Mapping The Highest And Lowest Incomes Of America's City Slickers

Tyler Durden's picture

All throughout history, people have gone to cities to take advantage of the wealth and business. We wanted to know which metropolitan areas offered the best opportunities for Americans, so we looked at data for all 382 metros.

Want to know where to make the most money? The following map from shows just where...


This map shows the median household income of metropolitan populations. Measuring the median makes it a good standard for “normal people.”

High Incomes in the Usual Places

The green spots on this map indicate areas with the highest median household income, and they often appear in predictable places. San Francisco. Washington DC. The Northeast.

As we’ve established with other visualizations (like this one), certain regional economies just have more money in them. That means higher incomes.

Of course, other areas have high median incomes too. The Pacific Northwest has pockets of wealth, as do Hawaii and Alaska. Denver, Salt Lake City, and the Twin Cities also support respectable incomes.

Top 5 Highest Median Household Incomes in America

  • San Jose-Sunnyvale-Santa Clara (CA) | $110,040
  • San Francisco-Oakland-Hayward (CA) | $96,677
  • Washington-Arlington-Alexandria (VA) | $95,843
  • Bridgeport-Stamford-Norwalk (CT) | $90,123
  • Boston-Cambridge-Newton (MA) | $82,380

The Low-Income South

The Industrial Revolution created a major economic division between the northern and southern states. While the South stayed agrarian, the North adopted a booming manufacturing economy.

That division remains.

A quick glance at the map reveals consistently low incomes across the entire South. Households in Arkansas, Louisiana, Alabama, and Mississippi are in particularly bad shape. These states don’t have a single metro area with median household income over $59,000 per year. They haven’t recovered from the Great Recession either, which probably doesn’t help matters.

If you’re looking to leave rural America for a prosperous life in the city, avoid southern Texas. Down there, you’ll find a cluster of metro areas with teeny, tiny median household incomes.

Bottom 5 Highest Median Household Incomes in America

  • Laredo (TX) | $35,659
  • McAllen-Edinburg-Mission (TX)| $36,176
  • Grants Pass (OR) | $36,472
  • Sebring (FL) | $36,490
  • Brownsville-Harlingen (TX) | $37,061

Three of them are found on Texas’ southern tip.

Fortune seekers with their heart set on Texas should stick to the big cities. They would have much better chances of securing higher incomes in the Austin-Round Rock ($71,000), Midland ($65,224), or Dallas-Fort Worth ($63,812) metro areas.

A Silver Lining

Although we all want a higher income, it’s important to remember this: income and cost of living go hand in hand. As your income rises, so do expenses. That means a high income can have low spending power while a low income doesn’t always prevent you from buying a home or saving money.

How much spending power does your income have? Try the True Cost of Living Tool to find out.


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junction's picture

Talking about cities, let's talk about New York City' rich people. Amanda Burden, Charlie Rose’s girlfriend, ran the City Planning Commission under NYC Mayor Bloomberg for 12 years, where she up zoned everything and made a mockery of the city’s zoning ordinances. Bloomberg and his real estate developer friends made billions off Amanda’s up zoning decisions, where she often overruled local planning boards to shoebox in one more mid-block 50 story building.  To show you how crooked the New York City press is, notice the total silence concerning Carter Burden, who was at one time married to Amanda Burden.  Carter Burden’s career in politics flamed out after he ran for New York City Council President in 1978 and lost, even with the New York Times being part of his cheering section.  Back then, Burden reputation of running around with teeny boppers didn’t hurt him.  The thieves around Mayor Ed Koch joked in 1977 that there was a movie out about Burden, “Close Encounters Of The Third Grade.”  Sexual perverts back then and now were okay as long as they were part of the ruling class.   

Gap Admirer's picture

Just look at all of that money flooding into D.C.  and surrounding areas.  All those "poor" federal gubmint employees barely getting by.  They were called civil servants many decades ago because they were there to serve the people, not making YUGE money.  LOL!  Now the people serve them.

stacking12321's picture (the author) botched it, they need to take some lessons from visualcapitalist

honolulu and anchorage are at $80k and are shown in pink, but should be green

the map legend says pink is for $40k


Fester's picture

Hey dude, this is a family website.


