This Is How Much Money You Have to Earn to Be Rich in 15 Major US Cities

What does it mean to be rich? Well, that all depends on where you live.

There is no all-encompassing definition for what it means to be “rich” or even middle class in America. But one thing that’s not up for debate — where you live matters when it comes to calculating wealth. A $40,000 annual household income in San Francisco is not equivalent to making that same amount in Detroit.

About 20% of Americans have an average household income of $118,080, which is considered “rich” on a national level. That amount is about double the national average for middle-class earners, which was $59,039 per household in 2016. However, even earning that much won’t make you feel affluent in some expensive cities.

Business Insider compiled census data to determine just how much it takes to be rich in 15 major US cities. Here is what they found, from lowest to highest salaries.

15. Los Angeles, California — more than $131,900

hollywood sign

You need to make almost half a million dollars to be in the top 1%. | David McNew/Getty Images

  • How much money it takes to be in the top 1% in California: $453,772
  • Median income in Los Angeles: $65,950

It’s hard to believe that a city full of film directors and A-list actors is 15th on the list, but still, it takes well over the national average to be considered well off in the City of Angels and just south of half a million per year to make it into the top 1%.

Next: Philadelphia, Pennsylvania

14. Philadelphia, Pennsylvania — more than $131,992

Philadelphia

The median income is above the national average. | iStock/Getty Images

  • How much money it takes to be in the top 1% in Pennsylvania: $360,343
  • Median income in Philadelphia: $65,996

There’s a lot of old money in Main Line Philadelphia, which is part of what makes this area so affluent. The median household income is well above the national average in this East Coast city.

Next: Chicago, Illinois

13. Chicago, Illinois — more than $132,040

Chicago is one of the few Midwestern cities on the list. | Scott Olson/Getty Images

  • How much money it takes to be in the top 1% in Illinois: $416,319
  • Median income in Chicago: $66,020

There aren’t too many Midwestern cities that made it onto this list, but Chicago did. This major metropolitan hub has plenty of high earners, which drives up the cost of living, housing prices, and just about everything else, too.

Next: Portland, Oregon

12. Portland, Oregon — more than $137,352

Portland

It’s not cheap to live in Portland. | iStock/Getty Images

  • How much money it takes to be in the top 1% in Oregon: $312,839
  • Median income in Portland: $68,676

It isn’t cheap to live in the Pacific Northwest. In Portland, you’d need to earn well over six figures to be considered wealthy.

Next: San Diego, California

11. San Diego, California — more than $141,648

San Diego at night

San Diego is one of several California cities where you need a lot to be considered wealthy. | iStock/Getty Images

  • How much money it takes to be in the top 1% in California: $453,772
  • Median income in San Diego: $70,824

So many California cities cost a lot to live in. San Diego isn’t the priciest, but to be considered wealthy you’d need an annual household incoming totaling $141,648, and nearly half a million per year to join the top 1%.

Next: Austin, Texas

10. Austin, Texas — more than $142,000

You need a healthy income to live the good life in Austin. | iStock/Getty Images

  • How much money it takes to be in the top 1% in Texas: $424,507
  • Median income in Austin: $71,000

The houses that Chip and Joanna Gaines like to flip are cheap — but those are miles away from Austin, one of the most popular and expensive cities in Texas. A healthy $142,000 household income is what it takes to live the good life in Austin.

Next: New York City

9. New York City — more than $143,794

You need more than half a million to be in New York’s top 1%. | Drew Angerer/Getty Images

  • How much money it takes to be in the top 1% in New York: $517,557
  • Median income in New York City: $71,897

The divide between rich and poor in New York City is extreme — you’re just as likely to encounter a homeless person on the street as you are to rub elbows with a celebrity or Wall Street tycoon. In order to be in the top 1%, you’d need to amass more than half a million per year.

Next: Denver, Colorado

8. Denver, Colorado — more than $143,852

Denver

You must make about $144,000 to be considered rich in Denver. | F11photo/iStock/Getty Images

  • How much money it takes to be in the top 1% in Colorado: $410,716
  • Median income in Denver: $71,926

Denver residents love to brag about their 300 days of sunshine, which is no doubt part of what makes this such a popular place to live. The only way you’ll afford that sprawling ranch with all the windows is if you make a hefty salary, however — you’ll need more than $143,852 to be considered rich.

