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Interactive: Visualizing Median Income For All 3,000+ U.S. Counties

Interactive: Visualizing Median Income for All 3,000+ U.S. Counties

When thinking about the United States and its economy, we often think in terms of maps.

That’s why we have previously visualized the country’s $18 trillion economy by comparing specific regions to similarly sized countries. It’s also why we have shown the extreme variance in population distribution across counties, or highlighted the average income of the “Top 1%” throughout the country.

But there is perhaps nothing more telling or interesting to explore than the “granddaddy” of all economic maps: an interactive visualization of median household income.

That’s why today’s fantastic interactive map from Overflow Data is such a treat. It covers all 3,007 U.S. counties using color coding to show the richest and poorest counties based on median income, and it also allows users to drill down to the stats on counties at the state level.

Coasts, Mountains, and Oil

While the areas around coastal cities like San Francisco, Los Angeles, New York City, Boston, or Washington, D.C. are often thought of as the wealthier parts of the country, this map helps reveal two other “belts” in the country with median incomes well above the national average of $53,889.

The first is in the mountains through states like Utah, Colorado, Wyoming and even parts of Nevada – where there is a cluster of more than 40 counties with median incomes of $60,000 or above. Aside from upscale ski areas in places like Summit County, UT or Jackson, WY, the counties in this belt also feature cities like Boulder, CO, or Salt Lake City, UT.

Areas that are rich in natural resources, such as parts of Alaska, Texas, and North Dakota, also tend to have more counties with above average median incomes. For example, Williams County, ND, is in the middle of the Bakken oilfield – and the median household income there is $88,013.

In Alaska, the northernmost county of North Slope Borough has less than 8,000 residents, but they boast a median household income of $72,576.

Tougher Times

On this map, the less wealthy areas are also very evident – and they tend to be most concentrated in the Southeast region of the country.

Many states, including ones like Kentucky, Alabama, Mississippi, Montana, Louisiana, Missouri, New Mexico, Arkansas, Texas, West Virginia, North Carolina, South Carolina, and South Dakota, all have some counties that are at the very low end of median income spectrum.

More specifically, there are only two counties in the country that have income levels below $20,000: Sumter County, AL, and McCreary County, KY.

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