Chill on the porn.

True Blue's picture

He's just a troll. Bet its the same IP and MAC id as that daily western jackass too.

house biscuit's picture

Yeh, I'd much rather have the usual smattering of bible verses, casual racism, song lyrics & hollow bravado...

HRClinton's picture

A bit of skin or nudity is not porn, Puritan! You've seen one beaver, you've seen them all. Big whoop.

My objection is that. ..

A. He's a Troll and 

B. That site tries to put malate on your PC -- as to all the Dann porn sites. 

XBroker1's picture

I wouldn't say cheap. Depends on the country I guess.

house biscuit's picture

If I never saw another tattoo on a female again, it would still be a day too soon

Plus she wasn't being stretched out- so what's the point

Kefeer's picture

Affirmative action is entrenched within the federal government; it is a welfare state where no less than 1/3 of the employees literally create more work for the top 1/3 to do, the middle 1/3 do enough to "break even" (pick any agency).  You could literally fire a third of the Federal workforce and have a more efficient workforce.

hxc's picture

Tillerson literally did that to the State Dept... Hillary's State Dept... still the retarded side of the right hates him

Pernicious Gold Phallusy's picture

We could fire 2.99/3 of the Federal work force and have a far more productive economy.

G-R-U-N-T's picture

Not for long, once public pensions collapse, States, municipalities, county, even the Fed government employee's 'survival rate' for most, if not all, 'drops to ZERO'!

Just another residual effect of braindead politicians making promises for votes they knew they couldn't keep!

Pernicious Gold Phallusy's picture

They will hunt us down, kill us and take the gold from our teeth before they decrease public pension payouts.

MonetaryApostate's picture

Mexico is just like America, they print infinite fiat / fake cash there too, & the gov has everyone globally working for fake money.

XBroker1's picture

Back then? Nothing has changed. They still are.

Justin Case's picture

Like to see where the unions are on the same map.LOL. Gov't has done well getting rid of the resistance to lower pay.

IPlayNaked's picture

But everything is dirt cheap in southern Texas... compare to up here in Toronto. I went down there and I see that on 40k salary you can live much better than in Toronto for 55-60k.

buzzardsluck's picture

You really don't want to live on the rio grande border  no matter how cheap it might seem (its not considering all factors of life).


I'm suprised to see the 4 corner part of NM highlighted.

XBroker1's picture

That's what makes middle TN a good place to retire. Beef & gasoline (and veggies, but who eats those) are dirt cheap in spite of having the highest sales tax in the nation.

ebworthen's picture

I think this means I need to retire in a gray area.

MonetaryApostate's picture

Hyper infation will kill all retirement money dead, it's how the money printers rob savers...  Enjoy your $20 Big Mac soy burger.

aldousd's picture

If anchorage is really that high, then the map is colored incorrectly.

True Blue's picture

Cost of living eats it all.

Lost in translation's picture

Cities are useless, worthless drags on the production of a nation.

All they EVER do is eat, drink, consume, poop, piss, make (way too many) babies, and generate mountains of trash.

Cities quite literally devour a nation’s wealth and abundance, and offer only intellectual (as well as literal) excrement, in return.

To wit: Los Angeles, Chicago, New York, San Francisco, Seattle, Denver, St. Louis, Miami...

trader1's picture

cities keep suppliers happy, until they breakdown.

house biscuit's picture

True, true, but cities are also the best place to get fucked up & find sex, so I like to think it balances out...

SilvaDolla's picture

Oh, what I wouldn’t give to make the ‘median’ income of $40-$49k like this chart says.

What I wouldn’t give to be spat at in the face by the Romans.

I have a vewey gwate fwiend in Wome named ‘Biggus Dickus’!

He has a wife you know....

trader1's picture

these figures are meaningless without considering the cost of living for those areas.

moonmac's picture

Homelessness in America not seen since the Great Depression. Another reason for us to be thankful our asset values have risen.

Rally On!

JibjeResearch's picture

The image proves that it's not about your liberal/conservative bullshit.  It's about business libertarian.

If you have a business that buy low and sell high, you will be rich.

So STFU and start farming raccoon, possim, dog, horse, and asian carps.

Let the market decides.