Why I Enjoy Living in One of America’s Richest States

You don't need a big salary to live a rich life in this state.

According to a recent GOBankingRates study, New York is the third wealthiest state in America. And it probably doesn’t surprise you that California tops the list. To determine the wealth of a given state, GOBankingRates evaluated all 50 states by analyzing and assigning scores to five factors: gross domestic product by state, poverty rates, median income, median home values and state tax revenue. 

Here are the top 20 richest states according to the GOBankingRates analysis:

RankStateGross State Product (in billions)Median Income
1California$2,803.50$63,783
2Hawaii$90.10$71,977
3New York$1,580.00$60,741
4New Jersey$617.30$73,702
5Massachusetts$545.00$70,954
6Maryland$403.00$76,067
7Connecticut$279.20$71,755
8North Dakota$50.90$59,114
9New Hampshire$84.20$68,485
10Minnesota$354.60$63,217
11Washington$509.70$62,848
12Colorado$344.90$62,520
13Virginia$523.40$66,149
14Alaska$50.30$74,444
15Wyoming$37.90$59,143
16Illinois$837.30$59,196
17Utah$169.10$62,518
18Rhode Island$61.10$58,387
19Vermont$32.90$56,104
20Delaware$74.20$61,017

Read More: How I Travel the World Year-Round Without Going Broke

New York ranks in the top three richest states because of its large GDP ($1.58 trillion), strong median income ($60,741) and high median home values ($283,000). Although New York is one of the richest  — and most expensive — states in America, I enjoy living here. This is why.

Advantages of Living in a ‘Rich’ State

The title might have you think I make a big salary and live in a high cost of living area. But you’d be wrong. Although one of the most expensive cities in the country is in my state, I am still able to enjoy a rich life without all the stereotypes.  

I live in the Finger Lakes region of the state — almost five hours from the Big Apple. And although my state has one of the highest tax burdens in the nation, I chose to live here — but in a much lower cost area than New York City. Could I have lived a happy life in a less wealthy state with lower tax rates? Probably. But my life in New York State is hard to beat.

Within a two-hour drive, I have access to all of the Finger Lakes and even two of the Great Lakes — Ontario and Erie. If I want bigger surf, I can get up early and stroll the sands of a Long Island beach by early afternoon.

If I want to ski, I can reach a small mountain near us before I can finish a cup of coffee. Or, I can hit the road early and hit the slopes at an Olympic venue for most of the day.

On top of all that, there are Broadway shows, shops on 5th Avenue, hikes up mountains and plenty of state parks to explore. I can stop at local vineyards and farms to taste wine and buy fresh produce. New Yorkers experience four seasons each year. My flowers bloom in the spring, I spend summer nights by the lake, walk through golden leaves in the fall and enjoy wintry nights by the fire.

And I still get to live in a place where I make a decent living and can own a nice home while having enough money to travel and save for the future. That’s why I enjoy living in New York — one of America’s richest states.

Click through to discover the best places in every state to live on a fixed income.

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Methodology: GOBankingRates finds the 20 Richest and Poorest States in America by observing five factors: 1) GDP Per State, sourced from the Census Bureau; 2) State Poverty Rates, sourced from the Census Bureau; 3) State Median Income, sourced from the Census Bureau; 4) Median Home Value, sourced from Zillow’s May 2018 index; 5) State tax revenue per capita, sourced from Tax Policy Center. GBR scores all of these factors (with the lowest score being best and the highest being worst) and adds up these cumulative scores in order to determine which states are richest and which are poorest.