How Much Do Americans Really Pay in Taxes?

Personal Taxes, Taxes
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How Much do Americans Really Pay in Taxes?

The much-dreaded Tax Day is fast approaching, which means many Americans are scrambling to find old receipts and get their filings in order.

It’s no secret that how much you pay in taxes each year significantly affects your bottom line and your quality of life. The average U.S. household that owns a home will pay about $14,000 in income, sales and real estate taxes this year — that’s about 27% of their total income.

But not all taxes are equal: Your tax bill depends on where you live, so it’s important to know the role location plays in your tax obligations. NerdWallet crunched the numbers to see how much the average household in the 100 largest U.S. cities pays in annual taxes.

NerdWallet’s analysis

We looked at local, state and federal income tax rates for couples filing jointly and applied them to each city’s median household income and the corresponding income bracket to find average income taxes.

We also looked at local and state sales taxes and applied those rates to an estimated amount of money spent by the average household on items subject to sales tax.

Lastly, we analyzed average real estate taxes for households that own homes and arrived at two numbers for each city: average total taxes for home-owning households and average total taxes for non-homeowners.

Key findings

California premium. The state is home to four of the top five cities with the highest average taxes per household, including San Francisco and two cities in Silicon Valley — San Jose and Fremont. Households in San Francisco pay the highest percentage of their income toward taxes. Families who own homes pay an average of about $35,300 in annual taxes, while non-homeowners pay just over $30,200, about 39% of their household income.

Lowest taxes are in Florida. Several cities in Florida, which has no state income tax, have some of the lowest total taxes in the nation. In Hialeah, Florida, the average home-owning household pays over $6,100 in total income, sales and real estate taxes, or about 22% of their annual income. Families in Hialeah who don’t own homes pay an average of about $4,800 in taxes, or 18% of the average household income.

Best states for taxpayers: Mississippi, Florida and West Virginia have the lowest total taxes for average home-owning households.

Worst states for taxpayers: New Jersey, Connecticut and Washington, D.C., have the highest total taxes for average households that own homes.

Average total taxes by state

The map below shows how household taxes differ by state — the darker the state, the higher the average household’s tax bill. Click on a state to view median household income, average taxes per home-owning household and average taxes per non-homeowners. Use the drop-down selector on the right to view how the map changes for each of those three metrics.

