Richest and poorest states

I thought it might be interesting to look at America’s three richest states, and three poorest states.  Here are the top three in real income per household in 2013 (adjusted for cost of living differences between states).  Income from this source, cost of living from here:

1.  New Hampshire   $67,158

2.  Virginia   $65,523

3.  Utah     $65,049

And now I’ll list the three poorest states, in terms of real income per capita in 2012, again adjusted for cost of living differences:

1.  Utah   $34,580

2.  Idaho   $34,818

3.  Arizona   $34,905

Notice anything odd?  BTW, which three American states have lots of Mormons?

And people ask why I don’t care about income inequality.

PS.  Mississippi?  Eighth poorest, beating even Hawaii.





13 Responses to “Richest and poorest states”

  1. Gravatar of Professor74 Professor74
    21. February 2015 at 18:29

    what happened in Utah between 2012 and 2013 that led them from top 3 to bottom 3?

  2. Gravatar of Ben Y Ben Y
    21. February 2015 at 19:14

    So, Scott Sumner doesn’t care about Mormons.

    Seriously, Mention something about large families. Otherwise, you WILL be misunderstood, badly.

  3. Gravatar of Major.Freedom Major.Freedom
    21. February 2015 at 19:24

    Productivity-based income inequality? OK, sure.

    But a monetarist saying he doesn’t care about income inequality? That’s like a politician saying he doesn’t care about taxation.

    Even central bankers admit “monetary policy” increases income inequality:

  4. Gravatar of ssumner ssumner
    21. February 2015 at 20:01

    Professor, Nothing happened, one is income per household, and the other is income per person. Mormons have big families. So Mormons are both rich and poor, depending on how you want to look at it.

    Ben, Some of my best friends are Mormons.

  5. Gravatar of ssumner ssumner
    21. February 2015 at 20:02

    Ben, I should add that I wanted to see if commenters could figure it out, that’s why I didn’t say more.

  6. Gravatar of Benjamin Cole Benjamin Cole
    22. February 2015 at 04:42

    I don’t care (too much) about income equality either. As long as they are lots of jobs, and chronic “worker shortages.”

  7. Gravatar of AT Natenshon AT Natenshon
    22. February 2015 at 07:23

    can you post the two tables it would be interesting to see the full rankings

  8. Gravatar of TravisV TravisV
    22. February 2015 at 09:53

    Larry Summers said the following:

    “One of the puzzles of our economy today is that on the one hand, we have record low real interest rates, that are expected to be record low for 30 years if you look at the index bond market. And on the other hand, we have record high profits. And you tend to think record high profits would mean record high returns to capital, would also mean really high interest rates. And what we actually have is really low real interest rates. The way to think about that is there’s a lot of rents in what we’re calling profits that don’t really represent a return to investment, but represent a rent…..”

    The flaw in Summers’s analysis is that, while profit margins are high, EXPECTED GROWTH in future profits is ultra-low, correct?

  9. Gravatar of Morgan Warstler Morgan Warstler
    22. February 2015 at 10:38


    I wrote on that Konczal’s post about Summers:

  10. Gravatar of Mike Rulle Mike Rulle
    22. February 2015 at 14:14

    The Morman “paradox” was obvious.Re:Summers,if “rents” are so high, why does that not also invite more rent seekers? How does one measure rent seeking? One man’s capitalist is another man’s rent seeker.

  11. Gravatar of Floccina Floccina
    22. February 2015 at 17:19

    Boy, I had to read it 4 times.

  12. Gravatar of Scott Sumner Scott Sumner
    23. February 2015 at 10:14

    AT, One table is in one of the links, the other doesn’t exist. I calculated it for those three states from the data in the two tables.

    TravisV, Perhaps what he is calling “rents” is the return on intellectual capital investments. Thus Microsoft and Google making big profits doesn’t draw new firms in, because entry is very difficult.

  13. Gravatar of Graph of The Day | Against Jebel al-Lawz Graph of The Day | Against Jebel al-Lawz
    3. March 2015 at 17:47

    […] Sumner made a similar point about the importance of age structure just as elegantly a few weeks […]

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