The Wealthiest and Poorest Counties in the U.S.

Written by Carly Hallman

Virginia is home to the country’s wealthiest county (Loudoun, VA) but also the biggest in-state wealth disparity between its wealthiest and poorest counties.

We’ve taken a deep dive into the poorest and wealthiest counties in the U.S., looking closely at each state’s median income on the county level, and the data is pretty surprising.

Wealthiest and Poorest Counties Infographic

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The Wealthiest and Poorest County in Every U.S. State Transcript

Based on Median Household Income

State County + Largest City
Alabama
>Overall median income: $46,300
Highest: Shelby $74,200
Birmingham
>Lowest: Wilcox $24,200
Camden
Alaska
>Overall median income: $76,100
Highest: Anchorage $84,000
Anchorage
>Lowest: Kusilvak $34,300
Hooper Bay
Arizona
>Overall median income: $53,500
Highest: Greenlee $61,100
Clifton
>Lowest: Apache $34,000
Eager
Arkansas
>Overall median income: $44,400
Highest: Benton $64,100
Rogers
>Lowest: Lee $26,900
Marianna
California
>Overall median income: $67,700
Highest: Santa Clara $110,800
San Jose
>Lowest: Trinity $38,700
Weaverville
Colorado
>Overall median income: $65,700
Highest: Douglas $112,400
Castle Rock
>Lowest: Costilla $27,200
San Luis
Connecticut
>Overall median income: $73,400
Highest: Fairfield $90,000
Bridgeport
>Lowest: Windham $60,900
Windham
Delaware
>Overall median income: $62,100
Highest: New Castle $67,200
Wilmington
>Lowest: Kent $54,000
Dover
Florida
>Overall median income: $50,900
Highest: St. Johns $78,500
St. Augustine
>Lowest: Levy $33,100
Williston
Georgia
>Overall median income: $53,500
Highest: Forsyth $101,800
Cumming
>Lowest: Stewart $24,900
Richland
Hawaii
>Overall median income: $74,700
Highest: Honolulu $80,000
Honolulu
>Lowest: Hawai’i $54,700
Hilo
Idaho
>Overall median income: $51,600
Highest: Blaine $66,200
Hailey
>Lowest: Owyhee $35,900
Homedale
Illinois
>Overall median income: $61,000
Highest: Kendall $92,000
Oswego
>Lowest: Alexander $33,300
Cairo
Indiana
>Overall median income: $52,300
Highest: Hamilton $92,400
Carmel
>Lowest: Grant $40,200
Marion
Iowa
>Overall median income: $56,400
Highest: Dallas $82,100
Waukee
>Lowest: Decatur $36,800
Lamoni
Kansas
>Overall median income: $54,800
Highest: Johnson $80,900
Overland Park
>Lowest: Woodson $35,400
Yates Center
Kentucky
>Overall median income: $46,600
Highest: Oldham $92,500
La Grange
>Lowest: Owsley $23,100
Booneville
Lousiana
>Overall median income: $45,400
Highest: Ascension $74,200
Gonzales
>Lowest: East Carroll $25,800
Lake Providence
Maine
>Overall median income: $52,900
Highest: Cumberland $65,500
Portland
>Lowest: Piscataquis $35,900
Dover-Foxcroft
Maryland
>Overall median income: $78,800
Highest: Howard $119,400
Columbia
>Lowest: Somerset $38,500
Princess Anne
Massachusetts
>Overall median income: $75,200
Highest: Middlesex $95,000
Lowell
>Lowest: Hampden $51,600
Springfield
Michigan
>Overall median income: $52,400
Highest: Livingston $79,400
Howell
>Lowest: Lake $33,700
Baldwin
Minnesota
>Overall median income: $65,600
Highest: Carver $94,100
Chaska
>Lowest: Wadena $41,000
Wadena
Mississippi
>Overall median income: $41,800
Highest: Madison $65,900
Ridgeland
>Lowest: Holmes $22,000
Lexington
Missouri
>Overall median income: $51,700
Highest: St. Charles $80,700
St. Charles
>Lowest: Shannon $29,500
Durant
Montana
>Overall median income: $50,300
Highest: Richland $65,300
Sidney
>Lowest: Blaine $36,900
Chinook
Nebraska
>Overall median income: $57,000
Highest: Sarpy $74,400
Bellevue
>Lowest: Garden $38,700
Oshkosh
Nevada
>Overall median income: $55,200
Highest: Lander $71,800
Battle Mountain
>Lowest: Mineral $41,900
Hawthorne
New Hampshire
>Overall median income: $71,000
Highest: Rockingham $82,000
Derry
>Lowest: Coos $45,100
Berlin
New Jersey
>Overall median income: $76,200
Highest: Hunterdon $113,300
Raritan Township
>Lowest: Cumberland $48,900
Vineland
New Mexico
>Overall median income: $46,800
Highest: Los Alamos $114,700
Los Alamos
>Lowest: Luna $28,200
Deming
New York
>Overall median income: $62,700
Highest: Nassau $105,500
Hempstead
>Lowest: Bronx $37,400
N/A
North Carolina
>Overall median income: $50,600
Highest: Wake $76,200
Raleigh
>Lowest: Halifax $33,000
Roanoke Rapids
North Dakota
>Overall median income: $61,900
Highest: Williams $81,700
Williston
>Lowest: Sioux $33,600
Cannon Ball
Ohio
>Overall median income: $52,400
Highest: Delaware $103,000
Delaware
>Lowest: Athens $38,100
Athens
Oklahoma
Overall median income: $49,200
Highest: Canadian $68,300
Oklahoma City
>Lowest: Choctaw $32,500
Hugo
Oregon
>Overall median income: $57,400
Highest: Washington $75,600
Hillsboro
>Lowest: Wheeler $35,300
Pennsylvania
>Overall median income: $56,900
Highest: Chester $92,600
Coatesville
>Lowest: Forest $38,800
Marienville
Rhode Island
>Overall median income: $60,000
Highest: Washington $77,000
South Kingstown
>Lowest: Providence $52,000
Providence
South Carolina
>Overall median income: $49,600
Highest: Beaufort $65,400
Hilton Head Island
>Lowest: Allendale $26,900
Allendale
South Dakota
>Overall median income: 54,900
Highest: Lincoln $84,600
Harrisburg
>Lowest: Buffalo $22,500
Fort Thompson
Tennessee
>Overall median income: $48,500
Highest: Williamson $107,900
Franklin
>Lowest: Hancock $28,200
Sneedville
Texas
>Overall median income: $56,600
Highest: Rockwall $97,500
Dallas
>Lowest: Zavala $25,500
Crystal City
Utah
>Overall median income: $65,900
Highest: Summit $94,500
Park City
>Lowest: Piute $39,700
Vermont
>Overall median income: $57,700
Highest: Chittenden $67,800
Burlington
>Lowest: Essex $40,800
Lunenburg
Virginia
>Overall median income: $68,100
Highest: Loudoun $134,600
Leesburg
>Lowest: Buchanan $31,800
Grundy
Washington
>Overall median income: $67,100
Highest: King $85,900
Seattle
>Lowest: Ferry $40,600
Republic
West Virginia
>Overall median income: $43,200
Highest: Jefferson $71,300
Charles Town
>Lowest: McDowell $24,500
Welch
Wisconsin
>Overall median income: 56,800
Highest: Ozaukee $85,700
Mequon
>Lowest: Menominee $36,600
Menominee
Wyoming
>Overall median income: $61,700
Highest: Teton $84,100
Jackson
>Lowest: Niobrara $45,300
Lusk