Next: Minneapolis, Minnesota

7. Minneapolis, Minnesota — more than $146,462

Minneapolis downtown skyline

The top 1% earn slightly over $400,000. | iStock.com/RudyBalasko

  • How much money it takes to be in the top 1% in Minnesota: $411,022
  • Median income in Minneapolis: $73,231

There are more high-paying jobs in Minnesota than you may think. The top 1% in the state earn over $400,000 and the median income for Minneapolis is higher than average at $73,231.

Next: Baltimore, Maryland

6. Baltimore, Maryland — more than $153,576

Baltimore, Maryland, USA

It’s one of the few East Coast cities to make the list. | SeanPavonePhoto/iStock/Getty Images

  • How much it takes to be in the top 1% in Maryland: $421,188
  • Median income in Baltimore: $76,788

Baltimore is one of the few East Coast cities on the list. There are some high profile companies headquartered in the area, including McCormick & Company and Under Armour. You’ll need a salary greater than $153,576 to be considered rich here.

Next: Seattle, Washington

5. Seattle, Washington — more than $157,224

Seattle Cityscape

Many extremely wealthy people call Seattle home. | welcomia/iStock/Getty Images

  • How much it takes to be in the top 1% in Washington: $387,854
  • Median income in Seattle: $78,612

So many rich people live in Seattle — it’s a quick ride across the lake from Medina-based billionaires Bill Gates and Jeff Bezos. That’s part of the reason why it takes more than $157,224 to be considered rich in this city.

Next: Boston, Massachusetts

4. Boston, Massachusetts — more than $164,760

Boston City

You need to make about $165,000 to be considered rich. | Mihai Andritoiu/Getty Images

  • How much it takes to be in the top 1% in Massachusetts: $539,055
  • Median income in Boston: $82,380

With an insanely high median household income, you shouldn’t move to Boston without having a high-paying job lined up. Want to be considered rich in this historic town? Make sure your income tops $164,760.

Next: Washington, D.C.

3. Washington, D.C. — more than $191,686

homes for sale

Lots of high earners call D.C. home. | Saul Loeb/AFP/Getty Images

  • How much it takes to be in the top 1% in Washington, D.C.: $544,719
  • Median income in DC: $95,843

There are lots of top earners in the nation’s capital, and that fact is reflected in what it takes to be considered rich in this city. You’ll need to finagle a salary higher than $191,686 just to be rich, and more than half a million dollars to make it into the top 1%.

Next: San Francisco, California

2. San Francisco, California — more than $193,354

San Francisco Skyline with painted ladies

You’ll need to make a lot to afford San Francisco. | SeanPavonePhoto/iStock/Getty Images

  • How much it takes to be in the top 1% in California: $453,772
  • Median income in San Francisco: $96,677

People are going to extreme lengths to find affordable housing in San Francisco. One guy lived in a cardboard box in his friend’s living room and others are trying house sharing tiny houses, and living on boats. If your salary clocks in at close to $200,000, you should have no problem finding a decent place to live. But if your closer to the median income at $96,677, you may get stuck with an itty bitty apartment.

Next: San Jose, California

1. San Jose, California — more than $220,080

view of the historic Plaza de Cesar Chavez in San Jose, CA.

The median household income exceeds $100,000. | iStock.com/GerardoBrucker

  • How much it takes to be in the top 1% in California: $453,772
  • Median income in San Jose: $110,040

Don’t bother moving to San Jose — nicknamed “the capital of Silicon Valley” — unless you’ve got plenty of scratch. The median household income is a whopping $110,040, and you’d need to earn almost half a million per year to make it into the top 1%. Blame it on the plethora of high-paying technology jobs and Google headquarters being just a stone’s throw away.

Read more: 15 Worst States in America to Make a Living

Check out The Cheat Sheet on Facebook!

More Articles About:   ,  

More from The Cheat Sheet