100 largest U.S. cities average total taxes

Ranked by average total taxes for home-owning households

Rank Location Median household income Average federal, state and local income taxes Average sales taxes Average real estate taxes Average total taxes for non-homeowning households Non-homeowning households’ taxes as a percentage of income Average total taxes for households that own homes Taxes as percentage of income for households that own homes
1 Fremont, CA $104,838.00 $35,959.43 $3,431.83 $5,047.00 $39,391.27 37.57% $44,438.27 42.39%
2 Arlington, VA $102,501.00 $31,519.06 $2,236.89 $5,102.00 $33,755.95 32.93% $38,857.95 37.91%
3 Irvine, CA $87,830.00 $30,125.69 $2,555.63 $5,466.00 $32,681.32 37.21% $38,147.32 43.43%
4 San Jose, CA $80,977.00 $27,775.11 $2,577.12 $4,949.00 $30,352.23 37.48% $35,301.23 43.59%
5 San Francisco, CA $77,485.00 $27,739.63 $2,465.99 $5,094.00 $30,205.62 38.98% $35,299.62 45.56%
6 Gilbert, AZ $81,589.00 $23,138.64 $2,314.68 $1,686.00 $25,453.32 31.20% $27,139.32 33.26%
7 Plano, TX $80,448.00 $20,112.00 $2,413.98 $4,309.00 $22,525.98 28.00% $26,834.98 33.36%
8 Anchorage, AK $79,045.00 $19,761.25 $0.00 $3,978.00 $19,761.25 25.00% $23,739.25 30.03%
9 Washington, DC $67,572.00 $15,541.56 $1,413.19 $2,693.00 $16,954.75 25.09% $19,647.75 29.08%
10 San Diego, CA $63,456.00 $14,594.88 $1,846.41 $3,080.00 $16,441.29 25.91% $19,521.29 30.76%
11 Chula Vista, CA $60,882.00 $14,002.86 $1,771.51 $3,581.00 $15,774.37 25.91% $19,355.37 31.79%
12 New York City, NY $52,223.00 $12,972.19 $1,685.76 $3,824.00 $14,657.95 28.07% $18,481.95 35.39%
13 Anaheim, CA $57,550.00 $13,236.50 $1,674.56 $3,367.00 $14,911.06 25.91% $18,278.06 31.76%
14 Chesapeake, VA $67,252.00 $13,954.79 $1,467.65 $2,448.00 $15,422.44 22.93% $17,870.44 26.57%
15 Jersey City, NJ $54,700.00 $9,545.15 $1,392.68 $6,854.00 $10,937.83 20.00% $17,791.83 32.53%
16 Oakland, CA $54,394.00 $11,422.74 $1,780.57 $4,228.00 $13,203.31 24.27% $17,431.31 32.05%
17 Scottsdale, AZ $69,690.00 $12,795.08 $2,015.13 $2,182.00 $14,810.21 21.25% $16,992.21 24.38%
19 Seattle, WA $70,172.00 $10,525.80 $2,424.67 $3,748.00 $12,950.47 18.46% $16,698.47 23.80%
18 Chandler, AZ $71,545.00 $13,135.66 $2,029.73 $1,571.00 $15,165.39 21.20% $16,736.39 23.39%
20 Virginia Beach, VA $62,855.00 $13,042.41 $1,371.69 $2,242.00 $14,414.10 22.93% $16,656.10 26.50%
22 Honolulu, HI $61,559.00 $13,912.33 $1,007.56 $1,625.00 $14,919.89 24.24% $16,544.89 26.88%
21 Portland, OR $55,571.00 $13,337.04 $0.00 $3,257.00 $13,337.04 24.00% $16,594.04 29.86%
23 Madison, WI $49,546.00 $10,538.43 $991.14 $4,573.00 $11,529.58 23.27% $16,102.58 32.50%
24 Long Beach, CA $52,116.00 $10,944.36 $1,706.00 $2,984.00 $12,650.36 24.27% $15,634.36 30.00%
25 Minneapolis, MN $50,563.00 $11,149.14 $1,429.88 $2,927.00 $12,579.02 24.88% $15,506.02 30.67%
27 Los Angeles, CA $48,466.00 $10,177.86 $1,586.52 $3,577.00 $11,764.38 24.27% $15,341.38 31.65%
26 Bakersfield, CA $54,763.00 $11,500.23 $1,493.87 $2,370.00 $12,994.10 23.73% $15,364.10 28.06%
28 Boston, MA $53,583.00 $10,823.77 $1,218.07 $3,160.00 $12,041.84 22.47% $15,201.84 28.37%
29 Riverside, CA $54,300.00 $11,403.00 $1,579.99 $2,067.00 $12,982.99 23.91% $15,049.99 27.72%
30 Raleigh, NC $55,170.00 $11,475.36 $1,354.48 $1,872.00 $12,829.84 23.26% $14,701.84 26.65%
32 Austin, TX $56,351.00 $8,452.65 $1,690.91 $4,467.00 $10,143.56 18.00% $14,610.56 25.93%
31 St. Paul, MN $49,469.00 $10,907.91 $1,371.95 $2,368.00 $12,279.86 24.82% $14,647.86 29.61%
33 Chicago, IL $47,099.00 $9,419.80 $1,584.60 $3,458.00 $11,004.40 23.36% $14,462.40 30.71%
34 Durham, NC $50,522.00 $10,508.58 $1,378.18 $2,354.00 $11,886.76 23.53% $14,240.76 28.19%
