People in New Jersey Have the 2nd Highest Incomes, Study Says

by Alondra Cabrera
People in New Jersey Have the 2nd Highest Incomes

With the median yearly income in the U.S. around $74,600, the personal-finance website WalletHub today released its report on the States Where People Have the Highest Income to get a feel for how well-off Americans are across the country.

New Jersey residents have secured the second-highest income in the nation, taking into account low, high, and median earnings. WalletHub compared the 50 states and the District of Columbia across three key metrics: the average annual income of the top 5 percent, the average for the bottom 20%, and the median for all of each state’s residents. Here are the key income statistics for New Jersey: 

Income in New Jersey

New Jersey’s overall rank is 2nd. The average annual income of the top 5 percent, adjusted for the cost of living index, is $505,621, placing it 4th in income levels by state. The median annual income, adjusted for the cost of living index, is $117,847, which ranks 6th. The average annual income of the bottom 20 percent, adjusted for the cost of living index, is $16,445, placing it 21st.

Cost of Living in New Jersey

According to Forbes, the cost of living in New Jersey in 2024 is reported to be $49,511. This reflects the average amount one can spend on essential expenses while maintaining a reasonable lifestyle. Understanding the cost of living is crucial when assessing income levels, as it provides insights into the economic landscape in different states

Virginia’s Income Statistics

Virginia has the highest income when balancing between the median, top 5%, and bottom 20 percent of earners. The top 5 percent of earners in Virginia make an average of $518,296 per year, while the bottom 20 percent make an average of $18,694 – both ranking as the third highest in the nation. The median annual income in Virginia is $89,393, positioning it as the 17th-highest in the country. 


Cassandra Happe, a WalletHub Analyst, emphasized the importance of measuring income disparities against a state’s median income to understand the prevalence of income inequalities better. “The highest-earning 10 percent of individuals in the United States earn over 12 times more than those in the lowest-earning 10 percent, based on the latest Census data. By measuring the income of various percentiles against a state’s median income, we can better identify where income disparities are more prevalent, which could help us better understand why residents of certain states struggle more to make ends meet,” Happe stated.

Income is more than just a number; it reflects a state’s economic well-being and ability to provide for the basic needs of its citizens. Therefore, New Jersey’s ranking as the second highest income state implies that we have a strong economy, good schools, and access to quality healthcare.

About the Author/s

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Alondra Cabrera is the Editorial Assistant at New Jersey Digest. She recently graduated from Montclair State University with a degree in Communication and Media Studies. During her time at school, she discovered her passion for journalism and content creation. In her free time, she loves to create and edit videos for her corgis, Rafi and Toffe, and indulge in culinary adventures with her friends. Alondra also enjoys traveling, cooking, and working out. She is excited to embark on her professional journey in media and looks forward to contributing her skill and creativity to her role here at New Jersey Digest.

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