This Is the State Where You Can Make the Most Money

Despite the current unemployment situation, there are still some states where you can make money.

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When it comes to making money, times are tough no matter where you live. In late May, almost 40 million Americans had claimed unemployment benefits. Worse yet, according to a new survey from the Pew Research Center published on Sept. 24, half of Americans who lost their job during the pandemic have yet to find another one. But the truth is, there are still some states where you can make money—you just have to know where to look.

To figure out where you can improve your financial situation right now, we pulled together data from a variety of sources and crunched the numbers using our exclusive algorithm to determine each state's score on our Money Making Index. We consulted the U.S. Census Bureau's latest data on median household income, how much each state charges for income tax in 2020, and the unemployment rate as of August 2020, per the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics. We also took into account the cost of living data from the World Population Review's index, which factors in expenses ranging from groceries and utilities to the average cost of transportation. Altogether, this data painted a picture not just of how much the average resident is likely to make in each state (and how many job prospects they have), but of how much spending they would be doing, too.

Taking all of that into consideration, one state stood out as the strongest when it comes to where you can take home a fat paycheck. It doesn't necessarily have the highest average household income in the country, but its cost of living is very low and it has one of the lowest unemployment rates nationwide in the midst of a pandemic that has decimated the economy. Combine that with its relatively low income tax and this state stands out as the overall strongest option for those looking to make some serious money.

Read on for the top 20 states where you can make bank to find out the best of the bunch. And for more money matters by state, check out This Is the State Where Your Money Is Worth the Least.

20
Connecticut

hartford connecticut skyline
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Median Household Income: $72,812

State Income Tax: 3 percent-6.99 percent

Unemployment Rate: 8.1 percent

Cost of Living Index Score: 127.7

Money Making Index Score: 49.39

And for more on who's making the most money in this state and every other one, check out This Is the Richest Person in Every State.

19
Arizona

Devil's Bridge Trail scenic view panoramic landscape Sedona Arizona
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Median Household Income: $62,283

State Income Tax: 2.59 percent-4.50 percent

Unemployment Rate: 5.7 percent

Cost of Living Index Score: 97

Money Making Index Score: 49.83

18
Minnesota

st paul minnesota sleepless cities
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Median Household Income: $71,817

State Income Tax: 5.35 percent-9.85 percent

Unemployment Rate: 7.4 percent

Cost of Living Index Score: 101.6

Money Making Index Score: 50.01

And for another facet of life where Minnesota is suffering, check out These Are the States Where COVID Cases Are Skyrocketing.

17
Texas

dallas texas skyline
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Median Household Income: $59,785

State Income Tax: 0.00 percent

Unemployment Rate: 6.8 percent

Cost of Living Index Score: 91.5

Money Making Index Score: 50.98

And if you're a proud Texan or want to be one, here are the 25 Things People in Texas Are Tired of Hearing.

16
Indiana

The skyline of Indianapolis, Indiana from the White River
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Median Household Income: $59,892

State Income Tax: 3.23 percent

Unemployment Rate: 6.4 percent

Cost of Living Index Score: 90

Money Making Index Score: 52.64

15
Illinois

Illinois
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Median Household Income: $70,145

State Income Tax: 4.95 percent

Unemployment Rate: 11.0 percent

Cost of Living Index Score: 94.5

Money Making Index Score: 53.32

And if you want to make sure you're saying this state correctly, check out This Is the Most Mispronounced State in the U.S.

14
South Dakota

The main street of Deadwood, South Dakota with cars and shops in view.
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Median Household Income: $59,463

State Income Tax: 0.00 percent

Unemployment Rate: 4.8 percent

Cost of Living Index Score: 99.8

Money Making Index Score: 54.83

13
Alaska

Anchorage Skyline with a winter reflection
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Median Household Income: $68,734

State Income Tax: 0.00 percent

Unemployment Rate: 7.4 percent

Cost of Living Index Score: 129.9

Money Making Index Score: 54.92

But unfortunately, it's not all great news in Alaska. Find it among the list of The Most Dangerous States in the U.S.

12
Vermont

Church Street in Burlington, Vermont at night.
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Median Household Income: $70,066

State Income Tax: 3.35 percent-8.75 percent

Unemployment Rate: 4.8 percent

Cost of Living Index Score: 114.5

Money Making Index Score: 55.70

11
Wyoming

Panoramic aerial view of Jackson Hole homes and beautiful mountains on a summer morning, Wyoming.
iStock

Median Household Income: $62,539

State Income Tax: 0.00 percent

Unemployment Rate: 6.6 percent

Cost of Living Index Score: 89.3

Money Making Index Score: 56.15

And if you want more state guides and helpful facts, sign up for our daily newsletter.

10
Iowa

Iowa
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Median Household Income: $68,718

State Income Tax: 0.33 percent-8.53 percent

Unemployment Rate: 6.0 percent

Cost of Living Index Score: 90.1

Money Making Index Score: 58.20

9
North Dakota

fargo north dakota, most common street names
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Median Household Income: $66,505

State Income Tax: 1.1 percent-2.9 percent

Unemployment Rate: 5.0 percent

Cost of Living Index Score: 98.8

Money Making Index Score: 61.00

8
Nebraska

The skyline of Omaha, Nebraska
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Median Household Income: $67,575

State Income Tax: 2.46 percent-6.84 percent

Unemployment Rate: 4.0 percent

Cost of Living Index Score: 90.8

Money Making Index Score: 61.90

7
Colorado

Denver Colorado skyscrapers snowy Longs Peak Rocky Mountains summer
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Median Household Income: $73,034

State Income Tax: 4.63  percent

Unemployment Rate: 6.7 percent

Cost of Living Index Score: 105.6

Money Making Index Score: 68.33

6
Massachusetts

Massachusetts
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Median Household Income: $86,345

State Income Tax: 5.00 percent

Unemployment Rate: 11.3 percent

Cost of Living Index Score: 131.6

Money Making Index Score: 69.30

5
Virginia

skyline view of richmond virginia at dusk
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Median Household Income: $77,151

State Income Tax: 2 percent-5.75 percent

Unemployment Rate: 6.1 percent

Cost of Living Index Score: 100.7

Money Making Index Score: 69.54

4
Washington

Seattle, Washington
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Median Household Income: $79,726

State Income Tax: 0.00 percent

Unemployment Rate: 8.5 percent

Cost of Living Index Score: 110.7

Money Making Index Score: 71.95

3
Maryland

annapolis maryland with state capitol buildings
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Median Household Income: $86,223

State Income Tax: 2 percent-5.75 percent

Unemployment Rate: 6.9 percent

Cost of Living Index Score: 129.7

Money Making Index Score: 74.94

2
New Hampshire

waterfront town with a harbor and boats at sunset
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Median Household Income: $81,346

State Income Tax: 5.00 percent

Unemployment Rate: 6.5 percent

Cost of Living Index Score: 109.7

Money Making Index Score: 80.58

1
Utah

salt lake city utah from above
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Median Household Income: $77,067

State Income Tax: 4.95 percent

Unemployment Rate: 4.1 percent

Cost of Living Index Score: 98.4

Money Making Index Score: 83.62

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