35 Charlotte, NC $51,034.00 $10,615.07 $1,345.74 $1,972.00 $11,960.82 23.44% $13,932.82 27.30%
36 Lincoln, NE $49,419.00 $9,888.74 $1,258.22 $2,747.00 $11,146.96 22.56% $13,893.96 28.11%
37 Santa Ana, CA $47,914.00 $10,061.94 $1,394.18 $2,345.00 $11,456.12 23.91% $13,801.12 28.80%
38 Lexington-Fayette, KY $47,535.00 $10,956.82 $1,037.36 $1,590.00 $11,994.18 25.23% $13,584.18 28.58%
39 Sacramento, CA $48,034.00 $10,087.14 $1,485.02 $1,896.00 $11,572.16 24.09% $13,468.16 28.04%
40 Omaha, NE $47,512.00 $9,507.15 $1,209.67 $2,680.00 $10,716.82 22.56% $13,396.82 28.20%
41 Atlanta, GA $46,485.00 $9,761.85 $1,352.60 $2,193.00 $11,114.45 23.91% $13,307.45 28.63%
42 Kansas City, MO $45,551.00 $10,021.22 $1,383.41 $1,745.00 $11,404.63 25.04% $13,149.63 28.87%
45 Nashville, TN $46,803.00 $9,828.63 $1,574.64 $1,667.00 $11,403.27 24.36% $13,070.27 27.93%
43 Boise, ID $47,847.00 $10,717.73 $1,044.17 $1,385.00 $11,761.90 24.58% $13,146.90 27.48%
44 Columbus, OH $44,426.00 $9,444.97 $1,211.89 $2,434.00 $10,656.86 23.99% $13,090.86 29.47%
47 Colorado Springs, CO $53,550.00 $10,511.87 $1,486.10 $1,023.00 $11,997.97 22.41% $13,020.97 24.32%
46 Denver, CO $51,089.00 $10,097.77 $1,421.52 $1,505.00 $11,519.29 22.55% $13,024.29 25.49%
48 Baltimore, MD $42,266.00 $9,636.65 $922.37 $2,409.00 $10,559.02 24.98% $12,968.02 30.68%
49 Henderson, NV $60,819.00 $9,122.85 $1,791.80 $1,785.00 $10,914.65 17.95% $12,699.65 20.88%
50 Albuquerque, NM $48,357.00 $9,623.04 $1,231.18 $1,833.00 $10,854.23 22.45% $12,687.23 26.24%
51 Louisville, KY $44,893.00 $10,325.39 $979.70 $1,344.00 $11,305.09 25.18% $12,649.09 28.18%
53 Fort Worth, TX $52,430.00 $7,864.50 $1,573.25 $2,918.00 $9,437.75 18.00% $12,355.75 23.57%
52 Newark, NJ $32,973.00 $6,083.52 $839.50 $5,608.00 $6,923.02 21.00% $12,531.02 38.00%
54 Irving, TX $51,722.00 $7,758.30 $1,552.01 $2,914.00 $9,310.31 18.00% $12,224.31 23.63%
55 Oklahoma City, OK $46,232.00 $9,361.98 $1,408.29 $1,449.00 $10,770.27 23.30% $12,219.27 26.43%
56 Aurora, CO $49,142.00 $9,670.57 $1,251.17 $1,252.00 $10,921.74 22.22% $12,173.74 24.77%
58 Arlington, TX $51,400.00 $7,710.00 $1,495.61 $2,877.00 $9,205.61 17.91% $12,082.61 23.51%
57 Norfolk, VA $44,030.00 $9,136.23 $960.87 $2,030.00 $10,097.10 22.93% $12,127.10 27.54%
59 Pittsburgh, PA $42,004.00 $8,850.24 $1,069.43 $1,542.00 $9,919.68 23.62% $11,461.68 27.29%
60 Greensboro, NC $41,150.00 $8,559.20 $1,010.27 $1,884.00 $9,569.47 23.26% $11,453.47 27.83%
63 Phoenix, AZ $46,601.00 $8,555.94 $1,406.82 $1,269.00 $9,962.76 21.38% $11,231.76 24.10%
61 Milwaukee, WI $35,186.00 $7,484.06 $716.68 $3,144.00 $8,200.74 23.31% $11,344.74 32.24%
62 Wichita, KS $43,538.00 $8,620.52 $1,132.24 $1,486.00 $9,752.77 22.40% $11,238.77 25.81%
66 Corpus Christi, TX $49,686.00 $7,452.90 $1,490.92 $2,168.00 $8,943.82 18.00% $11,111.82 22.36%
64 Mesa, AZ $47,561.00 $8,732.20 $1,392.55 $999.00 $10,124.75 21.29% $11,123.75 23.39%
65 Tulsa, OK $41,495.00 $8,402.74 $1,285.43 $1,425.00 $9,688.16 23.35% $11,113.16 26.78%
67 Stockton, CA $42,114.00 $8,001.66 $1,378.59 $1,679.00 $9,380.25 22.27% $11,059.25 26.26%
68 Houston, TX $45,353.00 $6,802.95 $1,360.90 $2,626.00 $8,163.85 18.00% $10,789.85 23.79%
69 Garland, TX $45,848.00 $6,877.20 $1,375.75 $2,390.00 $8,252.95 18.00% $10,642.95 23.21%
70 Memphis, TN $36,722.00 $7,711.62 $1,235.47 $1,672.00 $8,947.09 24.36% $10,619.09 28.92%
71 San Antonio, TX $45,399.00 $6,809.85 $1,362.28 $2,412.00 $8,172.13 18.00% $10,584.13 23.31%
72 Philadelphia, PA $36,836.00 $8,103.18 $1,071.83 $1,376.00 $9,175.02 24.91% $10,551.02 28.64%
73 Indianapolis, IN $41,361.00 $8,280.47 $1,053.06 $1,206.00 $9,333.53 22.57% $10,539.53 25.48%
