In this article we’ll highlight income extremes across the US and identify the states, counties, places and ZIP codes with the highest and lowest median household income and average household income. The national median and national average income level is provided for a frame of reference.
The data is based on July 1, 2017 demographic estimates.1
US HOUSEHOLD INCOME
The median annual household income in the United States was $56,124 and the average annual household income was $80,875. Half of the US households were above the median value and half were below it.
Maryland had the highest median household income with $76,754 per year while Mississippi had the lowest with $40,486.
New Jersey had the highest average household with $104,717 while Mississippi had the lowest with $57,179.
Loudoun County, VA had the highest median household income with $124,885 while Quitman County, MS had the lowest with $23,279.
Falls Church, Virginia had the highest average household income of $161,930 while Hancock County, TN had the lowest with $34,086.
Note that Falls Church, VA is one of 39 independent Virginia cities that are not part of any county. For statistical purposes, the US Census Bureau considers independent cities county equivalents.
The “Places” database includes incorporated cities, towns and villages as well as census designated places (CDPs).
Census Designated Places are the statistical counterparts of incorporated places, and are delineated by the US Census Bureau to provide data for settled concentrations of population that are identifiable by name but are not legally incorporated under the laws of the state in which they are located.
When we rank places based on median household income, there are 78 places that appear to be “tied” for first place based on available data for July 1, 2017.
This apparent tie for first place is due to the fact that the reported median household income for these 78 places are “top-coded” at $200,001. In economics and statistics, a top-coded data observation is one for which data points whose values are above an upper bound are censored.
New York has 24 places in the list of the top 78 cities, towns and CDPs with the highest median income level. California comes in second with 12 places, Maryland is third with 10 places, Texas is fourth with 9 places and Virginia is fifth with 6 places. The complete list of the top (and bottom) 200 places in the US based on median household income is readily available on www.HomeTownLocator.com.
The Town of Chevy Chase Village, MD has the highest average household income with $336,107 and the Town of Tchula, MS has the lowest with $22,293.
Note that there is one place, a CDP, with a lower average household income than Tchula, but this CDP is a college campus and the average household income of college students living in group housing is not particularly relevant for the purposes of this exercise.
When we rank ZIP Codes by median household income, there are 27 that seem to be tied for first place. This apparent tie is again based on the fact that the median household income is top-coded at $200,001.
California has 8 ZIP Codes with a median household over $200,000, New York is a close second with 7 ZIP Codes in the top-tier. Massachusetts and New Jersey tie for third place with 3 each.
If we exclude all ZIP Codes that are immediately adjacent to college campuses, then Rochester, NY 14604 with a median household income of $11,862 appers to be the ZIP code with the lowest median income.
Short Hills, NJ 07078 has the highest average household income with $306,267.
The small community of Trosper, KY 40995 with 88 residential addresses, 48 PO Box addresses and 5 business addresses appears to be the ZIP Code with the lowest average household income, $21,536, when we exclude ZIP Codes that appear to have a high college student population from consideration.
The complete list of the top (and bottom) 200 ZIP Codes in the US based on median household income is readily available on www.HomeTownLocator.com.
GAZETTEER RESEARCH TOOLS
1 The annual census demographic estimates and 5-year forecasts are based upon data produced by Esri Demographics. Their estimates and forecasts use the latest US Census Bureau annual American Community Survey (ACS) as a starting point. They then combine additional data from multiple sources including residential postal delivery counts from the USPS; a time series of county-to-county migration patterns from the IRS; building permits; housing starts and local data sources that tested well against the most recent census. For more detailed information: Methodology Statement: 2017/2022 Esri US Demographic Updates.