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How Much You Need To Earn To Rank in the Top 10% of Your State

·10 min read
f11photo / Shutterstock.com
f11photo / Shutterstock.com

By definition, there will always be a significant gap between what the median wage is in a state versus what the top 10% earn. However, the size of this gap can vary widely depending on where you live. For example, if you live in New York or Washington, D.C., you'll need to earn about four times the median income to crack the top 10%. In other states, like Utah, the top 10% of incomes are exactly three times as large as median salaries.

Find Out: How Do You Stack Up To the Average Income in Your State?
Related: See What a $100K Salary Looks Like After Taxes in Your State

To help highlight the disparities, GOBankingRates analyzed U.S. Census Bureau data from the 2019 American Community Survey to determine quintile mean income and the amount earned by the top 10% of earners in each state. States were ranked from the smallest salaries earned by the top 10% to the largest.

See: All You Need To Know About the Economy and Your Money

What's clear is that both the median income and the salary earned by the top 10% in each state can vary considerably. If you're looking to earn more and have some flexibility, you can check out the average salaries in nearby states to see if you might be able to boost your income. Even if you remain in your home state, there are plenty of entry-level jobs that pay far above the median incomes listed below.

Last updated: Sept. 17, 2021

DavidByronKeener / iStock.com
DavidByronKeener / iStock.com

51. West Virginia

  • Median income: $48,850

  • Top 10% income: $163,240

In West Virginia, the top 10% earns 234% -- or $114,390 -- more than the median income.

Check Out: 50 Highest-Paying Jobs With No Experience Required

Rex_Wholster / iStock.com
Rex_Wholster / iStock.com

50. Mississippi

  • Median income: $45,792

  • Top 10% income: $169,318

Mississippi has the lowest median income in America, but the wealthy still do well on a relative basis, earning 270% more than the average earner.

Rich vs. Wealthy: What's the Difference Between the Two?

DenisTangneyJr / iStock.com
DenisTangneyJr / iStock.com

49. Arkansas

  • Median income: $48,952

  • Top 10% income: $173,941

Top earners in Arkansas do much better than average, earning 255% more than the median income.

Don't Miss: 18 Resolutions To Get Rich in 2021

Sean Pavone / Shutterstock.com
Sean Pavone / Shutterstock.com

48. Alabama

  • Median income: $51,734

  • Top 10% income: $180,469

Alabama, like many states in the South, has a tremendous wealth gap between average earners and the top 10%, who pull down 249% more than the median income.

Know What You Need: This Is the Living Wage You Need in All 50 States

DenisTangneyJr / iStock.com
DenisTangneyJr / iStock.com

47. New Mexico

  • Median income: $51,945

  • Top 10% income: $181,940

The Land of Enchantment doesn't have a very high median income, but earners in the top 10% pull down 250% more than the average earner.

Thomas Kelley / Shutterstock.com
Thomas Kelley / Shutterstock.com

46. Kentucky

  • Median income: $52,295

  • Top 10% income: $183,549

Top earners in the Bluegrass State earn $131,254 more on average than the median earner, amounting to a 251% jump.

Shutterstock.com
Shutterstock.com

45. South Dakota

  • Median income: $59,533

  • Top 10% income: $184,714

The gap between average and top earners in South Dakota is more equitable than in some states, reaching just 210%.

Charles Knowles / Shutterstock.com
Charles Knowles / Shutterstock.com

44. Idaho

  • Median income: $60,999

  • Top 10% income: $188,036

Median earnings in Idaho crack the $60,000 barrier, but top earners net 208% more.

Shutterstock.com
Shutterstock.com

43. Louisiana

  • Median income: $51,073

  • Top 10% income: $190,038

Louisiana has one of the lowest median incomes in the nation, but the top 10% still does quite well. This translates to a relatively large 272% gap between the two.

