21 US Cities That Are Dominated By Rich People

Number of High-Income Households For Each County in the United States: 2007-2011

Photo: U.S. Census Brueau

If one thing is made clear by the latest Census report on the geographic concentration of high-income households, it’s this:Wealthy people love living on the water’s edge.

The report, which is based on data from the American Community Survey (2007-2011), zeroed in on not only which metro areas are home to the biggest bank accounts, but where these well-heeled residents are the most concentrated. Coastal towns were by far the most popular, including long-time favourites like California and Florida. 

With the final ranking in hand, we decided to dig a bit deeper. By breaking down each metro area in the report’s top wealthiest metropolitan areas by income tax rates, household income, and home value, we sought to explain not only where the wealthy live, but why.

These are the biggest metro areas with the highest concentration of wealthy residents. 

Tax rates are noted as percentages of income and were compiled from Institute for Taxation and Economic Policy data. Average household income data was provided by the U.S. Census Bureau. Average home price data was compiled from Census data and Zillow.

21. Philadelphia

6.9 per cent of households are in the top 5 per cent of earners nationally.

Average household income: $61,496

State tax rate for wealthiest 1 per cent: 4.4 per cent (Pennsylvania); 7 per cent (New Jersey)

State tax rate for next 4 per cent: 6.8 per cent (Pennsylvania); 8.8 per cent (New Jersey)

Average cost of single-family home: $214,900

Well-known wealthy inhabitants: Mary Alice Torrance Mallone, Brian Roberts

Extra: Philly Mag recently published an exclusive feature called 'Confessions of the One per cent.' It was billed as a chance for the city's richest to anonymously spill their secrets about life at the top of the economic food chain.

20. Honolulu

7 per cent of households are in the top 5 per cent of earners nationally.

Average household income: $71,263

Hawaii tax rate for wealthiest 1 per cent: 8 per cent

Hawaii tax rate for next 4 per cent: 7.5 per cent

Average single-family home cost: $607,600

Well-known wealthy residents: Pierre Omidyar

Extra: Although they aren't residents of The Aloha State, many people on America's rich list have oceanfront vacation homes in Hawaii, including Michael Dell and Charles Schwab.

19. Seattle

7.1 per cent of households are in the top 5 per cent of earners nationally.

Average household income: $67,023

Washington tax rate for wealthiest 1 per cent: 2.8 per cent

Washington tax rate for next 4 per cent: 4.7 per cent

Average single-family home cost: $295,700

Well-known wealthy inhabitants: Bill Gates, Jeff Bezos

Extra: Washington's tax rates are known for being the friendliest to the wealthy. The state doesn't have a tax on income and has low business taxes as well.

18. San Diego

7.3 per cent of households are in the top 5 per cent of earners nationally.

Average household income: $63,857

California tax rate for wealthiest 1 per cent: 8.8 per cent

California tax rate for next 4 per cent: 8.7 per cent

Average single-family home cost: $385,200

Extra: At least 20 members of the Forbes 400 have connections to the San Diego area, reports the San Diego Union-Tribune. Bill Gates is a member of the region's exclusive Del Mar Country Club, which is owned by the wife of another billionaire, T. Boone Pickens.

17. Hartford

7.4 per cent of households are in the top 5 per cent of earners nationally.

Average household income: $67,695

Connecticut tax rate for wealthiest 1 per cent: 5.5 per cent

Connecticut tax rate for next 4 per cent: 7.7 per cent

Average home cost: $235,800

Extra: Hartford has a long history of being one of America's wealthiest cities, but Connecticut's rich-poor gap has been noted for growing rapidly in recent years.

16. Santa Barbara

7.4 per cent of households are in the top 5 per cent of earners nationally.

Average household income: $61,896

California tax rate for wealthiest 1 per cent: 8.8 per cent

California tax rate for next 4 per cent: 8.7 per cent

Average home cost: $639,000

Well-known wealthy inhabitants: Rob Lowe

Extra: Google CEO Eric Schmidt also owns a $20 million estate in Montecito, a haven for celebrity homes.

15. Los Angeles

7.9 per cent of households are in the top 5 per cent of earners nationally.

Average household income: $60,667

California tax rate for wealthiest 1 per cent: 8.8 per cent

California tax rate for next 4 per cent: 8.7 per cent

Average home cost: $316,700

Well-known wealthy inhabitants: Steven Spielberg, David Murdock

Extra: California has the most metropolitan areas on the wealthy cities list by far. And Los Angeles made it up to the top 15 with its movie star-laden population.

14. Midland, TX

7.9 per cent of households are in the top 5 per cent of earners nationally.

Average household income: $57,807

Texas tax rate for wealthiest 1 per cent: 3.2 per cent

Texas tax rate for next 4 per cent: 4.8 per cent

Average home cost: $200,000

Extra: Petroleum-rich Midland has boomed in recent years with a swell in energy prices. Recently, it's unemployment level has been noted at an astonishingly low 3 per cent.

13. Baltimore

8 per cent of households are in the top 5 per cent of earners nationally.

Average household income: $67,891

Maryland tax rate for wealthiest 1 per cent: 6.4 per cent

Maryland tax rate for next 4 per cent: 8.3 per cent

Average home cost: $246,100

Well-known wealthy inhabitants: Stephen Bisciotti

Extra: In the market for millionaire? Towson was ranked No. 8 best city for the rich and single by Money magazine.

12. Naples

8.8 per cent of households are in the top 5 per cent of earners nationally.

Average household income: $56,876

Florida tax rate for wealthiest 1 per cent: 2.3 per cent

Florida tax rate for next 4 per cent: 4.3 per cent

Average home cost: $496,800

Well-known wealthy inhabitants: Shahid Khan, Tom Golisano

Extra: Like Washington, Florida also doesn't have an income tax, making it a warm-weather state the wealthy love.

