These 10 States' Residents Earn The Fattest Paychecks

Posted by Wealth Wire - Friday, August 17th, 2012

For most Americans, paychecks just aren't as healthy as they used to be.

The recent recession has caused the average household income in America to tumble for three years in a row, to an inflation-adjusted $49,445 at the last official count in 2010, according to the U.S. Census Bureau. That's a disappointing 7.1% below what incomes were in the peak earning year of 1999. 

Actually, American families are no better off financially than they were in 1996 as far as household incomes are concerned, according to the 2010 Census. 

You read that correctly -- the average American household earns no more than they did when Bill Clinton was president a decade and a half ago.

But there is some good news. Just because household incomes are down significantly on average doesn't mean the situation is dire everywhere. In fact, for those who are willing to move, there are 10 states in the U.S. where the median household income is anywhere from 20% to a whopping 34% higher than the national average. 

And depending on your job preference and skill set, you may even find there are better job opportunities in some of these states to go along with that larger paycheck. For example, according to the most recent Bureau of Labor Statistics data, someone who works in Arkansas in a health care-related occupation earns an average wage of $62,210. If that person were to move to Alaska (where health care-related jobs make up the fourth-largest share of jobs in the state), her earning potential increases to an average salary of $89,360 -- 44% higher than Arkansas.

So in case you're curious about your own situation, we've done some highlighting for you. Using the 2010 Census and the Bureau of Labor Statistics' data, we've put together the top 10 states that have the highest median household incomes in America. Under each state included, we've listed the leading three occupations that a) boasted average salaries exceeding $45,000 while  b) employing the most people in the state, as stated by the Bureau of Labor Statistics's state data.

Jobs in management had among the highest salaries in all states (with average salaries ranging from $80,000 to $121,000 per year), but we excluded this group from our list as we felt it was too general. 

According to data from the 2010 U.S. Census, here are the 10 states with the highest median household incomes: 

Note: The median household income figures from the U.S. Census use a three-year average, meaning the median household incomes from 2008 to 2010 are averaged to get the figures you see below.

10. Hawaii -- $59,125 Median Household Income

In addition to larger paychecks, the Aloha State offers good job prospects with an unemployment rate of just 6.4% -- nearly 2 percentage points lower than the national average as of July 2012.

The state is also a testament to "the more you make, the more you spend" mantra, as the state ranked third in our list of 10 States With The Highest Credit Card Debt Per Person.


Three Most Common Types Of Jobs (With Salaries Over $45,000):

  1. Education, Training and Library Jobs: 40,180 jobs held ($48,540 average salary)
  2. Health Care Practitioners and Technical Jobs: 26,350 jobs held ($83,730 average salary)
  3. Construction and Extraction Jobs: 25,040 jobs held ($60,550 average salary)

9. Colorado -- $59,669 Median Household Income

In addition to the three job types listed below, two other large occupation groups in the Centennial State that paid well were construction and extraction jobs ($43,510) and Computer and Mathematical Jobs ($81,360).

Don't expect to land a job as quickly here though, as the unemployment rate here is on par with the national average (8.2% in July 2012).



Three Most Common Types Of Jobs (With Salaries Over $45,000)

  1. Business and Financial Operations Jobs: 141,130 jobs held ($69,620 average salary)
  2. Education, Training and Library Jobs: 131,390 jobs held ($49,720 average salary)
  3. Health Care Practitioners and Technical Jobs: 114,970 jobs held ($73,910 average salary)

8. Utah -- $59,857 Median Household Income

The Beehive State's residents earn median household incomes that are an impressive 21% above the national average.

The economy here is much stronger than average, too; the state boasts the 11th lowest unemployment rate in the nation -- a healthy 6% as of July 2012.

 


Three Most Common Types Of Jobs (With Salaries Over $45,000):

  1. Health Care Practitioners and Technical Jobs: 56,850 jobs held ($70,110 average salary)
  2. Business and Financial Operations Jobs: 54,470 jobs held ($60,570 average salary)
  3. Computer and Mathematical Jobs: 32,410 jobs held ($68,770 average salary)

7. Massachusetts -- $60,923 Median Household Income

Massachusetts follows Utah in boasting a super-low unemployment rate of just 6% (as of July 2012).

Watch your spending when you start getting those large paychecks though -- Massachusetts ranked 10th in the nation in credit card debt per person.

 



Three Most Common Types Of Jobs (With Salaries Over $45,000):

  1. Health Care Practitioners and Technical Jobs: 227,900 jobs held ($82,270 average salary)
  2. Education, Training and Library Jobs: 220,390 jobs held ($59,410 average salary)
  3. Business and Financial Operations Jobs: 174,960 jobs held ($77,620 average salary)

6. Virginia -- $61,544 Median Household Income

The commonwealth of Virginia has a relatively bustling economy with numerous jobs in government and industries such as banking, agriculture and forestry.

