The Richest Town in Each State

June 17, 2015 by Sam Stebbins

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Dollar Sign Island

Incomes vary tremendously not just across the United States but also within each state. There was at least one town in each state with a median household income thousands of dollars higher than the state’s median income. In some states the difference was even greater. The median income in Scarsdale, New York and Winnetka, Illinois — each the state’s richest towns — was more than $150,000 above the respective state income figure.

Many of these towns had other strong socioeconomic factors that are often associated with high incomes, such as high educational attainment rates. In 30 states, more than 50% of residents in the richest towns had at least a bachelor’s degree compared with the national rate of 28.8%. And the richest towns in all but six states had a college attainment rate greater than the national rate. In contrast, the poorest towns in only three states had a college attainment rate that exceeded the national rate.

Click here to see the richest town in each state.

Click here to see the poorest town in each state.

Since every state must have a richest town, and some states have far lower incomes than others, a state’s richest town was not always especially rich compared to other states or the nation. For example, the median household income in Sidney, the richest town in Montana was only slightly higher than the national income figure.

The most desirable areas to live often have real estate that only the very affluent can afford. These places are often in quiet neighborhoods located within commuting distance of major urban centers, which provide a diversity of jobs and attractions. Not surprisingly, nearly all of the wealthiest towns in each state are suburbs of a major city — usually the biggest city in the state. Most of these affluent suburbs are close enough to require less than an hour commuting time, but far enough outside the city hub to afford peace and quiet.

In other instances, the especially high incomes of the richest town in a given state served to illustrate the high income inequality in the state. The median household income in the richest town was more than double the state figure in 21 states. And the difference between the towns with the highest and lowest annual income exceeded $100,000 in 10 states.

The poorest town in each state was not necessarily very poor compared to the nation, especially in the richest states. The richest town in each state, on the other hand, was almost always very wealthy, even in some of the country’s poorest states. Mountain Brook and Union, for example, were each the richest towns in two of the poorest states in the nation — Alabama and Kentucky, respectively. The median household income in each of those towns was well above $100,000.

To identify the richest town in each state, 24/7 Wall St. reviewed median household incomes for every town with a population of 25,000 or less in each state from the U.S. Census Bureau’s American Community Survey (ACS). Due to relatively small sample sizes for town-level data, all social and economic figures are based on five-year estimates for the period 2009-2013. Still, data can be subject to sampling issues. We did not consider towns where the margin of error at 90% confidence was greater than 10% of the point estimate of both median household income and population. Additionally, we did not include areas classified as census-designated places (CDP). For these reasons, Rhode Island and Hawaii were excluded from our list. Towns were compared to both the state and national figures. We considered the share of adult residents who had at least a bachelor’s degree, the towns’ poverty rates, and workforce composition — all from the ACS. We did not report data estimates with large margins of error. The percentage of housing units that were owned by their occupants — referred to as the homeownership rate — also came from the ACS.

These are the richest towns in each state.

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%.

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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.

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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.

6. Castle Pines, Colorado
> Town median household income:
$138,349
> State median household income: $58,433
> Town population: 10,471

Colorado is a relatively wealthy state, with a median household income of $58,433, the 14th highest rate in the country. In Castle Pines, a recently-incorporated city on the outskirts of Denver, the typical household earned nearly $80,000 more than that. In addition to having high household income, the percentage of area households earning $10,000 was nearly zero.

7. Newtown, Connecticut
> Town median household income:
$116,771
> State median household income: $69,461
> Town population: 2,067

Newtown households had a median income of $116,771, the highest in the state. Connecticut itself had the fourth highest median household income of all states. Like the richest towns in the vast majority of states, Newtown’s poverty rate was among the lowest in the country. While 95% of area adults had at least a high school diploma — well above the national rate — the percentage was actually on the lower end compared with the richest towns of most other states.

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8. Middletown, Delaware
> Town median household income:
$80,443
> State median household income: $59,878
> Town population: 19,064

Nearly 10% of Delaware’s workforce was employed in financial, insurance, or real estate jobs, the highest compared to all states. In Middletown, these typically high-paying professions accounted for nearly 16% of the area’s workforce, well above the state rate as well as every other Delaware town reviewed.

9. Key Biscayne, Florida
> Town median household income:
$121,624
> State median household income: $46,956
> Town population: 12,560

The homeownership rate in Key Biscayne, like in most rich towns, was relatively high. More than three-quarters of Key Biscayne housing units were owned by their occupants. In contrast, the nationwide homeownership rate was roughly 65%. The town’s median household income of $121,624 was more than double the state median income.

