The highest-earning US city isn’t out west, where the high-paid techies reside, nor is it on the banker-laden east coast, home to a handful of Wall Street moguls.
It’s in western Texas. Specifically, Midland, which lies between Fort Worth and El Paso.
In a recent report that analysed 229 US metro areas, the Pew Research Center found the median household income of Midland residents to be $90,743. That’s 45% greater than the national median of $62,462.
“Nationwide, the median income of US households in 2014 stood at 8% less than in 1999, a reminder that the economy has yet to fully recover from the effects of the Great Recession of 2007-09,” Pew reports.
“The decline was pervasive, with median incomes falling in 190 of 229 metropolitan areas examined. … Midland bucked the prevailing trend with the median income there rising 37% from 1999 to 2014, the greatest increase among the areas examined.”
Additionally, Midland has the largest share of upper-class residents: 37%. The median household income of that 37% is $181,282.
The city actually benefited from the shrinking middle class, Pew explains: “The share of adults in middle-income households in Midland decreased from 53% in 2000 to 43% in 2014, the fourth-largest drop in the nation. But this was accompanied by rapid growth in the share of adults in upper-income households in Midland, which doubled from 18% in 2000 to 37% in 2014.”
Why is this metro in western Texas thriving?
It’s rich in energy resources, Pew says, and “benefited from the boom in global oil prices in the post-Great Recession era.”
Pew does note, however, that “the sharp decline in oil prices since 2014 may put the Midland economy to the test.”