How Much Does it Take to be the Top 1% in Each U.S. State?


According to data from SmartAsset, a personal finance advisory services company, the annual income threshold to be considered part of the top 1% in each U.S. state varies. At the top of the list is Connecticut, where a household needs to earn almost $953,000 per year to be among the one-percenters. Similarly, in Massachusetts, the minimum annual earnings required to be in the top 1% is $903,401. The following is a list of all 50 U.S. states and the annual income needed to be in the top 1% in each state.  

Based on data from SmartAsset, the top five states with the highest minimum income thresholds to be part of the top 1% are Connecticut ($953,000), Massachusetts ($903,401), California ($844,266), New Jersey ($817,346), and Washington ($804,853). On the other hand, West Virginia has the lowest minimum threshold at $367,582, followed closely by Mississippi at $381,919. 

A closer look at the map above reveals some regional trends. The Northeast and West Coast, with their major urban centers and stronger economies, require higher incomes to qualify for the top 1% compared to states in the American South. This is consistent with the median incomes of these states, with Massachusetts households earning approximately $90,000 annually compared to Mississippi households earning around $49,000.

Furthermore, those who do manage to make it to the top 1% in states like Connecticut and Massachusetts can expect to pay higher taxes compared to other states, as indicated by SmartAsset's analysis.  

The one-percenters in the top five states pay, on average, between 26–28% of their income in tax, compared to those in the bottom five who pay between 21–23%.

And this pattern exists through the dataset, with higher top 1% income thresholds correlating with higher average tax rates for the wealthy.

These higher tax rates point to attempts to reign in the increasing wealth disparity in the nation where the top 1% hold more than one-third of the country’s wealth, up from 27% in 1989.

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