Have you ever wondered just how much it takes to be “rich” where you live — or somewhere else? Or just how far your salary would get you in different cities? Look no further.
SmartAsset, a financial advice website, wanted to find out how much money someone needs to earn to be considered rich in 100 of the largest U.S cities. To do this, they analyzed income distribution in the 100 largest cities in the country and compared that to data from the Census Bureau’s American Community Survey.
The median household income in the US is about $65,000, per the most recent Census Bureau data.
To be considered “rich,” a household needs to earn twice that, or a minimum salary of $130,545. But you also need to be in the top 20% of earners to be considered rich — and that looks a little different in each city. In other words, $130,545 might not get you very far in New York City. That doesn’t even get into wage inequality and income distributions.
SmartAsset found there is a massive difference between what low-earners and high-earners make in 100 of the country’s largest cities — and that in some cities, it takes hundreds of thousands of dollars more a year in earnings to become “rich.”
In San Francisco, the difference between the top 20% and bottom 20% of households exceeds $213,000 — meaning the wealthiest earn seven times more than their working-class counterparts. In 36 cities in the United States, the difference between the minimum income threshold for the top earners and the maximum income threshold for the bottom earners exceeds a difference of $100,000, per the site’s analysis.
Long story short? It’s very clear that Californian cities have the highest income thresholds to be considered rich. Californian cities make up five out of 10 cities in the United States in which the income threshold you have to meet to be considered rich is the highest.
10 Cities With the Highest Threshold to Be a Top Earner
The first number represents the maximum income threshold to be in the bottom 20% of earners, and the second number represents the minimum income threshold to be in the top 20% of earners.
- San Francisco, CA: $36,314ꜜ → $250,000ꜛ
- Fremont, CA: $64,042ꜜ → $250,000ꜛ
- San Jose, CA: $46,984ꜜ → $22,6098ꜛ
- Arlington, VA: $55,463ꜜ → $220,946ꜛ
- Irvine, CA: $40,128ꜜ → $205,415ꜛ
- Washington, DC: $29,139ꜜ → $198,673ꜛ
- Seattle, WA: $38,538ꜜ → $197,128ꜛ
- Scottsdale, AZ: $38,220ꜜ → $187,883ꜛ
- Plano, TX: $46,288ꜜ → $180,516ꜛ
- Oakland, CA: $27,279ꜜ → $172,633ꜛ
10 Cities With the Lowest Threshold to Be a Top Earner
In the list below, the first number represents the maximum income threshold to be in the bottom 20% of earners, and the second number represents the minimum income threshold it takes to be in the top 20% of earners.
- Detroit, MI: $11,012ꜜ → $70,444ꜛ
- Cleveland, OH: $11,216ꜜ → $70,465ꜛ
- Toledo, OH: $14,824ꜜ → $78,843ꜛ
- Hialeah, FL: $15,679ꜜ → $80,436ꜛ
- Newark, NJ: $12,985ꜜ → $83,386ꜛ
- Milwaukee, WI: $16,876ꜜ → $86,865ꜛ
- Buffalo, NY: $13,927ꜜ → $86,930ꜛ
- Memphis, TN:$16,341ꜜ → $88,187ꜛ
- Tucson, AZ: $18,719ꜜ → $89,118ꜛ
- Fort Wayne, IN: $22,927ꜜ → $95,644ꜛ
For more data on the rest of the top 100 cities in the U.S. and how much money you need to earn there in order to be “rich,” check out SmartAsset.