How Much You Need To Be ‘Rich’ in 50 Major US Cities

Downtown Miami during an amazing sunny day, it is visible the buildings and palms.
Mercuri / Getty Images/iStockphoto

The United States is a large and diverse country with big regional variances and even noticeable differences from one city to another. Everything from the food people eat to the way they dress to the way they talk can be night-and-day different in different parts of the country.

Explore: Here’s How Much You Need To Earn To Be ‘Rich’ in 23 Major Countries Around the World
See: States Where It’s Easiest To Go From Middle Class to Upper Class

But it’s not just the food we eat and the way we dress that can be hugely varied. How much money people make can also vary widely depending upon where you are in the country. The reasons for that are of course complicated, but they can be dramatic.

To highlight just how big those differences are, GOBankingRates used data from the U.S. Census and American Community Survey to find which cities have the highest and lowest incomes. In particular, this report shows how much it takes to be considered rich, or in the top 20%, in 50 major U.S. cities, as well as the average incomes of the top 20% and top 5%.

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50. Detroit

  • Population: 674,841
  • Lowest Income to be Considered “Rich” (Top 20%): $66,139
  • Average Income of the Top 20%: $119,802
  • Average Income of the Top 5%: $214,550

49. Milwaukee, Wisconsin

  • Population: 594,548
  • Lowest Income to be Considered “Rich” (Top 20%): $84,764
  • Average Income of the Top 20%: $144,391
  • Average Income of the Top 5%: $250,163

Billionaires vs. Middle-Class America: Who Pays More in Taxes?

48. Tucson, Arizona

  • Population: 541,482
  • Lowest Income to be Considered “Rich” (Top 20%): $86,761
  • Average Income of the Top 20%: $142,548
  • Average Income of the Top 5%: $236,763

Memphis Tennessee downtown Beale Street

47. Memphis, Tennessee

  • Population: 651,932
  • Lowest Income to be Considered “Rich” (Top 20%): $86,964
  • Average Income of the Top 20%: $172,622
  • Average Income of the Top 5%: $335,653

46. Miami

  • Population: 454,279
  • Lowest Income to be Considered “Rich” (Top 20%): $92,902
  • Average Income of the Top 20%: $203,173
  • Average Income of the Top 5%: $414,523

45. El Paso, Texas

  • Population: 679,813
  • Lowest Income to be Considered “Rich” (Top 20%): $94,422
  • Average Income of the Top 20%: $159,753
  • Average Income of the Top 5%: $274,474

44. Indianapolis

  • Population: 864,447
  • Lowest Income to be Considered “Rich” (Top 20%): $97,257
  • Average Income of the Top 20%: $177,264
  • Average Income of the Top 5%: $325,191

43. Tulsa, Oklahoma

  • Population: 402,324
  • Lowest Income to be Considered “Rich” (Top 20%): $100,527
  • Average Income of the Top 20%: $204,789
  • Average Income of the Top 5%: $399,675

Swann Memorial Fountain With City Hall In The Background Philadelphia.

42. Philadelphia

  • Population: 1,579,075
  • Lowest Income to be Considered “Rich” (Top 20%): $101,220
  • Average Income of the Top 20%:$185,720
  • Average Income of the Top 5%: $334,665

41. Columbus, Ohio

  • Population: 878,553
  • Lowest Income to be Considered “Rich” (Top 20%): $101,704
  • Average Income of the Top 20%: $165,341
  • Average Income of the Top 5%: $278,699

40. Fresno, California

  • Population: 525,010
  • Lowest Income to be Considered “Rich” (Top 20%): $102,665
  • Average Income of the Top 20%: $179,014
  • Average Income of the Top 5%: $312,593

39. New Orleans

  • Population: 390,845
  • Lowest Income to be Considered “Rich” (Top 20%): $103,102
  • Average Income of the Top 20%: $214,081
  • Average Income of the Top 5%: $419,277

38. San Antonio

  • Population: 1,508,083
  • Lowest Income to be Considered “Rich” (Top 20%): $103,459
  • Average Income of the Top 20%: $177,051
  • Average Income of the Top 5%: $307,182

37. Wichita, Kansas

  • Population: 389,877
  • Lowest Income to be Considered “Rich” (Top 20%): $104,212
  • Average Income of the Top 20%: $178,238
  • Average Income of the Top 5%: $311,677

The view at dusk of Little Marsh Hill houses, the suburb of Jacksonville city (Florida).

