Surprisingly, Utah has more top earners than California

When you think of states where people rake in the big bucks, California probably comes to mind first. After all, it is the land of Silicon Valley moguls, Hollywood stars and tech billionaires. But according to WalletHub’s 2024 report on states with the highest incomes, Utah appears to be a surprising contender in terms of income.

The income showdown between Utah and California

Here’s the kicker: Utah residents in the top 5% actually earn more on average than their California counterparts! The average annual income for the top 5% in Utah sits comfortably at $448,195. Meanwhile, California’s top earners are making less.

If we zoom out and look at average annual income, California leads the way. The typical California household brings in $123,988 annually, while the median income in Utah is lower. It’s almost like finding out that your favorite underdog team has a star player who outshines even the most famous athletes!

Cost of Living: The Secret Ingredient

One of the reasons behind these surprising figures is the cost of living adjustment. California’s high costs for housing, groceries and virtually everything else significantly impact the real value of those salaries. On the other hand, Utah offers a more affordable lifestyle, allowing those big incomes to stretch even further. So while Californians may have upper middle incomes, they also have to deal with sky-high rents and expensive lattes.

Why Utah is climbing the rankings

Utah’s growing technology industry and business-friendly climate are major contributors to its high revenues. Furthermore, its scenic beauty and recreational opportunities make it an attractive place to live and work. Imagine thriving in a fast-growing technology center surrounded by beautiful national parks. It sounds like a dream, right?

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