Richest Counties in Alabama (2024)

by Kristen Carney Kristen Carney

Updated: June 20, 2024

Richest County in Alabama

The richest county in Alabama is Shelby County with an average household income of $118,066 as of 2022 and 233,000 people as of 2023 according to the most current Census data available (citation).

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20 Richest Counties in Alabama

Rank County Population Average Income Median Income
1 Shelby County 233,000 $118,066 $90,618
2 Madison County 412,600 $107,154 $78,058
3 Limestone County 114,654 $99,315 $80,146
4 Baldwin County 253,507 $96,027 $71,039
5 Jefferson County 662,895 $93,745 $63,595
6 Elmore County 90,441 $90,524 $73,258
7 Autauga County 60,342 $90,372 $68,315
8 St. Clair County 95,552 $88,263 $73,218
9 Lee County 183,215 $84,719 $59,288
10 Morgan County 125,133 $82,600 $61,588
11 Tuscaloosa County 237,373 $82,543 $61,645
12 Montgomery County 224,980 $79,962 $56,707
13 Crenshaw County 13,101 $78,621 $48,557
14 Coffee County 55,643 $78,477 $62,199
15 Houston County 108,462 $78,415 $55,064
16 Marshall County 100,756 $77,500 $58,272
17 Washington County 15,022 $76,832 $51,184
18 Lauderdale County 96,814 $76,624 $56,081
19 Blount County 59,816 $75,954 $57,440
20 Cullman County 92,016 $75,873 $58,119

Median Income versus Average Income: Which Should You Use?

We usually suggest using median income data – either instead of or in addition to – average income data as a true indicator of wealth. If you haven’t thought about median versus average since your last standardized test, you aren’t alone. Here’s what they are:

  • average is the sum of a set of numbers divided by the count of numbers in the set
  • median is the middle number in the set of numbers
illustation of median vs average

Now let’s say you had the following simplified set of income data.

Household 1: $30,000
Household 2: $50,000
Household 3: $1,000,000

The average income for this set is $360,000. The outlier data point ($1,000,000) skews the average WAY up. Conversely, the average income would be skewed WAY down if someone had an income of $500. The median income for the same data set is $50,000. Outlier data doesn’t skew the median.

Most Business Owners Should Use Median Income

So most business owners should use the median income as a true indicator of wealth, because it provides a more accurate representation of a typical income, especially in areas with significant income disparity.

When Should You Use Average Income

If your target market is high-income households, the average income may be more relevant. This is because the average income can highlight the presence of a higher concentration of wealthy individuals, which is beneficial for luxury goods and services marketing. We’re using average income on this page because using the Census’s highest reported median value of $250,001 could result in multiple ties for the richest geography.

Why do so many cities have a median value of $250,001?

The Census' American Community Survey uses $250,000+ as a jam value for median income estimates to protect privacy, ensure data consistency, and simplify reporting. A "jam value" in survey data refers to a placeholder or default value used when actual data points are unavailable, incomplete, or exceed certain thresholds. We represent this jam value as $250,001 to make it easy for you to sort.

SOURCES

United States Census Bureau. Annual Estimates of the Resident Population: April 1, 2020 to July 1, 2023. U.S. Census Bureau, Population Division. Web. May 2024. http://www.census.gov/.

United States Census Bureau. B01001 SEX BY AGE, 2022 American Community Survey 5-Year Estimates. U.S. Census Bureau, American Community Survey Office. Web. 7 December 2023. http://www.census.gov/.

United States Census Bureau. B19013 Median Household Income, 2022 American Community Survey 5-Year Estimates. U.S. Census Bureau, American Community Survey Office. Web. 7 December 2023. http://www.census.gov/.

United States Census Bureau. “DP03 SELECTED ECONOMIC CHARACTERISTICS.” 2022 American Community Survey 5-Year Estimates. U.S. Census Bureau, American Community Survey Office. Web. 07 December 2023. http://www.census.gov/.

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