1. Mountain Brook, Alabama
> Town median household income: $131,281
> State median household income: $43,253
> Town population: 20,416
Mountain Brook, located just outside Birmingham, had a median household income of $131,281. This was more than three times the comparable figure for Alabama, which was nearly the lowest of all states. As in the richest towns in the vast majority of states, Mountain Brook residents were well educated. More than 85% had a bachelor’s degree, and 99.5% had completed at least high school. More than 85% of housing units in Mountain Brook were owned by their occupants, well above the national homeownership rate of about 65%.
2. Unalaska, Alaska
> Town median household income: $89,706
> State median household income: $70,760
> Town population: 4,362
Unalaska is located on one of the largest islands that make up the Aleutian Arc in the Northern Pacific Ocean. The town is also the wealthiest in Alaska, although the median household income of $89,706 was not especially high compared to the state’s median household income, which at $70,760 was the third highest of all states. An unusually low 13.7% of area adults had a bachelor’s degree, one of only six richest towns where the college attainment rate did not exceed the national rate.
3. Paradise Valley, Arizona
> Town median household income: $125,880
> State median household income: $49,774
> Town population: 13,070
As in the richest towns in most states, Paradise Valley residents were far more likely than most Americans to own their homes. More than 93% of area housing units were owned by their occupants, one of the highest homeownership rates in the country. High-paying jobs in high-paying industries largely account for the area’s wealth — 16.5% of the town’s workforce was employed in finance and insurance, real estate, or rental and leasing. This was well above the state proportion of 7.9%, which itself was the fifth highest compared to other states.
4. Maumelle, Arkansas
> Town median household income: $80,009
> State median household income: $40,768
> Town population: 17,343
Arkansas is one of the poorest states in the country, with a typical household earning more than $12,000 less than the national median household income. In Maumelle, however, a suburb of Little Rock, the typical household earned roughly twice the state median of $40,768 and nearly $28,000 more than the national median income. Often, high homeownership rates imply higher incomes, and Maumelle is no exception. In Maumelle, 77.1% of housing units were owned by their occupants, much higher than the national homeownership rate of 65%.
5. Piedmont, California
> Town median household income: $207,222
> State median household income: $61,094
> Town population: 10,852
California has some of the richest towns in the country — and some of the poorest. The median household income in Piedmont, a suburb of Oakland, was more than $200,000. Meanwhile, a typical household in the state’s poorest town, Clearlake, located just couple hours away, earned roughly one-eighth of that. Only Illinois and New York had wider income gaps between the richest and poorest towns.