There has been a general trend across the United States of average salaries increasing over the past decade. In 2010 the average annual salary nationwide was $43,265 and increased to $58,494 in 2020, constituting a 35.01% increase (or $15,228). This means that the growth in wages has outstripped inflation rates in the country, as wages would only have risen to $51,351 per year in line with inflation. Therefore, Americans could have more disposable income on average to save or put towards the procurement of goods and services.
Although wages have risen across the entire country, wages and the rate at which they are growing are higher in some states than in others. So where is the best place to live in the United States to see your wages rise, and where could you be earning the most in another ten years if current growth rates continue?
By analyzing the trends in wages in all 50 American states, the state with the highest wages has been revealed, as well as the best place to move for higher earnings throughout the next decade.
The state with the biggest increase in average annual wages over the past decade is Washington, where they have risen by an incredible 58.28%. In 2010 Washington’s average annual wage of $48,516 was only the tenth highest of all the states, whereas in 2020 their wages are the fourth highest in the country on average at $76,791.
Californians have enjoyed the second-highest increase in average annual wages since 2010, as they have risen by 49.16%. Although this is almost 10% less than in Washington, it is still around 14% higher than the national average wage increase. In 2020 the average annual wage in the Golden State was $79,480, compared to $53,285 in 2010.
In 2010 North Dakota had one of the lowest average annual wages anywhere in the USA, with their $38,128 being around $5,000 lower than the national average. However, since then the upper Midwest state has seen the third-highest increase anywhere with annual wages rising by 45.47% on average so that their wages are currently around the middle of the pack.
Wyoming is the state that has seen the smallest increase in average annual wages over the past decade as there has only been a 21.5% rise, this is just under 14% less than the nationwide average. In 2010 Wyoming was one of the middle states in terms of wage at $41,963, however by 2020 their wage is around $8,000 lower than the national average.
Louisiana had the second lowest increase in average annual wages between 2010 and 2020, wages only rose by 25.33% during the period. Although wages were slightly lower in Louisiana than Wyoming in 2010 they were slightly higher by 2020.
Mississippi is a neighbouring state to Louisiana but has much lower wages, in total Mississippi wages are around $8,000 less per year on average than in Louisiana. However, the wage increase in Mississippi has been slightly greater, as they have risen by 25.85% over the decade.
As previously mentioned Massachusetts is currently the state with the highest average annual wages. The $83,738 average across the Bay State is $25,244 higher than the national average and $40,516 higher than the average in Mississippi.
Just over $600 dollars is the difference between the average wage in New York and Massachusetts, with the former just coming in second. The motto of New York is the Latin word Excelsior meaning ever upward, but on the contrary average annual wages in the Empire State are growing slower than elsewhere and they no longer have the highest wages in the country as they did in 2010.
The state with the third-highest average annual wages is California, moving up from the fifth-highest in 2010. Despite being over $4,000 lower than Massachusetts, California has average wages around $21,000 more than the national average.
Mississippi currently has the lowest average annual wages anywhere in the United States, at $42,222 the wages in the state are over $15,000 lower than the national average. On top of this, their average wages are over $40,000 lower than those in Massachusetts.
Idaho has the second lowest annual wages of any state, although they are over $4,000 more than in Mississippi. This is over $10,000 more than the national average, and around $36,000 cheaper than the highest paid state.
Average annual wages in Montana is only $758 dollars more than in their neighbouring state of Idaho, therefore they have the third lowest average annual wages in the United States. The wage is $10,051 lower than the national average of $58,494.
The place to move if you are wanting to see a high wage rise in the next decade is Washington, with current growth rates it is estimated that they could overtake Massachusetts and become the state with the highest average annual wage rates in 2030. Wages in Washington could potentially be $121,545 at the start of the next decade.
By virtue of having lower growth rates than Washington, Massachusetts is only going to be the second-highest paying state with average wages estimated to be $121,379 per year. This will be over $40,000 more than the national average, and less than $200 lower than the highest paying state.
California currently has the third-highest average annual wages, and in ten years’ time, they will still have the third-highest average annual wages. It is estimated that they will have risen to $118,553 per year, meaning that California will be one of only four states with average wages over $100,000.
As they already have the lowest average annual wages, and also had the third lowest growth rate in wages, it is perhaps unsurprising that Mississippi will still have the lowest average annual wages by some distance in 2030.
Wages in Wyoming will have risen to over $60,000 dollars by the end of the next decade, however they will still have the second lowest anywhere in the United States. This means that by 2030 the wages in Wyoming will be around $17,000 more than the US average.
West Virginia has been slowly slipping down the rankings in terms of average annual wages, to the extent that it is estimated that they will have the third lowest in the United States by 2020. This is a drop from having the ninth lowest wages in 2010, and the fifth lowest in 2020.
All data was collected from the US Bureau of Labour Statistics: We then calculated the percentage increase in average annual wages between 2010 and 2020. By using this percentage increase we estimated the average annual wages in 2030.