Do you live in a state that is know for paying the highest wages? Not sure? CNNMoney.com reported that recent Census Bureau reports the states with the highest median incomes. High incomes do not always translate to higher standard of living however as areas with higher incomes share a common malady — a high cost of living.
Maryland has the highest median income level in 2008 at $70,545. Mississippi ranked last with $37,790.
The states with the highest median incomes are concentrated in the far West and in the Northeast around the District of Columbia. Most of the lowest earning states are in the South. Rounding out the bottom 5 following Mississippi are: West Virginia ($37,989), Arkansas ($38,815), Kentucky ($41,538), and Alabama (42,538).
The four highest earning states following Maryland are: New Jersey ($70,378), Connecticut ($68,595), Alaska ($68,460), Hawaii ($67,214).
t don't pack up and move just yet. The cost of living in Bethesda, MD is about 52% higher than it is in Tupelo, MS. This difference translates to a housing cost differential for an average apartment rental in Bethesda of $1,464 compared to $512 in Tupelo.
Florida was the only state where median income declined, falling 0.01% before adjusting for inflation. Louisiana saw the biggest jump in income, up 6.9%. This may be attributed to the influx of Federal dollars flowing into the state following Katrina.
Another winner was the District of Columbia, which saw a median income rise of 6.7% in a year when the White House changed hands.
The current economic downturn which really ramped up in the second half of 2008 may have given these median income levels a boost. That's because when times get tough, many of the lowest paying jobs disappear, artificially boosting income statistics.