Median income varies from generation to generation, as well as from state to state, a new study showed. But the age group with the highest median income might surprise you.
The study, published by Scholaroo, shows the median income for age groups ranging from 18 to over 65, in each state across the country. So, if you’re interested in knowing how you compare, based on your age and where you live, keep reading.
Highest median income in the U.S.
So, who has the highest overall income? That would be Gen X. According to the data, Gen X has the highest median incomes in the country. And according to Statistica, in 2022, 45-54 year-olds also had the highest U.S. median household income by age — $101,500.
More specifically, Gen Xers in Maryland were determined to have the highest median income out of any age group or state on the list. The median income for individuals aged 45 to 64 living in Maryland was found to be $119,307.
So why Gen X, and why Maryland? Scholaroo tells Kiplinger: “Based on research that Scholaroo has conducted, Maryland is the second state with the most job opportunities in the country. It is also one of the most educated states, which could be attributed to a significant reason why jobs in Maryland are better paid than in other states in the country. On the other hand, it is one of the most expensive places to live in the U.S., so incomes have to be balanced accordingly.”
According to RentCafe, the cost of living in Maryland is 22% higher than the national average, and the cost of housing is 54% higher than the national average.
One state in particular stood out among millennials — Massachusetts. Massachusetts was found to have the highest median income for millennials across the country — $108,536.
"The state is one of the most expensive to live in, but it also has one of the highest millennial labor participation rates and job opportunities, Scholaroo tells Kipligner. "Massachusetts also has one of the highest median student loan debts for millennials, so incomes must align with this to be paid. It's also important to add that millennials in Massachusetts have the third-best average FICO scores."
Lowest median income in the US
One state on the list had the lowest median incomes for Millennials, Generation X and Baby Boomers — Mississippi. According to Scholaroo, this is because Mississippi has some of the lowest job vacancies in the U.S and is also one of the cheapest states to live in the country. According to RentCafe, the cost of living in Mississippi is 16% lower than the national average, and the cost of housing is 32% lower than the national average. In Mississippi, the median income for individuals age 24 to 44 was found to be $58,641. For those between 45 to 64 years old, the median income is $60,998, and for those age 65 and over, $41,013.
As a whole, however, Gen Z had the lowest salaries in the country — specifically Gen Z in West Virginia, with a median income of $27,380.
Erin pairs personal experience with research and is passionate about sharing personal finance advice with others. Previously, she was a freelancer focusing on the credit card side of finance, but has branched out since then to cover other aspects of personal finance. Erin is well-versed in traditional media with reporting, interviewing and research, as well as using graphic design and video and audio storytelling to share with her readers.
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