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10. Tyrone, Georgia
> Town median household income:
$85,188
> State median household income: $49,179
> Town population: 6,933

While Tyrone’s poverty rate of 8.3% was lower than the national rate of 15.4% and less than half the state’s rate of 18.2%, it was considerably worse than the poverty rates of the richest towns in the vast majority of states. Nearly 17% of the area’s workforce was employed in the transportation, warehousing, and utilities industry, several times higher than the statewide proportion of 5.9%, which itself was the fourth highest compared to other states. These jobs often tend to be lower-wage occupations.

11. Eagle, Idaho
> Town median household income:
$80,788
> State median household income: $46,767
> Town population: 20,475

Just over 25% of Idaho adults had at least a bachelor’s degree, one of the lower rates compared to other states. In Eagle, nearly 50% of adults had at least a bachelor’s degree. Eagle’s relatively high educational attainment rate partly accounts for the high incomes in the area. Like the richest town in many other states, Eagle is within commuting distance of a major urban center. Boise, the capital of Idaho, is under 30 minutes from Eagle.

12. Winnetka, Illinois
> Town median household income:
$211,250
> State median household income: $56,797
> Town population: 12,273

Winnetka is not only the richest town in Illinois, but also the second richest incorporated town in the country. The town’s median income of $211,250 is roughly four times the income of a typical U.S. household. It is also more than 12 times the median household income in Cairo, Illinois’ poorest town. One possible explanation for the Chicago suburb’s high income is its highly-educated population. Nationally, 28.8% of people 25 and over had at least a bachelor’s degree. In Winnetka, 88% of adults had such an education.

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13. Zionsville, Indiana
> Town median household income:
$106,071
> State median household income: $48,248
> Town population: 23,794

Zionsville, a suburb of Indianapolis, is the wealthiest town in the state with a median household income of $106,071 — well more than double the state median income of $48,248. The poverty rate in Zionsville was only 2.6%, a fraction of the state’s poverty rate of 15.4%. In addition, just 2% of households earned less than $10,000 annually, one of the lowest percentages nationwide. Just over two-thirds of Zionsville adults had at least a bachelor’s degree, which was more than double the national rate and the highest percentage of any incorporated town or city in the state.

14. Johnston, Iowa
> Town median household income:
$93,571
> State median household income: $51,843
> Town population: 18,135

The residents of Johnston are wealthier than those of any other incorporated area in Iowa. All but 3.2% of the city’s adult residents had at least a high school diploma, and just over 55% of adults had at least a bachelor’s degree. Residents with high education levels often work in professional occupations, which tend to pay more. In Johnston, nearly 15% of workers were employed in professional, scientific, or administrative positions, more than in any other incorporated area in Iowa.

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15. Prairie Village, Kansas
> Town median household income:
$80,862
> State median household income: $51,332
> Town population: 21,678

Prairie Village, on the outskirts of Kansas City, had a median household income of $80,862, much higher than the state median income of $51,332. Still, this nearly $30,000 income gap was actually smaller than in the majority of states. The city had a high percentage of workers in traditionally high-paying jobs. Just under 18% of workers were employed in professional, scientific, and management positions, more than double the statewide industry composition of 8.6%.

16. Union, Kentucky
> Town median household income:
$102,271
> State median household income: $43,036
> Town population: 5,477

Kentucky is the fourth poorest state in the country with a median household income of just $43,036. Some areas in Kentucky, however, did not have a problem with low income. In Union, the state’s wealthiest town, the typical household earned more than $100,000 a year. High income areas often have homeownership rates, and Union is no exception. More than 93% of Union homes were occupied by their owners, much higher than the national rate of 64.5%.

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17. Gonzales, Louisiana
> Town median household income:
$48,729
> State median household income: $44,874
> Town population: 9,978

Gonzales is the richest town in Louisiana. However, its residents are not especially wealthy. The town’s median household income of $48,729 was lower than the national median income, the only richest town in the country where this was the case. Nearly 25% of Gonzales residents lived in poverty, also the only such rate to exceed the comparable national poverty rate of 15.4%. Louisiana is unique because of its unusually high number of unincorporated towns, where many wealthy Louisiana residents live. Such towns were not considered in this analysis. Had they been considered, the richest town in Louisiana would likely not have been so exceptional.

18. Saco, Maine
> Town median household income:
$55,524
> State median household income: $48,453
> Town population: 18,647

While the homeownership rate of 66% in Saco was slightly higher than the national rate, residents were less likely to own their homes than the state average. Nearly 72% of housing units in Maine were owned by their occupants, the sixth highest rate compared to all states. While the town’s poverty rate of 10.5% was lower than the state’s rate of nearly 14%, it was also among the higher poverty rates compared to the richest towns in most other states.