36. Jacksonville, Florida

  • Population: 890,467
  • Lowest Income to be Considered “Rich” (Top 20%): $105,392
  • Average Income of the Top 20%: $187,403
  • Average Income of the Top 5%: $340,630

Make Your Money Work Better for You

35. Louisville/Jefferson County, Kentucky

  • Population: 617,790
  • Lowest Income to be Considered “Rich” (Top 20%): $106,805
  • Average Income of the Top 20%: $189,981
  • Average Income of the Top 5%: $338,895

34. Albuquerque, New Mexico

  • Population: 559,374
  • Lowest Income to be Considered “Rich” (Top 20%): $106,866
  • Average Income of the Top 20%: $181,094
  • Average Income of the Top 5%: $312,212

33. Baltimore

  • Population: 609,032
  • Lowest Income to be Considered “Rich” (Top 20%): $109,132
  • Average Income of the Top 20%: $200,552
  • Average Income of the Top 5%: $361,702

32. Kansas City, Missouri

  • Population: 486,404
  • Lowest Income to be Considered “Rich” (Top 20%): $109,276
  • Average Income of the Top 20%: $190,266
  • Average Income of the Top 5%: $336,124

31. Oklahoma City

  • Population: 643,692
  • Lowest Income to be Considered “Rich” (Top 20%): $109,628
  • Average Income of the Top 20%: $198,337
  • Average Income of the Top 5%: $359,694

30. Mesa, Arizona

  • Population: 499,720
  • Lowest Income to be Considered “Rich” (Top 20%): $110,516
  • Average Income of the Top 20%: $189,474
  • Average Income of the Top 5%: $329,640

Las Vegas, Nevada, USA - January 12, 2016: Tourists enjoying the nightlife on the famous Fremont Street promenade Las Vegas, Navada.

29. Las Vegas

  • Population: 634,773
  • Lowest Income to be Considered “Rich” (Top 20%): $111,380
  • Average Income of the Top 20%: $206,207
  • Average Income of the Top 5%: $390,614

28. Dallas

  • Population: 1,330,612
  • Lowest Income to be Considered “Rich” (Top 20%): $112,570
  • Average Income of the Top 20%: $249,354
  • Average Income of the Top 5%: $503,284

27. Phoenix

  • Population: 1,633,017
  • Lowest Income to be Considered “Rich” (Top 20%): $114,378
  • Average Income of the Top 20%: $205,265
  • Average Income of the Top 5%: $363,262

26. Nashville, Tennessee

  • Population: 663,750
  • Lowest Income to be Considered “Rich” (Top 20%): $115,609
  • Average Income of the Top 20%: $212,201
  • Average Income of the Top 5%: $393,014

25. Houston

  • Population: 2,310,432
  • Lowest Income to be Considered “Rich” (Top 20%): $115,794
  • Average Income of the Top 20%: $238,529
  • Average Income of the Top 5%: $458,999

24. Omaha, Nebraska

  • Population: 475,862
  • Lowest Income to be Considered “Rich” (Top 20%): $116,680
  • Average Income of the Top 20%: $210,534
  • Average Income of the Top 5%: $383,604

23. Arlington, Texas

  • Population: 395,477
  • Lowest Income to be Considered “Rich” (Top 20%): $116,807
  • Average Income of the Top 20%: $188,180
  • Average Income of the Top 5%: $308,114

22. Fort Worth, Texas

  • Population: 874,401
  • Lowest Income to be Considered “Rich” (Top 20%): $120,362
  • Average Income of the Top 20%: $204,008
  • Average Income of the Top 5%: $355,816

Downtown Sacramento.

21. Sacramento, California

  • Population: 500,930
  • Lowest Income to be Considered “Rich” (Top 20%): $121,986
  • Average Income of the Top 20%: $205,832
  • Average Income of the Top 5%: $348,308

20. Colorado Springs, Colorado

  • Population: 464,871
  • Lowest Income to be Considered “Rich” (Top 20%): $122,763
  • Average Income of the Top 20%: $203,661
  • Average Income of the Top 5%: $345,526

19. Long Beach, California

  • Population: 466,776
  • Lowest Income to be Considered “Rich” (Top 20%): $127,021
  • Average Income of the Top 20%: $218,233
  • Average Income of the Top 5%: $370,584

18. Charlotte, North Carolina

  • Population: 857,425
  • Lowest Income to be Considered “Rich” (Top 20%): $129,044
  • Average Income of the Top 20%:$253,194
  • Average Income of the Top 5%: $483,726

17. Chicago

  • Population: 2,709,534
  • Lowest Income to be Considered “Rich” (Top 20%): $129,772
  • Average Income of the Top 20%: $253,077
  • Average Income of the Top 5%: $482,166