With the technology industry continuing to boom here as well, it's not surprising the state's employers pay top dollar for computer and mathematical related jobs ($91,470, the highest average wage on this list). The state also sports the ninth lowest unemployment rate in the country, with just 5.7% unemployed in July 2012.


Three Most Common Types Of Jobs (With Salaries Over $45,000):

  1. Business and Financial Operations Jobs: 233,400 jobs held ($75,880 average salary)
  2. Education, Training and Library Jobs: 232,440 jobs held ($51,200 average salary)
  3. Computer and Mathematical Jobs: 190,030 jobs held ($91,470 average salary)

5. Alaska -- $61,872 Median Household Income

Alaska had an impressive number of employees working in construction and extraction jobs. And when it comes to health care practitioners and technical jobs, that field's employers pay the highest average wage ($89,360) -- it didn't make the list below, however, as it was the fourth largest occupation in the state.  

 



Three Most Common Types Of Jobs (With Salaries Over $45,000):

  1. Transportation and Material Moving Jobs: 23,810 jobs held ($47,830 average salary)
  2. Education, Training and Library Jobs: 22,130 jobs held ($59,960 average salary)
  3. Construction and Extraction Jobs: 20,150 jobs held ($60,830 average salary)

4. Maryland -- $64,596 Median Household Income

Maryland residents beat Alaska by nearly $3,000 in median household income. The state's median household income was also nearly $15,000 higher than the rest of the nation.

Job prospects in Maryland are better than average, too, with the state's unemployment rate just under 7% as of July 2012.

 

Three Most Common Types Of Jobs (With Salaries Over $45,000):

  1. Education, Training and Library Jobs: 172,420 jobs held ($58,490 average salary)
  2. Business and Financial Operations Jobs: 156,420 jobs held ($74,510 average salary)
  3. Health Care Practitioners and Technical Jobs: 154,160 jobs held ($80,840 average salary)

3. New Jersey -- $65,173 Median Household Income

For those with the gift of gab, sales-related jobs made up an even larger portion of employment in New Jersey (411,010 jobs as of May 2011) than the three occupational groups listed below. But because the average wage was $43,760 for these jobs, it fell just outside our criteria. Garden State residents are also known to be big credit card spenders -- the state had the second highest credit card debt per person in the nation.

While the incomes here may be lucrative, be sure you can land a job here before you move, as the state's unemployment rate is a dreadful 9.6%.

Three Most Common Types Of Jobs (With Salaries Over $45,000):

  1. Education, Training and Library Jobs: 289,320 jobs held ($55,580 average salary)
  2. Business and Financial Operations Jobs: 209,360 jobs held ($74,470 average salary)
  3. Health Care Practitioners and Technical Jobs: 203,390 jobs held ($83,300 average salary)

2. Connecticut -- $65,958 Median Household Income

Those with a knack for selling and a desire for a much higher-than-average salary should consider moving to Connecticut, where more than one in 10 workers are employed in sales-related jobs.

It hasn't been the finest of years for the Constitution State's economy, though; the state ranks ninth on our list of 10 States With the Most Seriously Delinquent Mortgages (caused by the housing market bust) and had a ho-hum unemployment rate of 8.1% in July 2012. But those who have jobs enjoy a median household income that is 34% higher than rest of the nation's households.

Three Most Common Types Of Jobs (With Salaries Over $45,000):

  1. Sales and Related Jobs: 163,870 jobs held ($45,970 average salary)
  2. Education, Training and Library Jobs: 127,770 jobs held ($57,330 average salary)
  3. Health Care Practitioners and Technical Jobs: 97,170 jobs held ($79,890 average salary)

1. New Hampshire -- $66,303 Median Household Income

Just edging out Connecticut by less than $400 a year, New Hampshire wins out as the state with the highest median household income in the country. The job opportunities here are excellent, as the state offers the fifth lowest unemployment rate in the country -- 5.1% as of July 2012.

College graduates here in the Granite State with student loans will likely be the most grateful to have a lucrative-paying job here -- New Hampshire also ranked No. 1 on our list of 10 States With the Highest Student Loan Debt Per Graduate.

Three Most Common Types Of Jobs (With Salaries Over $45,000):

  1. Education, Training and Library Jobs: 44,530 jobs held ($46,710 average salary)
  2. Health Care Practitioners and Technical Jobs: 36,080 jobs held ($74,780 average salary)
  3. Business and Financial Operations Jobs: 26,600 jobs held ($64,630 average salary

*Post courtesy of Christian Hudspeth at Investing Answers.

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