What Americans in Every State Will Pay in Taxes Over a Lifetime

What Americans in Every State Will Pay in Taxes Over a Lifetime
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Editor’s Note: This story originally appeared on Self.

The U.S. government collects over $5.3 trillion in taxes each year, but how much will the average American pay in taxes throughout their lifetime?

We used the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics’ expenditure numbers to see what we as Americans were spending each day to work out what taxes we would be paying until we’re no longer able to contribute financially. It’s a lot.

We’ve analyzed this data specific to each state so you can see what you may be giving to your government in taxes across your entire life.

Key statistics

Calculator tax savings
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  • The average American will pay $525,037 in taxes throughout their lifetime.
  • That’s an average of 34.3% of all lifetime earnings spent on taxes.
  • Residents of New Jersey will pay the most in lifetime taxes and people in West Virginia will pay the least.
  • Tax on earnings is where most tax will come from, with the average American paying $339,173 in a lifetime.
  • Owning a car will cost an additional $29,521 in tax payments alone.
  • Tax on property will set you back an additional $128,581 above the property price and maintenance.
  • Taxpayers in California will pay the most on everyday expenses ($40,084), followed by New Yorkers ($39,745).

Now, let’s take a look state by state.

1. New Jersey

Ocean City, New Jersey waterfront homes
MSPhotographic / Shutterstock.com

Lifetime taxes: $931,698

Percent of lifetime earnings as taxes: 49.51%

2. Massachusetts

Springfield, Massachusetts
Sean Pavone / Shutterstock.com

Lifetime taxes: $827,185

Percent of lifetime earnings as taxes: 43.96%

3. Connecticut

The skyline of Hartford Connecticut, where median rents are relatively low
Sean Pavone / Shutterstock.com

Lifetime taxes: $805,213

Percent of lifetime earnings as taxes: 42.79%

4. Washington, D.C.

Washington, D.C.
Sean Pavone / Shutterstock.com

Lifetime taxes: $789,934

Percent of lifetime earnings as taxes: 35.49%

5. New Hampshire

covered bridge
Jon Bilous / Shutterstock.com

Lifetime taxes: $778,837

Percent of lifetime earnings as taxes: 45.99%

6. Rhode Island

Providence, Rhode Island
Sean Pavone / Shutterstock.com

Lifetime taxes: $766,521

Percent of lifetime earnings as taxes: 46.73%

7. New York

Albany, New York
Sean Pavone / Shutterstock.com

Lifetime taxes: $734,563

Percent of lifetime earnings as taxes: 43.80%

8. California

Santa Ana, California
Matt Gush / Shutterstock.com

Lifetime taxes: $710,882

Percent of lifetime earnings as taxes: 44.98%

9. Maryland

U.S. Naval Academy
Sean Pavone / Shutterstock.com

Lifetime taxes: $699,586

Percent of lifetime earnings as taxes: 37.37%

10. Illinois

Chicago, Illinois
f11photo / Shutterstock.com

Lifetime taxes: $693,792

Percent of lifetime earnings as taxes: 42.87%

11. Washington

Bellevue, Washington
mandritoiu / Shutterstock.com

Lifetime taxes: $692,563

Percent of lifetime earnings as taxes: 41.43%

12. Alaska

Sitka, Alaska waterfront, mountains in background.
Marc Cappelletti / Shutterstock.com

