From 1987 to 2019, Connecticut was the richest state in the U.S. as measured by per capita personal income. In 2020, it lost out—by $10—to neighboring Massachusetts. Massachusetts’ lead grew in 2021, shrank in 2022 and appears likely to hold up in 2023, with the third-quarter estimates for the two states coming in at annual incomes of $88,576 for Massachusetts and $87,372 for Connecticut. (I’ve excluded the District of Columbia, where the third-quarter 2023 per capita income was a much higher $102,285.)

Here’s the long view, with state per capita incomes expressed as a percentage of the U.S. average. Alaska is on the chart because it topped the rankings from 1950, the first year for which its income numbers are available (it didn’t become a state until 1959), through 1987. From 1929 to 1949 the crown changed hands frequently, with New York, Nevada, Delaware, Illinois and Connecticut all ranked No. 1 at some point.

Connecticut is still within easy striking distance of first place and well ahead of third-place New Jersey. It has also dropped below fifth place in the state rankings only twice since 1929, when it came in seventh in 1949 and sixth in 1968. It probably needn’t fear a trajectory like that of Alaska, which is headed for 15th place in 2023 as its oil production dwindles.

But it does feel as if Connecticut and the rest of the country may have reached the end of an era, which is probably a good thing because that era—which lasted from the late 1970s to early 2010s—wasn’t so wonderful for much of the US. Before then, from the early 1930s through the mid-1970s, there had been a great convergence of incomes across the states. As that convergence stalled and to some extent reversed amid rising income inequality and booming financial markets, Connecticut benefited like no other state.

Well, some Connecticut residents did. What’s shown in the above charts is per capita, or mean, personal income, which the U.S. Bureau of Economic Analysis estimates by adding up income numbers derived mainly from tax, unemployment insurance, Social Security, Medicare, Medicaid and Department of Veterans Affairs administrative records and then dividing by population. The other most widely cited state and local income numbers are the median household income estimates that the Census Bureau arrives at simply by asking people—in the Annual Social and Economic Supplement to its monthly Current Population Survey and in its annual American Community Survey—how much money they make.

Connecticut has not dominated the median income rankings as it has the mean income rankings. That’s partly because the former are affected by how evenly incomes are distributed, and Connecticut has the least evenly distributed incomes of any state, according to the Census Bureau’s “Gini index” estimates. In the ASEC data, available back to 1984, it had the highest median household income only in 1990, 1991 and 2009 and was in sixth place in 2022 (Maryland was first), while in the ACS data, available from the Census Bureau only back to 2010 but with bigger sample sizes and smaller margins of error, it has never been higher than third in the rankings and was in a lowest-on-record 10th place in 2022. (Household size is another factor that can drive median household income and per capita income apart, as the land of large families that is Utah comes in ninth place in this ranking and 33rd in the 2022 per capita ranking.)

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