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19. Poolesville, Maryland
> Town median household income:
$135,430
> State median household income: $73,538
> Town population: 4,977

With Maryland households the wealthiest in the nation, Poolesville was not just the richest in the state but also among the richest nationwide. A typical household in the town earned $135,430 annually. Maryland was also one of just 10 states where the difference between the poorest and richest towns’ household median income exceeded $100,000.

20. Newburyport, Massachusetts
> Town median household income:
$78,638
> State median household income: $66,866
> Town population: 17,569

Massachusetts had the highest college attainment rate compared to all states at nearly 40%. With a college attainment rate of 56.2%, Newburyport adults were even more likely to have a bachelor’s degree than adults across the state. Like the richest towns in most other states, Newburyport’s location offers residents the best of both worlds: it is near the ocean and other scenic areas as well as within commuting distance of Boston.

21. Franklin, Michigan
> Town median household income:
$139,000
> State median household income: $48,411
> Town population: 3,095

A typical household in Franklin earned $139,000 annually, the highest income in the state and $120,792 greater than the median income in Michigan’s poorest town, Benton Harbor. The state is one of only 10 where the income gap between the richest town and the poorest town is greater than $100,000. More than 72% of Michigan households were owned by their occupants, the fifth highest rate of all states. In Franklin, the homeownership rate was far higher at 95%.

22. Victoria, Minnesota
> Town median household income:
$122,171
> State median household income: $59,836
> Town population: 7,623

Nearly 92% of Victoria households were owned by their occupants, well above Minnesota’s homeownership rate of 72.5%, which itself was the second highest state rate. Nearly 100% of area adults had at least a high school diploma, and nearly 60% had a bachelor’s degree, each far higher than both the state and national rates.

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23. Madison, Mississippi
> Town median household income:
$99,124
> State median household income: $39,031
> Town population: 24,578

Mississippians as a whole are the poorest state residents in the nation, with a median household income of less than $40,000. Madison households, however, are quite wealthy. The median annual household income in the town was nearly $100,000. The difference in poverty was also stark. While Mississippi led the nation with a 22.7% poverty rate, less than 5% of Madison residents lived in poverty.

24. Des Peres, Missouri
> Town median household income:
$121,471
> State median household income: $47,380
> Town population: 8,403

Located just over 15 miles outside of St. Louis, Des Peres is the richest town in Missouri. The median household income in Des Peres was more than double the median household income statewide. Also, 67.9% of Des Peres adult residents had a bachelor’s degree or higher, again more than double the 26.2% of adults statewide who had attained such education.

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25. Sidney, Montana
> Town median household income:
$54,609
> State median household income: $46,230
> Town population: 5,608

The median household income in Sidney was only $8,379 more than the median household income in all of Montana, one of the lowest such differences in the country. Similarly, at $15,594, Montana had the smallest income gap in the country between the median household incomes in its richest town and its poorest town.

26. Gretna, Nebraska
> Town median household income:
$73,715
> State median household income: $51,672
> Town population: 5,095

Located less than half an hour’s drive southwest of Omaha, the state’s largest city, Gretna is the richest town in Nebraska. Like the richest town in most states, Gretna residents were far more likely to live in their own homes than most Americans. More than three-quarters of area housing units were owned by their occupants, well above both the state national homeownership rates.

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27. Elko, Nevada
> Town median household income:
$72,565
> State median household income: $52,800
> Town population: 18,888

The richest towns tend to have higher educational attainment rates than the rest of the state and the country. Elko, though, is an exception. Elko’s college attainment rate of 20.3% was 2.1 percentage points lower than the state figure, and 8.5 percentage points lower than the corresponding national figure. Also, Nevada was one of only six states where the richest town had a lower homeownership rate than the national homeownership rate, at 63.9% versus 64.9%, respectively.

28. Portsmouth, New Hampshire
> Town median household income:
$64,577
> State median household income: $64,916
> Town population: 21,237

The median household income in Portsmouth — New Hampshire’s richest incorporated town — was actually lower than the state’s median household income. This incongruity is due to the prevalence of unincorporated towns, which are classified as Census Designated Places (CDP) for statistical purposes. Three of the state’s six CDPs had a higher median household income than Portsmouth, enough to make the state’s median household income $339 more than the median household income in its richest incorporated town.

