky

27,479

19

Magoffin County, Kentucky

27,807

20

Bienville Parish, Louisiana

27,815

21

Lee County, Arkansas

27,902

22

Hancock County, Tennessee

28,234

23

Harlan County, Kentucky

28,261

24

Issaquena County, Mississippi

28,333

25

Bell County, Kentucky

28,442

11. In 2020, US income per capita was $35,384.

(Source: US Census Bureau)

We want to expand more on the per capita income by county for the richest and the poorest US regions from the two previous stats. That metric is about each individual’s income counted separately, not as part of a household.

Wolfe County’s income per capita was $14,162 in 2020. There’s a tangible difference of $21,222 (almost 2.5 times lower) than the standard of $35,384 in the US.

However, Loudoun County was flourishing with a personal income of $57,513. That’s about 1.6 times higher than the US norm.

Now, let’s look at the median income by county from a different angle. You’ll see what we mean in a bit:

12. Kendall is the richest county in the state of Illinois.

(Source: US Census Bureau)

What if we compare the median incomes of a state, county, and biggest city? In this case, that would be Illinois, Kendall County, and Chicago.

We’ll use the latest US Census Bureau data from 2020.

Area

Median household income

Per capita income

Illinois

$68,428

$37,306

Kendall County

$96,854

$36,504

Chicago

$62,097

$39,068

Kendall County leads by median income of a household. Chicago’s median income is a bit lower than Illinois’s.

Interestingly, Kendall households make about $30k more than those in Chicago and Illinois.

However, Chicago wins by per capita income with $39,068, although that metric is similar for all three “contestants.”

13. James City, Virginia, was the first US county.

(Source: Visual Capitalist)

It was established in the distant 1634, way before America became independent. James City is administratively a county.

Here’s an interesting fact:

Virginia (VA) is the state with the highest number of independent cities. How did that happen?

VA's division into cities and counties started in the early 17th century. It was hard to establish town centers back then because of the rural inhabitants and low productivity levels. Instead of that, local authorities established independent cities.

US Median Household Income Demographics

Household income levels vary across states, counties, cities, gender, age, and other demographics.

Keep in mind that an income doesn’t include only your salary. It can be any sum of money you get, such as self-employment earnings, wage, pension, welfare payments, rental or investment income, etc.

14. The average salary in America is $53,490.

(Source: Jobted)

So we can say that the average US income in 2022 that comes only from salary is $53,490. Some people do rely mostly on such earnings, if not most.

Pharmacists, for example, make 111% more than the average—$112,800. However, certified nursing assistants earn 45% less—$29,286.

The average weekly US salary right now is $1,028.

15. In 2020, the average annual pay in the state of Washington (WA) was $76,771.

(Source: Statista)

Compared to 2019, when the average pay in WA was $69,653, there’s a yearly increase of $7,118. That seems like a lot, considering that the pandemic hit around that time.

How about Washington state’s median income in 2020? Median WA household income was $77,006; per capita earnings were $40,837.

Not-so-fun fact:

16. Bullfrog County, Nevada, lasted for only two years.

(Source: Visual Capitalist)

While some counties last centuries, others dissolve quickly.

That’s the case with Bullfrog County, NA. It was established in 1987 and existed just for two years. Why?

The county’s primary purpose was to protect Yucca Mountain from turning into a nuclear waste dump. It wasn't inhabited and had no infrastructure.

Unfortunately, the nuclear issue is still ongoing.

17. The best-paying jobs are in the medical field.

(Source: Jobted)

Although the median income by county may vary, medical professions’ salaries remain the highest of all industries.

The average yearly salary of a neurosurgeon is $428,300. That’s the highest-paying profession of all.

18. Compared to men, women are underpaid.

(Source: PGPF)

In 2020, women’s individual median earnings were $50,982, while men’s were $61,417. That’s a massive gap of over $10,000.

So, the economic levels of both genders are not the same. In 2019, we have a similar pattern: women earned $47,889; men—$58,173.

19. American middle class has been shrinking.

(Source: Pew Research)

61% of Americans belonged to the middle class in 1971. Fifty years later, that middle class had shrunk to 50%.

Year

Low income

Middle income

High income

1971

25%

61%

14%

2021

29%

50%

21%

As you can see, the shrinking of the middle-income Americans favors the other two tiers—the lower and higher income.

On the one hand, more people got wealthier—7% up over the past five decades. Conversely, the lower-income tier had also increased by 4%.

Wrap Up

Since the United States is divided into over 3,000 counties, median household income by county is a vast topic to discuss.

We can make endless comparisons, but we decided to look at the bigger picture and give you only the highlights.

There are plenty more topics to explore in the future, so stay tuned.

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Aleksandra Yosifova
Aleksandra Yosifova

With an eye for research, Aleksandra is determined to always get to the bottom of things. If there’s a glitch in the system, she’ll find it and make sure you know about it.