DenisTangneyJr / iStock.com
DenisTangneyJr / iStock.com

42. Maine

  • Median income: $58,924

  • Top 10% income: $190,606

Relatively speaking, the gap between top 10% earners and median earners isn't huge in Maine, amounting to just 223%.

Find Out: Best Place To Live on a $100,000 Salary in Every State

Lorraine Boogich / Getty Images
Lorraine Boogich / Getty Images

41. Montana

  • Median income: $57,153

  • Top 10% income: $191,819

The top 10% in Big Sky country earn about 3.36 times the median income, an increase of about 236%.

Davel5957 / Getty Images/iStockphoto
Davel5957 / Getty Images/iStockphoto

40. Oklahoma

  • Median income: $54,449

  • Top 10% income: $192,061

If you're in the top 10% of income earners in Oklahoma, you pull down about 253% more than the median income.

Davel5957 / iStock.com
Davel5957 / iStock.com

39. Iowa

  • Median income: $61,691

  • Top 10% income: $192,979

The gap between median and top earners in Iowa isn't as large as in many states, amounting to just 213%.

f11photo / Shutterstock.com
f11photo / Shutterstock.com

38. Indiana

  • Median income: $57,603

  • Top 10% income: $193,279

The top 10% in Indiana earn about $135,000 more than the median annually, or about 236% more.

Charles Knowles / Shutterstock.com
Charles Knowles / Shutterstock.com

37. Missouri

  • Median income: $57,409

  • Top 10% income: $194,185

The gap between top and median earners in Missouri is about average, amounting to $136,776, or 238%.

Davel5957 / Getty Images
Davel5957 / Getty Images

36. Wyoming

  • Median income: $65,003

  • Top 10% income: $196,029

Wyoming has one of the smallest gaps in the nation between its median earners and its top 10%, amounting to just 202%.

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FierceAbin / iStock.com
FierceAbin / iStock.com

35. Wisconsin

  • Median income: $64,168

  • Top 10% income: $197,977

Wisconsin's top 10% earns 209% more than its median earners on average, a relatively benign ratio.

Shutterstock.com
Shutterstock.com

34. Nebraska

  • Median income: $63,229

  • Top 10% income: $197,997

Nebraska's top earners pull down 213% more than its median earners, which is a relatively low gap on a national basis.

Sean Pavone / Getty Images/iStockphoto
Sean Pavone / Getty Images/iStockphoto

33. South Carolina

  • Median income: $56,227

  • Top 10% income: $198,951

To jump from the median income to the top 10% of income earners in South Carolina you'd need to earn an additional 254%.

Ron_Thomas / Getty Images/iStockphoto
Ron_Thomas / Getty Images/iStockphoto

32. Ohio

  • Median income: $58,642

  • Top 10% income: $199,074

If you earn the median income in Ohio and want to jump up to the top 10% of earners, you'll need to raise your salary by 239%.

Sean Pavone / Shutterstock.com
Sean Pavone / Shutterstock.com

31. Tennessee

  • Median income: $56,071

  • Top 10% income: $199,456

The $143,385 difference between median and top 10% earners in Tennessee is fairly large on a percentage basis, amounting to a 256% jump.

Shutterstock.com
Shutterstock.com

30. Vermont

  • Median income: $63,001

  • Top 10% income: $200,816

Median earners in Vermont pull down over $63,000, but the top 10% earns $200,816, amounting to a spread of 219%.

Davel5957 / Getty Images/iStockphoto
Davel5957 / Getty Images/iStockphoto

29. Kansas

  • Median income: $62,087

  • Top 10% income: $200,932

If you're a top 10% earner in Kansas, you're pulling down 224% of what median income workers make.

SolomonCrowe / Getty Images
SolomonCrowe / Getty Images

28. Michigan

  • Median income: $59,584

  • Top 10% income: $201,676

The spread between the median income and the top 10% of earners in Michigan is 238%.

