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What Does It Take to Be in the Top 1% of Earners in New York?

These are real-life Bruce Waynes. Hats off to them.

The one percent in New York City is some of the richest people in the world

When you think of New York, you think of a sprawling metropolis with soaring skyscrapers and the biggest commercial brands the free market has to offer.

In other words, New York means wealth, and you can’t convince us otherwise.

Ever wonder what it’s like to be one of the 1% of richest people in the Empire State?

That sounds like a benchmark in and of itself, like being included in the Fortune 500 or the Forbes 30 under 30. For those who dream of joining New York’s elite one day, how much money do they need to stash in their bank accounts?

This state has some REALLY rich folks

In 2017, the average annual income among the state’s top 5% earners was $480,780. At that time, in order to even be included in the top 5%, you had to make $250,000 a year.

Let that sink in for a moment.

As a matter of fact, New York was one of eight states that year with a $250,000 threshold for making the top 5%. (In case you’re wondering, that list also includes Connecticut. You didn’t think we were going to leave Connecticut out of this discussion, did you?)

If the top 5% isn’t lofty enough for you, try putting yourself in the shoes of the 1%. 

Back in 2017, the minimum annual income for the state’s top 1% was $550,174. In comparison, the threshold on a national level was $421,926 at that time. (Of course the rest of the country wasn’t up to par. It’s New York—what did you expect?) 

That same year, the average annual income among New York’s top 1% was $2.2 million. That’s not quite Michael Bloomberg levels, but still, how many people actually get to call themselves a millionaire? Sounds like a great thing to put on a resume.

Case in point: New York City

Ready for more staggering numbers? Let’s zero in on the Big Apple.

Here’s what Bloomberg (see what we did there?) reported about New York City’s earnings in 2018: “The top 1%—about 38,700 taxpayers—earned almost as much as the bottom 90%…The top 5% earned more than the bottom 95%.”

Moreover, New York City’s top 1% accounted for 42.5% of all income taxes collected in 2018 thanks to the $4.9 billion they poured in the public coffer. In other words, if you’re earning way more than the rest of the pack, you’d better pay bigger taxes. (Unless, of course, you want to make the headlines for all the wrong reasons.)

The latest mind-boggling numbers

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By 2021, the bar for New York state had been raised higher than the Chrysler Building. That year, the state threshold for gross adjusted income had shot up to $777,126. SmartAsset further reported that New York’s top 1% had accounted for 48.1% of the state’s income tax revenue.

As far as the minimum income required to qualify for the top 1%, how did New York stack up against other states? No surprises here: in 2021, New York came in at number three among states with the highest 1% income threshold. Only Connecticut (duh!) and Massachusetts outdid the Empire State in this regard.

By all indications, the standards for minimum income—and annual income, for that matter—will continue to trend upwards in 2022. Though the goalposts continue to move, don’t stop hustling and bustling to make it to the top 1%.

Who knows? Someday, you may be Scrooge McDuck swimming in a pool of your vast wealth.

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