The Geography of Wealth

Study Ranks U.S. States by How Successful Its Residents Are

Research finds where the nation’s most successful residents currently reside, revealing an interesting pattern

LOS ANGELES, Aug. 31, 2016 /PRNewswire/ — Where do all the successful people live? Are some states home to more of the nation’s most successful people than others?

The methodology of the report was as follows: GOBankingRates.com used the Economic Policy Institute’s data (published in June 2016) on the average income of the top 1 percent and bottom 99 percent in each state. Poverty rates are based on figures from PovertyUSA.org. The figures for the percentage of households in each in the upper, middle and lower class are from the Pew Research Center income calculator. The number of billionaires in each state was sourced from Forbes, and the number of millionaire households and ratio of millionaires to total households was sourced from Phoenix Marketing International’s Ranking of U.S. States by Millionaires Per Capita 2006-2013.

To answer these questions, GOBankingRates surveyed all 50 states and the District of Columbia and ranked them by the following seven factors:

  •  the average income of the top 1 percent
  •  the average income of the bottom 99 percent
  •  the states’ poverty rates
  •  the percentage of the population in the upper, middle and lower class
  •  the number of millionaire households
  •  the ratio of millionaires to total households
  •  and the number of billionaires

Success By State

10 Most Successful States

10 Least Successful States

1. Connecticut

1. Mississippi

2. Maryland

2. New Mexico

3. New Jersey

3. West Virginia

4. Massachusetts

4. Arkansas

5. New Hampshire

5. Kentucky

6. District of Columbia

6. Alabama

7. California

7. South Carolina

8. Alaska

8. Louisiana

9. North Dakota

9. Tennessee

10. Virginia

10. Arizona

 

Don’t see your state? See the entire ranking here

Where do all the successful people live?

Stand-out Study Insights:

  • 7 out of the 10 most successful places are located along the east coast
  • Despite Mississippi having more millionaire households than 16 other states, it takes last place on our list because it has the largest percentage of lower class residents in the country (36%)
  • West Virginia is the only state where the average top 1 percent income is below 500k
  • New Mexico has the greatest income inequality between the top and bottom income levels
  • North Dakota has the lowest percentage of lower class residents in the nation (19%)
  • New Hampshire has the lowest poverty rate in the U.S.
  • The average income of the top 1 percent in Connecticut is the highest in the nation, at $2.4 million

Success rubbing off?

“While it would be incorrect to assume that living in a certain state could determine your success, the study did find that certain areas in the country definitely house more financially successful citizens than others,” said Kristen Bonner, lead researcher on the GOBankingRates study. “That being said, living in an area among those who are thriving financially might just offer the push you need to craft a successful financial future for yourself.”

Methodology: GOBankingRates.com used the Economic Policy Institute’s data (published in June 2016) on the average income of the top 1 percent and bottom 99 percent in each state. Poverty rates are based on figures from PovertyUSA.org. The figures for the percentage of households in each in the upper, middle and lower class are from the Pew Research Center income calculator. The number of billionaires in each state was sourced from Forbes, and the number of millionaire households and ratio of millionaires to total households was sourced from Phoenix Marketing International’s Ranking of U.S. States by Millionaires Per Capita 2006-2013.

 

 

 

About GOBankingRates
GOBankingRates.com is a leading portal for personal finance and consumer banking information, offering visitors the latest on everything from finding a good interest rate to strategies for saving money, investing for retirement, and getting a loan. Its editors are regularly featured on top-tier media outlets, including U.S. News & World Report, Forbes, Business Insider, Daily Finance, and more. It specializes in connecting consumers with the best financial institutions and banking products nationwide.