Davel5957 / Getty Images/iStockphoto
Davel5957 / Getty Images/iStockphoto

27. North Carolina

  • Median income: $57,341

  • Top 10% income: $204,129

North Carolina's top 10% of earners outpace its median income by a fairly large 256%.

Shutterstock.com
Shutterstock.com

26. Arizona

  • Median income: $62,055

  • Top 10% income: $209,819

Top-end salaries start heating up in the Valley of the Sun, where the top 10% earns 238% of the median salary.

DenisTangneyJr / Getty Images/iStockphoto
DenisTangneyJr / Getty Images/iStockphoto

25. North Dakota

  • Median income: $64,577

  • Top 10% income: $209,985

The top 10% of earners in North Dakota pull down 225% more than the median wage.

Affordable Locations: Best Places To Live on a $50,000 Salary in Every State

photoquest7 / Getty Images
photoquest7 / Getty Images

24. Oregon

  • Median income: $67,058

  • Top 10% income: $215,026

If you're earning a median income in Oregon, you'll need to pull down about 221% more if you want to crack the top 10%.

Davel5957 / Getty Images/iStockphoto
Davel5957 / Getty Images/iStockphoto

23. Florida

  • Median income: $59,227

  • Top 10% income: $217,456

Florida is the first state in the list with a top 10% earning at least $200,000, a significant 267% above the median income.

artisteer / Getty Images/iStockphoto
artisteer / Getty Images/iStockphoto

22. Nevada

  • Median income: $63,276

  • Top 10% income: $220,208

The Silver State generates a lot of gold for its top 10% earners, who pull down $156,932 more than the state's median earners.

Sean Pavone / Shutterstock.com
Sean Pavone / Shutterstock.com

21. Georgia

  • Median income: $61,980

  • Top 10% income: $222,399

Georgia's top wage earners greatly outpace the state's median wage, with the top 10% earning 259% more on average.

Sean Pavone / Shutterstock.com
Sean Pavone / Shutterstock.com

20. Pennsylvania

  • Median income: $63,463

  • Top 10% income: $223,499

Pennsylvania's gap between the top 10% of wage earners and the median income is fairly high on a national basis, at 252%.

DenisTangneyJr / iStock.com
DenisTangneyJr / iStock.com

19. Delaware

  • Median income: $70,176

  • Top 10% income: $224,894

The gap between the top 10% and the median income in Delaware stands at $154,718, or 220%.

AndreyKrav / iStock.com
AndreyKrav / iStock.com

18. Utah

  • Median income: $75,780

  • Top 10% income: $227,022

Utah has a relatively high median income, and this translates into the lowest gap between top and average wage earners in the country. Utah's top 10% earn just 200% more than the median wage.

Shutterstock.com
Shutterstock.com

17. Texas

  • Median income: $64,034

  • Top 10% income: $228,924

They say everything is bigger in Texas, and it's certainly true when it comes to the gap between the median income and the top 10%, which stands at 258%.

DenisTangneyJr / iStock.com
DenisTangneyJr / iStock.com

16. Rhode Island

  • Median income: $71,169

  • Top 10% income: $228,951

The smallest state in the Union still pays out great wages for both median earners and the top 10%. The gap between the two is smaller than average for the country as a whole, at 222%.

photo.ua / Shutterstock.com
photo.ua / Shutterstock.com

15. Minnesota

  • Median income: $74,593

  • Top 10% income: $233,949

Minnesota's top 10% earns $159,356 more than the median income, a spread of 214%.

Jiri Kulisek / Shutterstock.com
Jiri Kulisek / Shutterstock.com

14. Alaska

  • Median income: $75,463

  • Top 10% income: $234,221

Alaska has the one of the smallest spreads between its top 10% earners and its median income in the entire country, at just 210%. The state's high median income is a main reason why.

