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How much you need take home to be in the top 1 percent of earners in each state

The 1% club: How much you need to take home to be in the top percent of earners in each state

  • Researchers found out how much you would need to earn to count yourself among top 1 per cent in each state
  • Lowest was Mississippi, where a salary of just over $250,000 was enough to join the exclusive club 
  • Highest was Connecticut where you would need to earn $700,000 to be counted among the state’s richest 
  • Study by the Economic Policy Institute revealed huge discrepancies in wealth even among the wealthiest

The top 1 per cent – it is a phrase you hear a lot, especially since politicians like Bernie Sanders began repeating it at rallies. But what does being in the exclusive club actually look like?

Researchers from the Economic Policy Institute found out the minimum a person would have to earn to count themselves among the top percent in each state, and uncovered a discrepancy even among the very richest.

Mississippi is where the bar to entry drops lowest, with someone having to earn just over $250,000 per year to qualify as among the most valuable in the state.

A map showing the discrepancy of wealth among the very richest in America. Blue and green states show where the bar to entering the 1 per cent club is lowest, while those in yellow and red show where you have to earn the most to enter

But in Connecticut, that salary is nowhere near the top end of the scale, with people here having to earn at least $700,000 each year to count themselves among the very richest.

The study also established what the average actual salary of the top 1 per cent was in each state.

Unsurprisingly Connecticut comes out on top again, with an average salary of $2.5million but coming in second was New York with an average of $2.2million.

That is despite the fact that New York has a minimum salary of $500,000 to join the 1 per cent club, meaning a huge discrepancy between wages paid to the very top earners.

Perhaps surprisingly, given the amount of wealth concentrated in the state, California did not rank in the top five either in terms of salary required to join the 1 per cent club, or average 1 percenter salary.

In its research, the EPI singled out Jackson, WY as the most unequal location in the entire country. The data was complied using tax returns from 2015.

Taken across the whole of America, you need to earn a salary of $421,926 to count yourself among the top 1 per cent, while the bottom 99 per cent earned an average of $50,107 per year.

An EPI spokesman told CNBC: ‘In 2015, the top 1 per cent of families in the U.S. earned, on average, 26.3 times as much income as the bottom 99 per cent.’ 

The richest of the rich: What does it mean to be among the wealthiest of Americans in each state? 
State Annual income required to be in the top 1 percent ($) Average annual income of the top 1 percent ($)
MISSISSIPPI 254,362 580,461
ARKANSAS 255,050 864,772
NEW MEXICO 255,429 615,082
WEST VIRGINIA 258,078 535,648
KENTUCKY 274,818 719,012
ALABAMA 297,564 743,644
MAINE 303,897 655,870
HAWAII 310,566 797,001
IDAHO 314,532 829,268
INDIANA 316,756 804,275
LOUISIANA 318,393 814,386
SOUTH CAROLINA 318,463 761,185
MONTANA 321,849 855,976
VERMONT 321,969 816,579
MISSOURI 326,839 944,804
MICHIGAN 328,649 917,701
ARIZONA 331,074 882,657
IOWA 331,572 788,419
TENNESSEE 332,913 947,021
OKLAHOMA 333,139 932,520
OHIO 334,979 858,965
DELAWARE 340,770 869,461
NEVADA 341,335 1,354,780
NORTH CAROLINA 343,066 902,972
RHODE ISLAND 346,657 928,204
WISCONSIN 349,905 964,358
OREGON 358,937 908,898
NEBRASKA 363,310 945,869
GEORGIA 371,811 995,576
UTAH 374,467 1,057,066
KANSAS 375,344 1,034,676
PENNSYLVANIA 388,593 1,100,962
ALASKA 400,017 910,059
NEW HAMPSHIRE 405,286 1,134,101
WYOMING 405,596 1,900,659
SOUTH DAKOTA 407,406 1,130,048
FLORIDA 417,587 1,543,124
VIRGINIA 425,144 1,109,984
TEXAS 440,758 1,343,897
MINNESOTA 443,118 1,185,581
NORTH DAKOTA 445,415 1,080,845
MARYLAND 445,783 1,135,718
WASHINGTON 451,395 1,383,223
ILLINOIS 456,377 1,412,024
COLORADO 458,576 1,261,053
CALIFORNIA 514,694 1,693,094
NEW YORK 550,174 2,202,480
MASSACHUSETTS 582,774 1,904,805
NEW JERSEY 588,575 1,581,829
DISTRICT OF COLUMBIA 598,155 1,858,878
CONNECTICUT 700,800 2,522,806

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