The Richest States in America

Ever wonder how wealthy the people are in your state? Well, we do. So we decided to do a little searching and came up with a list of the states that have the most (and fewest) millionaires. To get these numbers, we used a report from Phoenix Marketing International, which determined the number of millionaire households in each state as a percentage of the total population in that state as of mid–2009. According to Phoenix, a millionaire household is one that has at least $1 million in liquid assets, so real estate does not count. We’ve also included median household income by state which we took from 2008 census numbers, to provide you with a fuller picture of your state’s riches.

We’ll start with the 10 states that have the most millionaires and then list the 10 states that have the fewest.

Has the United States Lost Its Upper Class?

We hear a lot about the endangered middle class, and rightly so. But the report by Phoenix provides some evidence that the upper class is suffering too. In 2009, there were a total of 5,139,385 millionaire households. In other words, 4.46% of all households in the country were millionaires. That’s certainly nothing to sneeze at, but it represents a significant decline. In 2008, there were 5,607,989 millionaires and the year before that there were 5,970,929. That means the recession has claimed nearly a million millionaires. Although one recent survey of 3,000 households claimed this trend may be reversing this year.

On to the millionaires… we’ll start with the states with the most (and the nation’s capitol is included here too).

10th Most Millionaires: D.C.

We know that strictly speaking D.C. isn’t a “state,” but they’ve definitely got their fair share of millionaires. Five percent of the households in the U.S. Capitol are millionaires. In fact, three of the richest counties in the U.S. as of last year were suburbs of D.C. In a thoughtful piece trying to explain this, Reason.com pinned this wealth on the large salaries that federal employees and lobbyists earn.

Total number of millionaire households: 13,028

Percent of population that are millionaires: 5.0%

Median household income: $58,553

9th Most Millionaires: California

California may be in the midst if a serious financial crisis, but it still has a tons of millionaires… 662,735 to be exact. That’s by far the most in the country by number, but there are a ton of people in California, so it’s only in 9th place relative to the total population.

Total number of millionaire households: 662,735

Percent of population that are millionaires: 5.28%

Median household income: $61,017

8th Most Millionaires: New Hampshire

New Hampshire has more than 27,000 millionaire households, and I can only hope all of them are as interesting as Jason Sanderson, a pro–wrestler, priest and winner of a multi–million dollar jackpot.

Total number of millionaire households: 27,562

Percentage of population that are millionaires: 5.34%

Median household income: $63,235

7th Most Millionaires: Alaska

Sarah Palin isn’t the only millionaire in Alaska, there are more than 13,000 others. It probably doesn’t hurt that there’s a lot of oil money flowing through the state.

Total number of millionaire households: 13,348

Percent of population that are millionaires: 5.39%

Median household income: $67,332

6th Most Millionaires: Massachusetts

Just because there are a ton of millionaires in this state doesn’t mean it’s an easy place to be a millionaire. One report from a couple years ago argued that there were billions of dollars in back taxes owed in this state, and much of was from wealthy households that skimped on their tax returns.

Total number of millionaire households: 137,792

Percent of population that are millionaires: 5.5%

Median household income: $65,304

5th Most Millionaires: Virginia

There are more than 150,000 millionaire households in this state, many of which probably make their money for the same reasons that those in D.C. do. So it’s only fitting that the citizens have plenty of millionaires running their state government. Virginia’s rank may actually increase in the future as millionaires from neighboring states (which will be revealed later on the list) flock here to avoid higher taxes.

Total number of millionaire households: 166,596

Percent of population that are millionaires: 5.51%

Median household income: $61,210

4th Most Millionaires: Connecticut

If you’ve ever passed through Greenwich, Connecticut, it shouldn’t surprise you too much to see this state on the list. But who knows if Connecticut’s millions will be there for much longer. Late last year, Connecticut approved a new spending plan that increases taxes on the wealthiest citizens. It’s not a millionaire’s tax, per say, since the highest tax rate (6.5%) is applied to anyone who makes $500,000 or more, but the effect is the same.

Total number of millionaire households: 82,837

Percent of population that are millionaires: 6.15%

Median household income: $68,294

3rd Most Millionaires: New Jersey

There are nearly 200,000 millionaire households in this state, or 6.22% of the population, earning it a spot in the top three on our list. In 2007, New Jersey actually had the top spot with 228,442 millionaire households, but apparently some have left for other shores. Part of the problem may be New Jersey’s higher tax rate. Like Connecticut, New Jersey increased the taxes for anyone earning $500,000 or more to 8.97% (it was originally 6.37%).

However, New Jersey millionaires do have at least one thing to be thankful for (besides being rich, that is). Their state also has one of the lowest divorce rates in the country, as we recently reported.

Total number of millionaire households: 197,694

Percent of population that are millionaires: 6.22%

Median household income: $70,347

2nd Most Millionaires: Maryland

There may be nearly 150,000 millionaire households in this state, but that number will definitely go down in the next year. As we mentioned earlier, Maryland pioneered a millionaire tax back in 2008, and as a result, many of its richer citizens seem to have fled to states like Virginia. According to the Wall Street Journal, between 2008 and 2009, the number of “million–dollar income tax returns” declined by a third. Either they are crossing state lines or just hiding out somewhere.

Total number of millionaire households: 133,299

Percent of population that are millionaires: 6.26%

Median household income: $70,482

The Most Millionaires: Hawaii

There may only be some 28,000 millionaire households in this state, but when you consider that there are less than half a million Hawaiian households in total, that number starts to seem a lot bigger. So if you’re ever vacationing in Hawaii and are a little short on money to pay a bill, don’t worry, there’s a good chance you should be able to find someone there who could pick up the check.

Of course, in all seriousness, it’s no paradise being rich in Hawaii. The state is known for having a high cost of living and last year they enacted a steep 11% income tax on anyone making more than $200,000. And yet, even with that added tax, Hawaii is still facing a severe budget crisis and there’s no doubt that the poorer Hawaiians probably wish these millionaires would do even more to help.

Total number of millionaire households: 28,363

Percent of population that are millionaires: 6.41

Median household income: $66,701

Posted in Finance, Real Estate.

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