Lifetime taxes: $680,624

Percent of lifetime earnings as taxes: 38.06%

13. Vermont

Vermont
DonLand / Shutterstock.com

Lifetime taxes: $664,357

Percent of lifetime earnings as taxes: 43.14%

14. Minnesota

St Paul Minnesota
Henryk Sadura / Shutterstock.com

Lifetime taxes: $649,130

Percent of lifetime earnings as taxes: 39.52%

15. Virginia

Arlington, Virginia
Sean Pavone / Shutterstock.com

Lifetime taxes: $646,140

Percent of lifetime earnings as taxes: 39.80%

16. Colorado

Denver Colorado
Kevin Ruck / Shutterstock.com

Lifetime taxes: $626,020

Percent of lifetime earnings as taxes: 39.39%

17. Wisconsin

Milwaukee, Wisconsin
Rudy Balasko / Shutterstock.com

Lifetime taxes: $607,563

Percent of lifetime earnings as taxes: 40.95%

18. Pennsylvania

Philadelphia, Pennsylvania at dusk
f11photo / Shutterstock.com

Lifetime taxes: $597,167

Percent of lifetime earnings as taxes: 39.00%

19. Iowa

Dubuque, Iowa
Joseph Sohm / Shutterstock.com

Lifetime taxes: $566,352

Percent of lifetime earnings as taxes: 38.79%

20. Utah

Salt Lake City, Utah
f11photo / Shutterstock.com

Lifetime taxes: $566,216

Percent of lifetime earnings as taxes: 38.16%

21. Ohio

Akron, Ohio
Sean Pavone / Shutterstock.com

Lifetime taxes: $561,142

Percent of lifetime earnings as taxes: 38.44%

22. North Dakota

Fargo, North Dakota
Jacob Boomsma / Shutterstock.com

Lifetime taxes: $558,690

Percent of lifetime earnings as taxes: 36.95%

23. Michigan

Detroit, Michigan
Stephanie Kenner / Shutterstock.com

Lifetime taxes: $558,015

Percent of lifetime earnings as taxes: 38.02%

24. Wyoming

People kayaking on a lake with a mountain in the background.
B Brown / Shutterstock.com