11. Santa Cruz

9 per cent of households are in the top 5 per cent of earners nationally.

Average household income: $66,030

California tax rate for wealthiest 1 per cent: 8.8 per cent

California tax rate for next 4 per cent: 8.7 per cent

Average home cost: $555,800

Extra: Santa Cruz is also known for another kind of green. Its Pasatiempo Golf Club has been noted as one of the best in the country.

10. Napa

9.3 per cent of households are in the top 5 per cent of earners nationally.

Average household income: $68,641

California tax rate for wealthiest 1 per cent: 8.8 per cent

California tax rate for next 4 per cent: 8.7 per cent

Average home cost: $367,000

Well-known wealthy inhabitants: Francis Ford Coppola

Extra: Besides being one of the richest cities, Napa is also one of the happiest.

9. Boulder

9.4 per cent of households are in the top 5 per cent of earners nationally.

Average household income: $66,479

Colorado tax rate for wealthiest 1 per cent: 4.6 per cent

Colorado tax rate for next 4 per cent: 5.8 per cent

Average home cost: $358,100

Extra: Boulder also earned a top 20 spot in Money's best places for the rich and single, and it might be because its singles are so fit. The city is ranked No. 1 for people who walk to work and also has a wealth of bike trails.

8. Boston

9.7 per cent of households are in the top 5 per cent of earners nationally.

Average household income: $71,878

Massachusetts tax rate for wealthiest 1 per cent: 4.9 per cent

Massachusetts tax rate for next 4 per cent: 7.3 per cent

Average home cost: $357,300

Well-known wealthy inhabitants: Jack Welch

Extra: When Boston Magazine compiled its list of the 50 wealthiest Bostonians in 2006, it noted that one in five families living in Beantown were worth at least $1 million and the incomes of the wealthy had swelled twice as fast as the middle class since the '90s.

7. Oxnard, Calif.

9.7 per cent of households are in the top 5 per cent of earners nationally.

Average household income: $76,728

California tax rate for wealthiest 1 per cent: 8.8 per cent

California tax rate for next 4 per cent: 8.7 per cent

Average home cost: $298,800

Extra: Forbes noted this area as the ninth best-paying city in the U.S., with median mid-career salaries at $93,800.

6. New York City

10 per cent of households are in the top 5 per cent of earners nationally.

Average household income: $65,288

Tax rate for wealthiest 1 per cent: 6.9 per cent (NY); 7 per cent (NJ)

Tax rate for next 4 per cent: 11.0 per cent (NY); 8.8 per cent (NJ)

Average home cost: $393,700

Any well-known wealthy inhabitants: Rupert Murdoch, Michael Bloomberg

Extra: New York City has plenty of wealthy residents, but it's not as friendly toward those in the middle. Manhattanites have to earn at least $80,000 a year to enjoy a middle class lifestyle.

5. Trenton, NJ

11.6 per cent of households are in the top 5 per cent of earners nationally.

Average household income: $73,883

New Jersey tax rate for wealthiest 1 per cent: 7.0 per cent (as % of income)

New Jersey tax rate for next 4 per cent: 8.8 per cent (as % of income)

Average home cost: $250,700

Extra: Although Trenton earned a No. 5 spot on the list, Bloomberg notes that New Jersey's high tax rates often drive the rich away.

4. San Francisco

13 per cent of households are in the top 5 per cent of earners nationally.

Average household income: $76,911

California tax rate for wealthiest 1 per cent: 8.8 per cent

California tax rate for next 4 per cent: 8.7 per cent

Average home cost: $525,300

Well-known wealthy inhabitants: Mark Zuckerberg, Larry Page, Jack Dorsey

Extra: Eighteen members of the Forbes 400 have a residence in the Bay Area, but San Fran's rich residents don't stop there. 10 per cent of people living in the city have at least $1 million in the bank, says San Francisco Bay Guardian.

3. Washington, DC

14 per cent of households are in the top 5 per cent of earners nationally.

Average household income: $88,486

Tax rate for wealthiest 1 per cent: 6.3 per cent (DC); 4.9 per cent (Virginia)

Tax rate for next 4 per cent: 7.3 per cent (DC); 6.7 per cent (Virginia)

Average home cost: $325,300

Well-known wealthy inhabitants: Jacqueline Mars, Connie Chung, Maury Povich

Extra: Although the DC area ranks near the top of the rich cities list, not all its residents feel good about it. Some of the city's young and wealthy feel guilty about inheriting six-figure sums from their wealthy Washington parents.

2. San Jose

16 per cent of households are in the top 5 per cent of earners nationally.

Average household income: $88,339

California tax rate for 1 per cent: 8.8 per cent

California tax rate for next 4 per cent: 8.7 per cent

Average home cost: $602,400

Well-known wealthy inhabitants: George Lucas, Bill Gross

Extra: More than 15 per cent of residents in Silicon Alley cash in $191,000 a year, according to Mercury News, making it the highest-earning metro region in California.

1. Bridgeport/Stamford

18 per cent of households are in the top 5 per cent of earners nationally.

Average household income: $82,558

Connecticut tax rate for wealthiest 1 per cent: 5.5 per cent

Connecticut tax rate for next 4 per cent: 7.7 per cent (as % of income)

Average home cost: $408,600

Well-known wealthy inhabitants: Steve Cohen, Ray Dalio

Extra: Fairfield County clinched the No. 1 spot for the percentage of rich residents with real estate, and with a median household income above $80K, it's hard not to see why. The area's dining and night life are rushing to keep up with the influx of wealth, reports The Wall Street Journal, with a surge of new bars and restaurants setting up shop in downtown Stamford.

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