10. Poughkeepsie-Newburgh-Middletown N.Y.
>Median household income: $66,734
>Population: 672,871 (79th highest)
>Unemployment rate: 7.6% (116th lowest)
>Pct. households below poverty line: 12.2% (49th lowest)
The last few years have proven difficult for Poughkeepsie area residents. Median income fell from $71,473 in 2007 to $66,734 in 2011, while the percentage of the population living below the poverty level has risen from 9.8% to 12.2% in that time. Additionally, just 7.1% of households earned in excess of $200,000 last year, above the national proportion of 5.6%. Although home prices fell by nearly 16% during that time, the area’s median home price of $279,400 in 2011 was more than $100,000 above the national median. The 2011 unemployment rate for the Poughkeepsie area was just 7.6%, significantly less than the national rate of 8.9% for the year.
9. Boulder, Colo.
>Median household income: $68,637
>Population: 299,378 (158th highest)
>Unemployment rate: 6.2% (45th lowest)
>Pct. households below poverty line: 14.1% (100th lowest)
Nearly 22% of Boulder’s working population was employed in professional, scientific and management services, the highest rate in the U.S. The largest employer in the area as of 2011 was the University of Colorado, with 6,800 jobs. Several technology giants also have a sizable presence in the area. IBM was the largest private-employer in the Boulder region, employing approximately 2,800 people. Oracle employed 1,900 people in the region, while Seagate Technology employed 1,104. This large flock of highly-skilled professionals led to 12.5% of households making more than $200,000 in 2011, the sixth highest proportion in the country. The median home value was $344,600, nearly twice the national figure.
8. Boston-Cambridge-Quincy, Mass.-N.H.
>Median household income: $69,455
>Population: 4,591,112 (10th highest)
>Unemployment rate: 6.6% (55th lowest)
>Pct. households below poverty line: 10.7% (22nd lowest)
Just 4.7% of Boston area residents did not have health insurance coverage in 2011, which is less than all but three metro areas — all of which are in Massachusetts. Over 27% of residents worked in either education or health care, while more than 14% worked in scientific or management positions. This isn’t surprising given Boston’s numerous top hospitals, universities and research institutions. The area also had some of the nation’s most expensive houses, with a 2011 median home value of $356,100 and 4.1% of homes worth over $1 million.
7. Anchorage, Alaska
>Median household income: $71,700
>Population: 387,516 (133rd highest)
>Unemployment rate: 6.7% (63rd lowest)
>Pct. households below poverty line: 8.7% (6th lowest)
Anchorage has a thriving petroleum industry, with companies such as BP employing thousands of people in the oil fields in generally middle-income positions. While home values fell in the vast majority of metropolitan areas between 2010 and 2011, in Anchorage they actually rose by almost 1%. The percentage of people on the opposite ends of the wealth spectrum was relatively small. Only 8.7% of households lived below the poverty line in 2011, well below the national rate of 15.9%. Meanwhile, just 6.8% of households earned $200,000 or more in 2011. While this was higher than the national rate of 5.6%, it is the only metro among the 10 richest where fewer than 10% earned more than $200,000 or more.
6. San Francisco-Oakland-Fremont, Calif.
>Median household income: $71,975
>Population: 4,391,037 (11th highest)
>Unemployment rate: 9.4% (127th highest)
>Pct. households below poverty line: 11.9% (45th lowest)
The median home value in the San Francisco area of $561,200 was the second highest, right behind the nearby San Jose metropolitan area. Meanwhile, more than 14% of homes were worth at least $1 million in 2011, the third-highest percentage of all metropolitan areas. More than one in six professionals in the area worked in professional, scientific and management services, the fourth-highest rate of all metro areas. High-skilled labor opportunities allowed 14.6% of households to earn more than $200,000 a year. Despite the success of some, the unemployment rate was more than half a percentage point above the national rate.