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 four times the median income to crack the top 10%. In other states, like Alaska, top 10% incomes are less than three times as large as median salaries.
To help highlight the disparities, GOBankingRates analyzed U.S. Census Bureau data from the 2018 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.
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: Nov. 11, 2020
51. West Virginia
Median income: $44,921
Top 10% income: $152,331
In West Virginia, the top 10% earns 239.1% — or $107,410 — more than the median income.
Median income: $43,567
Top 10% income: $153,749
Mississippi has the lowest median income in America, but the wealthy still do well on a relative basis, earning 252.9% more than the average earner.
Median income: $45,726
Top 10% income: $164,428
Top earners in Arkansas do much better than average, earning 259.6% more than the median income.
48. New Mexico
Median income: $48,059
Top 10% income: $169,372
The Land of Enchantment doesn’t have a very high median income, but earners in the top 10% pull down 252.4% more than the average earner.
Median income: $48,392
Top 10% income: $170,704
Top earners in the Bluegrass State earn about $122,000 more on average than the median earner, amounting to a 252.8% jump.
Median income: $48,486
Top 10% income: $171,420
Alabama, like many states in the South, has a tremendous wealth gap between average earners and the top 10%, who pull down 253.5% more than the median income.
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Median income: $53,089
Top 10% income: $172,350
Median earnings in Idaho crack the $50,000 barrier, but top earners net 224.6% more.
Median income: $54,325
Top 10% income: $174,949
The top 10% in Indiana earn about $120,000 more than the median annually, or about 222% more.
Median income: $52,559
Top 10% income: $176,049
The top 10% in Big Sky country earn about 3.3 times the median income, an increase of about 235%.
Median income: $51,424
Top 10% income: $176,435
If you’re in the top 10% of income earners in Oklahoma, you pull down about 243% more than the median income.
41. South Carolina
Median income: $51,015
Top 10% income: $177,382
To jump from the median income to the top 10% of income earners in South Carolina you’d need to earn an additional 247.7%.
40. South Dakota
Median income: $56,499
Top 10% income: $178,089
The gap between average and top earners in South Dakota is more equitable than in some states, reaching just 215.2%.
Median income: $55,425
Top 10% income: $178,477
Relatively speaking, the gap between top 10% earners and median earners isn’t huge in Maine, amounting to just 222%.
Median income: $47,942
Top 10% income: $179,163
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 273.7% gap between the two.
Median income: $58,580
Top 10% income: $182,027
The gap between median and top earners in Iowa isn’t as large as in many states, amounting to just 210.7%.
Median income: $53,560
Top 10% income: $182,811
The gap between top and median earners in Missouri is about average, amounting to $129,251, or 241.3%.
Median income: $50,972
Top 10% income: $183,902
The $132,930 difference between median and top 10% earners in Tennessee is fairly large on a percentage basis, amounting to a 260.8% jump.
Median income: $54,533
Top 10% income: $184,863
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%.
Median income: $59,116
Top 10% income: $185,877
Nebraska’s top earners pull down 214.4% more than its median earners, which is a relatively low gap on a national basis.
Median income: $62,268
Top 10% income: $186,335
Wyoming has one of the smallest gaps in the nation between its median earners and its top 10%, amounting to just 199.2%.
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Median income: $59,209
Top 10% income: $187,793
Wisconsin’s top 10% earns 217.2% more than its median earners on average, a relatively benign ratio.
Median income: $54,938
Top 10% income: $188,792
The spread between the median income and the top 10% of earners in Michigan is 243.6%.
29. North Carolina
Median income: $52,413
Top 10% income: $188,918
North Carolina’s top 10% of earners outpace its median income by a fairly large 260.4%.
Median income: $60,076
Top 10% income: $189,420
Median earners in Vermont pull down over $60,000, but the top 10% earns $129,344, amounting to a spread of 215.3%.
Median income: $57,598
Top 10% income: $190,962
The Silver State generates a lot of gold for its top 10% earners, who pull down $133,364 more than the state’s median earners, a gain of 231.5%.
Median income: $57,422
Top 10% income: $192,008
If you’re a top 10% earner in Kansas, you’re pulling down 234.4% of what median income workers make.
