Average US Salary by State

By Jacqueline DeMarco · March 28, 2024 · 6 minute read

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Average US Salary by State

The average salary in the U.S. is $63,795, according to the latest data from the Social Security Administration. How your salary compares will depend on your industry and skilI set, as you’d expect. What you might not realize is that your salary is also greatly influenced by where you live, since salaries go hand in hand with the cost of living.

Let’s take a closer look at the average salary in the U.S. and how income varies from state to state.

Key Points

•   The average salary in the US varies depending on factors like occupation, location, and experience.

•   As of 2021, the median household income in the US was around $67,500.

•   High-paying occupations include healthcare, technology, finance, and engineering.

•   The cost of living and regional differences can impact salary levels across the country.

•   It’s important to research salary ranges for specific occupations and locations when considering job opportunities.

What Is the Average US Salary (2024)

The national average salary is $63,795. That is the sum of all incomes divided by the number of workers. Where someone lives, their industry, education level, and current demand for that job all contribute to how much a worker earns per year.


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Average Salary vs Median Salary: What’s the Difference?

The Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) provides data on median pay. As of Q4 2023, the median weekly earnings of full-time workers was $1,145, or $59,384 per year. The median is the midpoint in the data set, with 50% of incomes falling above that figure, and 50% below.

Why are the average and median income figures different? With averages, unusually high or low numbers can skew the results. For instance, billionaires might drive the average higher than what the typical worker actually makes. The median is less affected by outliers.

US Average and Median Salary by State in 2024

The following chart shows both the average and median income (in single income households) in each state, according to data from Forbes and BLS.

State

Average

Median

Alabama $50,620 $57,564
Alaska $66,130 $66,820
Arizona $58,620 $65,780
Arkansas $48,570 $53,716
California $73,220 $84,448
Colorado $67,870 $74,152
Connecticut $69,310 $78,572
Delaware $62,260 $64,896
Florida $55,980 $64,168
Georgia $58,000 $64,844
Hawaii $61,420 $62,296
Idaho $51,350 $53,976
Illinois $63,930 $70,564
Indiana $53,500 $57,304
Iowa $53,520 $56,264
Kansas $52,850 $51,978
Kentucky $51,490 $57,200
Louisiana $50,940 $56,836
Maine $55,960 $58,396
Maryland $69,750 $72,904
Massachusetts $76,600 $86,840
Michigan $58,000 $63,440
Minnesota $63,640 $63,380
Mississippi $45,180 $48,048
Missouri $54,520 $59,800
Montana $52,200 $55,744
Nebraska $55,070 $56,784
Nevada $55,490 $61,828
New Hampshire $62,550 $72,124
New Jersey $70,890 $76,128
New Mexico $54,400 $57,564
New York $74,870 $84,292
North Carolina $56,220 $62,296
North Dakota $55,800 $61,568
Ohio $56,530 $60,320
Oklahoma $50,940 $54,704
Oregon $62,680 $66,612
Pennsylvania $58,470 $66,404
Rhode Island $64,530 $63,492
South Carolina $50,650 $56,108
South Dakota $49,890 $53,820
Tennessee $52,820 $62,140
Texas $57,300 $68,744
Utah $57,360 $61,516
Vermont $59,190 $61,100
Virginia $65,590 $71,292
Washington $72,350 $85,748
West Virginia $49,170 $55,900
Wisconsin $56,120 $58,552
Wyoming $54,440 $56,992

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Why Do States Have Different Average Salaries?

The chart shows that the average salary in some states is quite different from the average salary nationwide. That’s partly because the cost of living, which affects how much a company pays its employees, varies significantly by state. (Also, inflation impacts states to varying degrees.)

In addition, industries with a concentrated presence in certain states — such as banking or automobile manufacturing — can affect the overall quality of job opportunities in that area.

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Which Regions Pay the Most?

Salaries tend to be higher in some areas of the country. Cities on the West Coast and in the Northeast have some of the highest average salaries:

•   Massachusetts

•   New York

•   Washington

•   California

•   New Jersey

•   Connecticut

•   Maryland

Remember, while these states have higher incomes, they may also have a much higher cost of living and higher housing prices.

Recommended: 25 Highest-Paying Jobs in the US

Which Regions Pay the Least?

The South is home to states that tend to pay the least:

•   South Carolina

•   Kentucky

•   Louisiana

•   Alabama

•   Arkansas

•   West Virginia

•   Mississippi

To determine what your personal cost of living is, try tracking your expenses with a free budget app for a few months.

Should You Move to Make More Money?

It’s important to remember that just because a state has a higher average salary, that doesn’t mean it’s more profitable for workers to live there. Higher salaries tend to correlate with a higher cost of living.

Before making a major move, first try living below your means. One reason that people who make more money still have trouble paying their bills is the phenomenon of lifestyle creep. This is when your so-called needs expand to consume your current salary.

One of the most effective ways to counteract lifestyle creep is to downsize your home. Reducing your housing expenses to less than 30% of your gross income can help you pay down debt, increase savings, and become more conscious of how lifestyle choices affect spending.


💡 Quick Tip: Income, expenses, and life circumstances can change. Consider reviewing your budget a few times a year and making any adjustments if needed.

The Takeaway

The average annual average salary in the U.S. is $63,795. The median annual salary, which is often less skewed by outlying numbers, is $59,384. It’s worth noting that average and median salaries vary quite a bit by state. States in the Northeast and on the West Coast tend to pay higher salaries, while those in the South often pay less. What’s stopping people from moving to a higher paying state? Often, it’s housing prices, which rise along with the cost of living in “richer” states.

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FAQ

How much do the top 10% of Americans make per year?

The top 10% of Americans earn $173,176 per year. Some top earners live in higher cost of living areas, so it can be more revealing to see how much the top 10% earn in your state.

What percentage of Americans make over $75K?

Only 12.3% of Americans make in the $75,000 to $99,999 range. An additional 16.4% make between $100,000 and $149,000. However, a large portion of Americans (16.2%) earn in the $50,000 to $74,999 range.

Which U.S. state has the highest salary?

Massachusetts is the state with the highest annual income of $76,600. This salary is significantly more than the national average salary of $63,795.


Photo credit: iStock/artpipi

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