16. Minneapolis

  • Population: 420,324
  • Lowest Income to be Considered “Rich” (Top 20%): $130,980
  • Average Income of the Top 20%: $235,237
  • Average Income of the Top 5%: $419,785

15. Raleigh, North Carolina

  • Population: 464,485
  • Lowest Income to be Considered “Rich” (Top 20%): $131,513
  • Average Income of the Top 20%: $239,741
  • Average Income of the Top 5%: $437,763

Virginia Beach ocean

14. Virginia Beach, Virginia

  • Population: 450,201
  • Lowest Income to be Considered “Rich” (Top 20%): $134,181
  • Average Income of the Top 20%: $224,988
  • Average Income of the Top 5%: $393,662

13. Los Angeles

  • Population: 3,966,936
  • Lowest Income to be Considered “Rich” (Top 20%): $135,373
  • Average Income of the Top 20%: $268,700
  • Average Income of the Top 5%: $516,961

12. Portland, Oregon

  • Population: 645,291
  • Lowest Income to be Considered “Rich” (Top 20%): $140,447
  • Average Income of the Top 20%: $241,724
  • Average Income of the Top 5%: $411,647

11. Atlanta

  • Population: 488,800
  • Lowest Income to be Considered “Rich” (Top 20%): $141,360
  • Average Income of the Top 20%: $324,646
  • Average Income of the Top 5%: $668,261

10. Denver

  • Population: 705,576
  • Lowest Income to be Considered “Rich” (Top 20%): $141,801
  • Average Income of the Top 20%: $260,157
  • Average Income of the Top 5%: $475,273

9. New York

  • Population: 8,419,316
  • Lowest Income to be Considered “Rich” (Top 20%): $144,541
  • Average Income of the Top 20%: $295,662
  • Average Income of the Top 5%: $585,902

8. Austin, Texas

  • Population: 950,807
  • Lowest Income to be Considered “Rich” (Top 20%): $145,166
  • Average Income of the Top 20%: $267,777
  • Average Income of the Top 5%: $485,554

7. San Diego

  • Population: 1,409,573
  • Lowest Income to be Considered “Rich” (Top 20%): $157,252
  • Average Income of the Top 20%: $274,941
  • Average Income of the Top 5%: $479,743

Boston, Massachusetts, USA - October 14, 2016: Pedestrians cross at the Old State House in Boston.

6. Boston

  • Population:684,379
  • Lowest Income to be Considered “Rich” (Top 20%): $159,024
  • Average Income of the Top 20%: $299,047
  • Average Income of the Top 5%: $563,610

5. Oakland, California

  • Population: 425,097
  • Lowest Income to be Considered “Rich” (Top 20%): $161,345
  • Average Income of the Top 20%: $290,953
  • Average Income of the Top 5%: $505,880

4. Seattle

  • Population: 724,305
  • Lowest Income to be Considered “Rich” (Top 20%): $186,063
  • Average Income of the Top 20%: $331,167
  • Average Income of the Top 5%: $583,249

3. Washington, District of Columbia

  • Population: 692,683
  • Lowest Income to be Considered “Rich” (Top 20%): $189,293
  • Average Income of the Top 20%: $350,856
  • Average Income of the Top 5%: $633,882

2. San Jose, California

  • Population: 1,027,690
  • Lowest Income to be Considered “Rich” (Top 20%): $214,975
  • Average Income of the Top 20%: $342,891
  • Average Income of the Top 5%: $552,697

1. San Francisco

  • Population: 874,961
  • Lowest Income to be Considered “Rich” (Top 20%): $239,840
  • Average Income of the Top 20%: $425,883
  • Average Income of the Top 5%: $743,811

More From GOBankingRates

Last updated: Nov. 3, 2021 

Methodology: For this piece GOBankingRates used American Community Survey data from the United States Census Bureau to first find the 50 largest cities in terms of total population. With these 50 cities isolated, GOBankingRates then used American Community Survey income quintile data to find each city’s: (1) lowest income to be considered in the top 20% richest income bracket; (2) the average income of the richest 20% and (3) the average income of the richest 5%. Only factor (1) was considered in final rankings. All data was collected and is up to date as of October 26, 2021.

 

About the Author

Bob Haegele is a personal finance writer who specializes in topics such as investing, banking, credit cards, and real estate. His work has been featured on The Ladders, The Good Men Project, and Small Biz Daily. He also co-runs Modest Money and is a dog sitter and walker.

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