Top 10 States With the Greatest Disparity Between Counties

State + Counties + Median
Virginia
>Highest: Loudoun $134,600
>Lowest: Buchanan $31,800
>Range: $102,800
New Mexico
>Highest: Los Alamos $114,700
>Lowest: Luna $28,200
>Range: $86,500
Colorado
>Highest: Douglas $112,400
>Lowest: Costilla $27,200
>Range: $85,200
Maryland
>Highest: Howard $119,400
>Lowest: Somerset $38,500
>Range: $80,900
Tennessee
>Highest: Williamson $107,900
>Lowest: Hancock $28,200
>Range: $79,700
Georgia
>Highest: Forsyth $101,800
>Lowest: Stewart $24,900
>Range: $76,900
California
>Highest: Santa Clara $110,800
>Lowest: Trinity $38,700
>Range: $72,100
Texas
>Highest: Rockwall $97,500
>Lowest: Zavala $25,500
>Range: $72,000
Kentucky
>Highest: Oldham $92,500
>Lowest: Owsley $23,100
>Range: $69,400
New York
>Highest: Nassau $105,500
>Lowest: Bronx $37,400
>Range: $68,100

Sources:

Loudoun, VA, at $134,600 in median household income, is more than $100,000 above the median household income of the state’s poorest county, Buchanan, VA, at $31,800. The West Virginian counties of McDowell (poorest) and Jefferson (richest) border these two Virginia counties, meaning that within a few hours’ drive, you have a huge area that’s more than double the national median household income ($59,039) and an area that’s well below it.

The state with the highest median household income is also home to the second-richest county (Howard County, MA).

But Massachusetts is also ranked fourth for the state with the biggest disparity between the poorest and richest county.

The states with the most disparity between the poorest and richest counties in the U.S. are Virginia, New Mexico, Colorado, Maryland, and Tennessee, all of which have a gap of about $80,000 or more in median household income.

As you scan these charts, you might notice that the higher the state median household income and highest county income are, the more wealth disparity there is. This is certainly the case for Maryland, which has a huge gap, but there are exceptions. For instance, Kentucky has a low median for the state and has a massive amount of disparity. Then, there’s Alaska, which has a very high income for the whole state ($76,100) and a fairly low disparity (a gap of only about $49,700).

Here are the wealthiest and poorest counties in the U.S., according to the American Community Survey (ACS) from the U.S. Census Bureau.

The Top 10 Wealthiest Counties in the U.S. by Median Household Income

  1. Loudon County, VA
  2. Howard County, MA
  3. Fairfax County, VA
  4. Hunterdon County, NJ
  5. Santa Clara County, CA
  6. Arlington County, VA
  7. Douglas County, CO
  8. San Mateo County, CA
  9. Morris County, NJ
  10. Williamson County, TN

The Top 10 Poorest Counties in the U.S. by Median Household Income

  1. Holmes County, MS
  2. Buffalo County, SD
  3. Owsley County, KY
  4. Wilcox County, AL
  5. McDowell County, WV
  6. Clay County, KY
  7. Stewart County, GA
  8. McCreary County, KY
  9. Perry County, AL
  10. Harlan County, KY

Naturally, some of the wealthiest counties in America are all packed into one state; Virginia and California show up on the top 10 list multiple times. Kentucky is on the list of poorest counties multiple times as well.

Ask yourself, “What is the poorest county in my state?” and see how it compares to the richest counties in the country. Our deep look at wealth disparity by state can help us see which communities are being left behind on the road to progress and which local governments need to find new ways to help the state as a whole.


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