Lifetime taxes: $547,861

Percent of lifetime earnings as taxes: 35.50%

25. Hawaii

Honolulu, Hawaii
Filip Carmen / Shutterstock.com

Lifetime taxes: $535,385

Percent of lifetime earnings as taxes: 35.41%

26. Delaware

Wilmington, Delaware
Paul Brady Photography / Shutterstock.com

Lifetime taxes: $508,182

Percent of lifetime earnings as taxes: 31.40%

27. Texas

Corpus Christi Texas
Sean Pavone / Shutterstock.com

Lifetime taxes: $473,007

Percent of lifetime earnings as taxes: 32.60%

28. Maine

Bar Harbor, Maine
f11photo / Shutterstock.com

Lifetime taxes: $468,370

Percent of lifetime earnings as taxes: 33.28%

29. Nebraska

Lincoln, Nebraska
Mark Dahmke / Shutterstock.com

Lifetime taxes: $458,304

Percent of lifetime earnings as taxes: 31.68%

30. Kansas

Overland Park Kansas
Jacob Boomsma / Shutterstock.com

Lifetime taxes: $430,014

Percent of lifetime earnings as taxes: 29.86%

31. Oregon

Portland, Oregon waterfront
Josemaria Toscano / Shutterstock.com

Lifetime taxes: $423,466

Percent of lifetime earnings as taxes: 29.41%

32. Arizona

Phoenix, Arizona
f11photo / Shutterstock.com

Lifetime taxes: $420,603

Percent of lifetime earnings as taxes: 29.41%

33. Missouri

Kansas City, Missouri
Scruggelgreen / Shutterstock.com

Lifetime taxes: $412,658

Percent of lifetime earnings as taxes: 29.79%

34. Nevada

Las Vegas Skyline
littlenySTOCK / Shutterstock.com

Lifetime taxes: $409,712

Percent of lifetime earnings as taxes: 30.68%

35. South Dakota

Rapid City, South Dakota
Sopotnicki / Shutterstock.com

Lifetime taxes: $387,013

Percent of lifetime earnings as taxes: 29.49%

36. Georgia

Kennesaw, Georgia
Demetrius C / Shutterstock.com

Lifetime taxes: $380,875

Percent of lifetime earnings as taxes: 27.02%

37. Florida

Hollywood Florida
Richard Cavalleri / Shutterstock.com

Lifetime taxes: $378,184

Percent of lifetime earnings as taxes: 29.13%

38. Idaho

Idaho state capital building
Charles Knowles / Shutterstock.com

Lifetime taxes: $372,064

Percent of lifetime earnings as taxes: 29.13%

39. Indiana

Indianapolis, Indiana
Alexey Stiop / Shutterstock.com

Lifetime taxes: $366,957

Percent of lifetime earnings as taxes: 26.14%

40. North Carolina

Charlotte North Carolina
Kevin Ruck / Shutterstock.com

Lifetime taxes: $362,634

Percent of lifetime earnings as taxes: 27.16%

41. South Carolina

Spartanburg, South Carolina
Kevin Ruck / Shutterstock.com

Lifetime taxes: $354,054

Percent of lifetime earnings as taxes: 27.27%

42. Tennessee

Nashville, Tennessee
jdross75 / Shutterstock.com

Lifetime taxes: $347,826

Percent of lifetime earnings as taxes: 26.50%

43. Kentucky

Louisville Kentucky
Sean Pavone / Shutterstock.com

Lifetime taxes: $346,778

Percent of lifetime earnings as taxes: 26.10%

44. New Mexico

Santa Fe, New Mexico
Sean Pavone / Shutterstock.com

Lifetime taxes: $346,510

Percent of lifetime earnings as taxes: 26.74%

45. Mississippi

Gulf Coast at Biloxi, Mississippi.
Joseph Sohm / Shutterstock.com

Lifetime taxes: $344,036

Percent of lifetime earnings as taxes: 28.60%

46. Oklahoma

Oklahoma City, Oklahoma
Austin Urton / Shutterstock.com

Lifetime taxes: $341,646

Percent of lifetime earnings as taxes: 26.00%

47. Louisiana

New Orleans Louisiana
Tim Roberts Photography / Shutterstock.com

Lifetime taxes: $339,910

Percent of lifetime earnings as taxes: 24.54%

48. Montana

Livingston, Montana
Nick Fox / Shutterstock.com

Lifetime taxes: $334,173

Percent of lifetime earnings as taxes: 25.74%

49. Arkansas

Little Rock, Arkansas
Joseph Sohm / Shutterstock.com

Lifetime taxes: $331,023

Percent of lifetime earnings as taxes: 26.65%

50. Alabama

Huntsville Alabama cityscape skyline
By Sean Pavone / Shutterstock.com

Lifetime taxes: $322,419

Percent of lifetime earnings as taxes: 24.48%

51. West Virginia

West Virginia
Sean Pavone / Shutterstock.com

Lifetime taxes: $321,023

Percent of lifetime earnings as taxes: 25.13%

Methodology

Man analyzing data on a laptop
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We used the Consumer Expenditure Report (2019) from the Bureau of Labor Statistics to understand the main average household spending habits. We took this data and divided it by 2 to create a personal spending report for one American.

We then took this spending data and applied state-specific taxes on each expenditure. Car property tax and sales tax data was also analyzed at a state level based on the average number of vehicles the average American will own over 60 years and a purchase cost of $25,000.

The tax paid on earnings was based on state-level tax and federal income taxes when applied to the average salaries in each state. While Alaska does not implement a statewide sales tax, it does allow localities to charge local sales taxes, which we have gathered as an average to analyze via the Tax Foundation.

A work life of 36 years was used to analyze income taxes based on data from the study “Total Worklife Expectancy” in the Journal of Forensic Economics. The average number of years in which an individual will pay taxes on expenditures was derived from the age of 18 and the average life expectancy of 79 as dictated by the World Bank.

Inheritance tax was excluded from this study as it was deemed the average American would not have to pay this due to inheritance thresholds not being exceeded. Marriage and its effect on taxes was also not applied to this study as it did not impact taxes in the vast majority of cases representing the average American taxpayer. Data sources include:

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