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29. Essex Fells, New Jersey
> Town median household income:
$171,681
> State median household income: $71,629
> Town population: 2,115

At a rate of 99.3%, nearly every adult in New Jersey’s richest town had at least a high school diploma. While secondary education is nearly universal, high incomes are not. The median household income in Essex Fells of $171,681 was more than $134,341 higher than the median household income in the state’s poorest town, Pleasantville. This was one of the widest such gaps among all states.

30. Bosque Farms, New Mexico
> Town median household income:
$59,509
> State median household income: $44,927
> Town population: 3,905

Although Bosque Farms is the richest town in New Mexico, it lags behind the rest of the state in two socioeconomic factors. At 25.3%, the percentage of adults with at least a bachelor’s degree was half a percentage point lower than the statewide rate of 25.8%. In contrast, the richest towns in nearly every other state had far higher educational attainment rates.

31. Scarsdale, New York
> Town median household income:
$233,311
> State median household income: $58,003
> Town population: 17,337

At $175,308, New York had the greatest difference in median household income between its richest town and the rest of the state. In Scarsdale, 57.8% of households earned more than $200,000 annually — the highest such share out of the richest towns in every state. Nearly 86% of adults in Scarsdale had a bachelor’s degree or higher, an exceptionally high educational attainment rate when compared to the state and national rate of 33.2% and 28.8%, respectively.

32. Harrisburg, North Carolina
> Town median household income:
$81,808
> State median household income: $46,334
> Town population: 12,955

The Charlotte suburb of Harrisburg, the richest town in North Carolina, had a median household income of $81,808, or $57,299 greater than Marion, the state’s poorest town. In Harrisburg, 96.2% of adults had at least a high school diploma, more than 10 percentage points higher than the statewide figure of 84.9%. Similarly, at 39.9%, the percentage of adults with a bachelor’s degree or higher in Harrisburg was more than 10 percentage points higher than the corresponding statewide rate of 27.3%.

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33. Horace, North Dakota
> Town median household income:
$86,071
> State median household income: $53,741
> Town population: 2,461

The median household income in Horace was $32,330 higher than the median household income for all of North Dakota. At 38.3%, the percentage of adults in Horace with a bachelor’s degree or higher was over 10 percentage points higher than the statewide rate of 27.2%. With 96.5% of housing units owned by their occupants, North Dakota’s richest town had a higher homeownership rate than the richest town of any other state.

34. Powell, Ohio
> Town median household income:
$132,598
> State median household income: $48,308
> Town population: 11,746

Powell, Ohio’s richest town, had a median household income of $132,598 — $84,290 greater than the corresponding statewide figure. More than 70% of adults in Powell had a bachelor’s degree or higher, more than 40 percentage points higher than the statewide rate. Higher levels of education frequently offer better and higher paying job opportunities. Higher incomes, in turn, are associated with higher homeownership rates. Nearly 95% homes in Powell were occupied by their owners, well above the national homeownership rate of about 65%.

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35. Jenks, Oklahoma
> Town median household income:
$84,491
> State median household income: $45,339
> Town population: 17,560

With a median household income of $84,491, Jenks is the richest town in Oklahoma. At 5.5%, the percentage of households earning more than $200,000 annually was only slightly higher than the 4.8% of households nationwide earning at least $200,000. About 45% of adults in the town had a bachelor’s degree or higher, almost double to the corresponding statewide rate of 23.5%.

36. Happy Valley, Oregon
> Town median household income:
$92,773
> State median household income: $50,229
> Town population: 14,931

In Happy Valley, the median household income was $42,544 greater than the median household income in all of Oregon. On the spectrum of income inequality, Oregon falls almost directly in the middle compared with other states. The difference between the median household income in Prineville, the state’s poorest town, and the median household income in Happy Valley is $62,814, the 24th smallest gap in the country.

37. Rosslyn Farms, Pennsylvania
> Town median household income:
$121,786
> State median household income: $52,548
> Town population: 498

The median household income in Rosslyn Farms was more than double each of the corresponding state and national income figures of $52,548 and $53,046, respectively. With 99.4% of adult residents having completed high school and slightly over 76% of adults with at least a bachelor’s degree, Rosslyn Farms residents are very well educated. Statewide, only 88.7% of adults had a high school diploma and 27.5% had a bachelor’s degree or higher.

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38. Tega Cay, South Carolina
> Town median household income:
$108,958
> State median household income: $44,779
> Town population: 7,911

The median household income in Tega Cay was over $100,000, more than double the median household income of South Carolina. Tega Cay’s median income was also $82,628 higher than the median household income in Georgetown, South Carolina’s poorest town. At 59.2%, the town’s percentage of adults with a bachelor’s degree or higher was more than double the statewide figure of 25.1%.