Median income: $56,213
Top 10% income: $194,420
Top-end salaries start heating up in the Valley of the Sun, where the top 10% earns 245.9% of the median salary.
Median income: $59,393
Top 10% income: $198,794
If you’re earning a median income in Oregon, you’ll need to pull down about 234.7% more if you want to crack the top 10%.
Median income: $53,267
Top 10% income: $200,408
Florida is the first state in the list with a top 10% earning at least $200,000, a significant 276.2% above the median income.
Median income: $55,679
Top 10% income: $202,458
Georgia’s top wage earners greatly outpace the state’s median wage, with the top 10% earning 263.6% more on average.
Median income: $68,374
Top 10% income: $204,295
Utah has a relatively high median income, and this translates into one of the lowest gaps between top and average wage earners in the country. Utah’s top 10% earn just 198.8% more than the median wage.
Median income: $59,445
Top 10% income: $205,775
Pennsylvania’s gap between the top 10% of wage earners and the median income is fairly high on a national basis, at 246.2%.
19. North Dakota
Median income: $63,473
Top 10% income: $206,959
The top 10% of earners in North Dakota pull down 226% more than the median wage.
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Median income: $65,627
Top 10% income: $213,499
The gap between the top 10% and the median income in Delaware stands at $147,872, or 225.3%.
17. Rhode Island
Median income: $63,296
Top 10% income: $215,077
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 about average for the country as a whole, at 239.8%.
Median income: $59,570
Top 10% income: $216,850
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 264%.
Median income: $68,411
Top 10% income: $221,515
Minnesota’s top 10% earns $153,104 more than the median income, a spread of 223.8%.
Median income: $76,715
Top 10% income: $223,072
Alaska has the smallest spread between its top 10% earners and its median income in the entire country, at just 190.8%. The state’s high median income is a main reason why.
Median income: $63,575
Top 10% income: $228,305
The Land of Lincoln has a pretty wide spread between its top 10% and its median income, at 259.1%.
12. New Hampshire
Median income: $74,057
Top 10% income: $228,783
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 208.9%.
Median income: $68,811
Top 10% income: $228,845
The thin air of Colorado also seems to contribute to sky-high salaries, with the state’s top 10% earning $160,034 more than its median earners, a spread of 232.6%.
Median income: $70,116
Top 10% income: $231,623
Washington’s top 10% earns more than $160,000 above the state’s median wage, a spread of 230.3%.
Median income: $78,084
Top 10% income: $237,510
The Aloha State has one of the tiniest spreads in the nation between its median and top 10% of wage earners, at just 204.2%.
Median income: $71,564
Top 10% income: $246,483
Virginia’s top 10% of earners enjoy wages a significant 244.4% above the state’s median income.
Median income: $81,868
Top 10% income: $261,559
Maryland has one of the highest median incomes in the nation, but its top 10% still earn 219.5% more.
6. New York
Median income: $65,323
Top 10% income: $264,181
New York has one of the highest disparities in the nation between its median income and that of its top 10%, at a whopping 304.4%.
Median income: $71,228
Top 10% income: $264,593
California’s top 10% earns quite a bit more than its median wage earners. The $193,365 disparity translates to a 271.5% spread.
Median income: $77,378
Top 10% income: $273,072
The disparity between what the top 10% makes versus the median income in Massachusetts stands at 252.9%.
3. New Jersey
Median income: $79,363
Top 10% income: $282,085
Wage disparity in the Garden State is fairly high, with the top 10% drawing 255.4% more than median wage earners.
Median income: $76,106
Top 10% income: $289,818
Wages are high in Connecticut, but so is the spread between the top 10% and the median income. At $213,712, that disparity translates to 280.8%.
1. District of Columbia
Median income: $82,604
Top 10% income: $334,441
The top 10% in the District of Columbia make $251,837 more than the average worker. This wage gap — 304.9% more than the median salary — is the largest in the country.
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Methodology: GOBankingRates determined the income needed to be among the top 10% of earners in each state by analyzing U.S. Census Bureau data from the 2018 American Community Survey, including quintile mean income (quintile means fifths aka 20% intervals), quintile income lower-limits and median income. All data was collected on and up to date as of Aug. 3, 2020.
This article originally appeared on GOBankingRates.com: How Much You Need To Earn To Rank in the Top 10% of Your State