With the United States I was always given the impression that all states would be ‘on par’ with each other, hence the ‘United’ States, or at least with very little deviation between them all when it comes to wealth. As it turns out they really aren’t and not with little deviation either.
As of February 2014 Mississippi was seen to be the state with the lowest Per Capita income at $20,000 per individual, which isn’t unbelievably low don’t get me wrong. If you treated Mississippi as a country it would be 7th, just behind Great Britain. But when you incorporate it into the United States, which has an average of $28,000 that is a huge deviation in the wrong direction. To have an average that high when including other states like Mississippi it usually tends to mean that you have other extreme circumstances at the other end of the spectrum. We will look more into this later on.
Initially noticing that there was such a large difference in Per Capita Income for the different States I presumed that there would be some sort of pattern, but as it turns out Mississippi really does just seem to be positioned in the middle of everything: Density, Size, Population within the US. But just not for the average income per individual and it wasn’t really making any sense. At this point I looked into the possibility that Mississippi may have been an anomaly, but besides the fact you can’t really discount an entire state as an anomaly due to it being the equivalent to just discounting 3,000,000 people, it turns out there are states at the other end of the spectrum; this is where I saw a slight pattern to form.
This visualisation shows the contrast between states when observing Per Capita Income. What soon becomes apparent is that although Mississippi may not be classified as an anomaly it is definitely an outstanding state along with Idaho, Arkansas and West Virginia which I would presume each have their own, if not a unified reason as to why they are so far apart financially when compared to the country as a whole. What can also become observable is that the majority of the wealthier states all seem to be situated on the East coast with states like Massachusetts, Connecticut, New Jersey and Maryland. All of which are as close to bordering each other as you are going to get considering they are the top four states when it comes to Per Capita Income as it is with Median Household Income also. As you can see below more clearly.
I guess what this may seem to represent is that we should all just Migrate to the East to earn a bit of cash that we all seem pretty desperate for at the moment. But what you will begin to see is that the living expenses down in these states will also be ranked very highly on the cost of living scale. In fact 3 of the 4 states are in the top 5 most expensive states to live in. So as it is when it comes to Britain as a whole and London, although you may be able to earn triple your salary down there, with the money you earned you can either get a 2-bed apartment in the centre or you can buy a nice 6-bedroom farmhouse in my hometown Holmfirth. So essentially nine times out of ten the salary and living expenses essentially cancel each other out.
If you can find an appropriate state where the income looks as pretty as it should and the living expenses aren’t through the roof. It’s probably a given that this is where your most likely to find yourself in a more comfortable financial situation in the future
US Central Bureau: Per Capita Income statistics along with the brief median household income.
Yahoo.finance.com: The most costly states to live in.
targetmap.com: Where I created the Data Visualisation