74 Fresno, CA $40,179.00 $7,634.01 $1,201.99 $1,622.00 $8,836.00 21.99% $10,458.00 26.03%
75 Las Vegas, NV $49,289.00 $7,393.35 $1,452.11 $1,490.00 $8,845.46 17.95% $10,335.46 20.97%
76 North Las Vegas, NV $50,133.00 $7,519.95 $1,476.98 $1,310.00 $8,996.93 17.95% $10,306.93 20.56%
78 Dallas, TX $41,978.00 $6,296.70 $1,259.62 $2,659.00 $7,556.32 18.00% $10,215.32 24.33%
79 Reno, NV $48,740.00 $7,311.00 $1,369.46 $1,479.00 $8,680.46 17.81% $10,159.46 20.84%
77 Winston-Salem, NC $37,322.00 $7,762.98 $916.29 $1,550.00 $8,679.27 23.26% $10,229.27 27.41%
80 Lubbock, TX $45,728.00 $6,859.20 $1,372.15 $1,874.00 $8,231.35 18.00% $10,105.35 22.10%
81 Glendale, AZ $41,037.00 $7,534.39 $1,373.18 $1,176.00 $8,907.58 21.71% $10,083.58 24.57%
82 El Paso, TX $41,129.00 $6,169.35 $1,234.15 $2,555.00 $7,403.50 18.00% $9,958.50 24.21%
84 Laredo, TX $40,599.00 $6,089.85 $1,218.24 $2,586.00 $7,308.09 18.00% $9,894.09 24.37%
83 Cincinnati, OH $34,605.00 $7,031.74 $849.59 $2,077.00 $7,881.32 22.78% $9,958.32 28.78%
85 St. Louis, MO $34,488.00 $7,587.36 $1,088.69 $1,214.00 $8,676.05 25.16% $9,890.05 28.68%
86 Jacksonville, FL $47,424.00 $7,113.60 $1,207.43 $1,389.00 $8,321.03 17.55% $9,710.03 20.47%
87 Fort Wayne, IN $39,878.00 $7,736.33 $1,015.30 $928.00 $8,751.64 21.95% $9,679.64 24.27%
88 New Orleans, LA $36,631.00 $6,959.89 $1,199.10 $1,436.00 $8,158.99 22.27% $9,594.99 26.19%
89 Paradise, NV $45,201.00 $6,780.15 $1,331.67 $1,242.00 $8,111.82 17.95% $9,353.82 20.69%
90 Baton Rouge, LA $38,321.00 $7,280.99 $1,254.42 $741.00 $8,535.41 22.27% $9,276.41 24.21%
91 Buffalo, NY $32,392.00 $6,948.08 $1,030.89 $1,184.00 $7,978.97 24.63% $9,162.97 28.29%
92 Tampa, FL $42,649.00 $6,397.35 $1,085.86 $1,482.00 $7,483.21 17.55% $8,965.21 21.02%
93 St. Petersburg, FL $43,894.00 $6,584.10 $1,117.55 $1,196.00 $7,701.65 17.55% $8,897.65 20.27%
94 Tucson, AZ $35,720.00 $6,386.74 $1,052.35 $1,394.00 $7,439.09 20.83% $8,833.09 24.73%
95 Toledo, OH $31,907.00 $6,531.36 $812.36 $1,440.00 $7,343.72 23.02% $8,783.72 27.53%
96 Orlando, FL $41,345.00 $6,201.75 $977.47 $1,537.00 $7,179.22 17.36% $8,716.22 21.08%
97 Miami, FL $31,070.00 $4,660.50 $791.05 $2,595.00 $5,451.55 17.55% $8,046.55 25.90%
99 Cleveland, OH $26,096.00 $5,276.61 $759.33 $1,263.00 $6,035.94 23.13% $7,298.94 27.97%
98 Detroit, MI $24,820.00 $5,398.35 $541.65 $1,368.00 $5,940.00 23.93% $7,308.00 29.44%
100 Hialeah, FL $27,371.00 $4,105.65 $696.87 $1,347.00 $4,802.52 17.55% $6,149.52 22.47%


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Methodology

Sources: Tax Foundation, U.S. Census Bureau’s American Community Survey, Bureau of Labor Statistics and each city government for local sales tax rates.

For income taxes, we used each city’s median household income and local, state and federal income tax rates based on the corresponding income tax brackets. We multiplied the combined rate with the median income to arrive at the average income tax for each city.

For sales taxes, we used the Consumer Expenditure Survey to estimate the percentage of income the average American household spends on items that are subject to sales tax — food, alcohol, furniture and other equipment, apparel, entertainment, supplies and more.  We then multiplied that percentage with each city’s median household income and then applied the combined state and local sales tax for an average sales tax.

Average real estate taxes are from the American Community Survey.

To calculate average total taxes for households that own their homes, we took the sum of income, sales and real estate taxes. For non-homeowning households, we omitted real estate taxes.


Tax time image via iStock.