DenisTangneyJr / Getty Images/iStockphoto
DenisTangneyJr / Getty Images/iStockphoto

13. New Hampshire

  • Median income: $77,933

  • Top 10% income: $241,891

New Hampshire has a relatively high median income, and that helps keep the gap between its average wage earners and the top 10% to a very modest 210%.

Shutterstock.com
Shutterstock.com

12. Illinois

  • Median income: $69,187

  • Top 10% income: $245,173

The Land of Lincoln has a pretty wide spread between its top 10% and its median income, at 254%.

SergiyN / iStock.com
SergiyN / iStock.com

11. Hawaii

  • Median income: $83,102

  • Top 10% income: $252,492

The Aloha State has one of the tiniest spreads in the nation between its median and top 10% of wage earners, at just 204%.

Boogich / Getty Images
Boogich / Getty Images

10. Colorado

  • Median income: $77,127

  • Top 10% income: $255,114

The thin air of Colorado also seems to contribute to sky-high salaries, with the state's top 10% earning $177,987 more than its median earners, a spread of 231%.

Be Aware: 20 Jobs You’re Most (and Least) Likely To Live Paycheck to Paycheck

RyanCSlimakPhoto / Getty Images/iStockphoto
RyanCSlimakPhoto / Getty Images/iStockphoto

9. Washington

  • Median income: $78,687

  • Top 10% income: $262,118

Washington's top 10% earns more than $183,431 above the state's median wage, a spread of 233%.

SeanPavonePhoto / iStock.com
SeanPavonePhoto / iStock.com

8. Virginia

  • Median income: $76,456

  • Top 10% income: $265,171

Virginia's top 10% of earners enjoy wages a significant 247% above the state's median income.

drnadig / Getty Images
drnadig / Getty Images

7. Maryland

  • Median income: $86,738

  • Top 10% income: $280,115

Maryland has one of the highest median incomes in the nation, but its top 10% still earn 223% more.

FilippoBacci / Getty Images
FilippoBacci / Getty Images

6. New York

  • Median income: $72,108

  • Top 10% income: $291,906

New York has the highest disparity in the nation between its median income and that of its top 10%, at a whopping 305%.

Sean Pavone / Getty Images/iStockphoto
Sean Pavone / Getty Images/iStockphoto

5. California

  • Median income: $80,440

  • Top 10% income: $295,369

California's top 10% earns quite a bit more than its median wage earners. The $214,919 disparity translates to a 267% spread.

Sean Pavone / Shutterstock.com
Sean Pavone / Shutterstock.com

4. Massachusetts

  • Median income: $85,843

  • Top 10% income: $299,188

The disparity between what the top 10% makes versus the median income in Massachusetts stands at 249%.

Shutterstock.com
Shutterstock.com

3. New Jersey

  • Median income: $85,751

  • Top 10% income: $305,190

Wage disparity in the Garden State is fairly high, with the top 10% drawing 256% more than median wage earners.

DenisTangneyJr / iStock.com
DenisTangneyJr / iStock.com

2. Connecticut

  • Median income: $78,833

  • Top 10% income: $306,153

Wages are high in Connecticut, but so is the spread between the top 10% and the median income. At $227,320, that disparity translates to 288%.

Orhan Cam / Shutterstock.com
Orhan Cam / Shutterstock.com

1. District of Columbia

  • Median income: $92,266

  • Top 10% income: $361,695

The top 10% in the District of Columbia make $269,429 more than the average worker. This wage gap -- 292% more than the median salary -- is the largest wage gap in terms of absolute dollars in the country.

More From GOBankingRates

Methodology: GOBankingRates used data from the Bureau of Labor Statistics' 2019 American Community Survey on the mean income in the top quintile (20%) of earners to estimate earnings for the top 10%. GOBankingRates then compared this figure to the overall median household income in the U.S. for context. All data was collected on and up to date as of Nov. 25, 2020.

This article originally appeared on GOBankingRates.com: How Much You Need To Earn To Rank in the Top 10% of Your State