39. Brandon, South Dakota
> Town median household income:
$66,943
> State median household income: $49,495
> Town population: 9,099

Brandon’s median household income of $66,943 was about $17,500 greater than the state’s median household income. South Dakota was one of only nine states where the difference between the richest and poorest towns was less than $30,000. Similarly, education levels in Brandon were only slightly higher than statewide levels. Some 30.5% of Brandon’s adult population had a bachelor’s degree or higher, versus 26.2% of adults across South Dakota.

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40. Nolensville, Tennessee
> Town median household income:
$102,870
> State median household income: $44,298
> Town population: 5,980

Nolensville, the richest town in Tennessee, had a median household income that was more than double the statewide median household income of $44,298. Nearly 90% Nolensville housing units were owned by their occupants. This was significantly higher than the corresponding state and national homeownership rates of 67.8% and 64.9%, respectively.

41. West University Place, Texas
> Town median household income:
$205,136
> State median household income: $51,900
> Town population: 15,033

The median household income in West University Place was nearly four times the state median household income and slightly more than $182,000 greater than the median household income in Crockett, Texas’ poorest town. Texas was one of only four states where more than half of all households in the richest town earned at least $200,000 annually. Given the town’s name, it should come as no surprise that more than 86% of adults had a bachelor’s degree or higher.

42. Fruit Heights, Utah
> Town median household income:
$99,545
> State median household income: $58,821
> Town population: 5,191

At 12.9%, the share of households making at least $200,000 annually in Fruit Heights was more than triple the statewide share of 3.6%. Fruit Heights also had a relatively well educated adult population. More than 50% of adults had at least a bachelor’s degree, nearly double the corresponding national percentage of 28.8%.

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43. South Burlington, Vermont
> Town median household income:
$64,756
> State median household income: $54,267
> Town population: 18,163

South Burlington’s median household income was just over $10,000 greater than Vermont’s median household income. However, at 64.6%, the homeownership rate in South Burlington was significantly less than the 71.0% statewide rate. Vermont was one of only six states where the richest town had a lower homeownership rate than the countywide rate of 64.9%.

44. Vienna, Virginia
> Town median household income:
$126,991
> State median household income: $63,907
> Town population: 15,958

Nearly one-quarter of all households in Vienna, Virginia’s richest town, earned at least $200,000 annually. Despite its relative affluence, Vienna was one of only 13 of the richest towns where less than 95% of adults had at least a high school diploma. However, nearly 65% of adults had a bachelor’s degree or higher, more than double the corresponding national rate of 28.8%.

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45. Mercer Island, Washington
> Town median household income:
$126,359
> State median household income: $59,478
> Town population: 23,301

Mercer Island, the richest town in Washington, had a median household income about $96,000 greater than the median household income in the state’s poorest town. Also, the town’s poverty rate of 3.1% was over 10 percentage points lower than the statewide poverty rate of 13.4%. More than three-quarters of the town’s adult population had at least a bachelor’s degree, far higher than the 28.8% of adults nationwide with a bachelor’s degree.

46. Bethlehem, West Virginia
> Town median household income:
$61,744
> State median household income: $41,043
> Town population: 2,543

Although Bethlehem is the wealthiest town in West Virginia, the percentage of adults with at least a bachelor’s degree was only slightly higher than the national rate, at 30.3% versus 28.8%. It was well above the state’s college attainment rate of 18.3%, however, which was the lowest such rate compared to all states. Also, Bethlehem was one of only 13 of each state’s richest town where less than 95% of adults had at least a high school diploma. Bethlehem’s poverty rate was well below the national poverty rate of 15.4%.

47. Maple Bluff, Wisconsin
> Town median household income:
$129,306
> State median household income: $52,413
> Town population: 1,424

The median household income in Maple Bluff was the more than double the state median household income. Also, 33.2% of Maple Bluff households made more than $200,000 per year, more than 30 percentage points higher than the 2.9% of households who earned that much statewide. Similarly, 82.1% of adults had a bachelor’s degree or higher, 55.3 percentage points higher than the percentage of adults in the state with at least a four-year degree.

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48. Green River, Wyoming
> Town median household income:
$74,036
> State median household income: $57,406
> Town population: 12,632

The median household income in Green River, the richest in Wyoming, was about $16,630 greater than the entire state’s. While higher incomes are often associated with higher educational levels, Green River was an exception. Only 19.4% of adults in Green River had attained a bachelor’s degree or higher, lower than the corresponding state and national figures of 24.7% and 28.8% respectively.

Click here to see the poorest town in each state.