5 States With Higher Salaries Than California
California is one of the highest earning states, but it doesn’t top the list.
- Maryland tops the list of high-wage states with a median income of $90,203.
- Washington DC comes in second, mainly due to the high concentration of government-related jobs.
- California, with a median income of $84,907, ranks sixth.
It’s no surprise that California, home to Silicon Valley and Hollywood, is one of the wealthiest states in America. But there are several states where people can earn even more. Some of them might surprise you.
According to the latest information from the US Census Bureau, the median income in California is $84,907, which places it in the top 10 states for high salaries. However, workers in Maryland earn the most, with a median income of $90,203.
Talking about average salaries can be a bit misleading. For example, there are a lot of people earning top dollar in California, but the state also has one of the biggest gaps between top and bottom incomes. Both extremes can skew average wage calculations, which are calculated by dividing total income by the number of employees. Median income, which is calculated by looking at the midpoint, can often be a better indicator.
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Here are the five states with higher salaries than California.
1. Maryland: median income of $90,203
Maryland tops the list of high-income states, though it’s not far behind Washington DC, which comes in second. Maryland’s proximity to Washington DC is often cited as one of the reasons it is home to so many high earners. A study showed that federal, local, and state government work accounted for nearly 20% of Maryland’s employment. It is also a magnet for aerospace, defense and military jobs.
2. District of Columbia: median income of $90,088
As in Maryland, the federal government and all that comes with it accounts for a large portion of DC’s top salaries. And it’s not just government jobs – it’s also lobbying, lawyers, and a whole host of other related careers. If we use the average income instead of the median, DC tops the list with an average salary of $138,856.
Perhaps unsurprisingly, Washington DC is also one of the most expensive states to live in. Data from the Missouri Economic and Research Center ranks it as the second least affordable state, just after Hawaii. Even with high salaries, DC residents might struggle to build their savings.
3. Massachusetts: median income of $89,645
According to an IBISWorld study, professional, scientific and technical services; immovable; and manufacturing are the three largest sectors in the state in terms of total employment. Massachusetts also has a thriving technology sector and offers attractive vacation spots.
4. New Jersey: median income of $89,296
New Jersey is another state that benefits from its wealthy neighbors – in this case, New York and Philadelphia. Pharmaceuticals, IT, transportation, and manufacturing are key industries for the state, which is also a popular vacation destination.
5. New Hampshire: median income of $88,465
New Hampshire is consistently ranked as one of the highest earning states in the country. The state has championed what is called “smart manufacturing”. It is essentially a move away from traditional factory work towards more technology-driven production, such as computer parts. Unlike some of the other states on this list, New Hampshire also has a relatively low poverty rate and less inequality than most countries.
Salaries are only an indicator
If your bank balance is being hammered by the rising cost of living, the idea of moving to a higher-paying state may appeal to you. But don’t forget to consider the cost of living. Check out our list of affordable cities with high salaries and low cost of living to get an idea of the localities that could really help you lower your costs.
The prevalence of remote work also makes it easier to live in a lower cost area and work somewhere with higher wages. But more companies are requiring their employees to come into the office for at least part of the work week, so consider places that are commutable and affordable.
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