If Americans hear about the wealthiest towns in America, chances would be high that they might think about clusters around New York City or Silicon Valley. It turns out that there is a surprise state that dominates the list of 25 wealthiest towns in America. That state is Virginia. Seven of the 25 richest towns in America are in Virginia.
24/7 Wall St. recently reviewed the income levels in U.S. towns and cities. Scarsdale, N.Y., was the richest town in America with a median annual household income of $241,453. This is about 13 times higher than in the poorest town, Macon, Miss., at $18,232 annually.
What may not be as obvious here is that many of the wealthiest towns in America cluster around Washington D.C. — the power center of the nation. The wealthiest are generally employed in highly skilled positions and in high-paying industries, which also require higher education levels. Many of these in Virginia are likely high-paying federal or consulting positions, and they include some of the nation’s power brokers.
When 24/7 Wall St. featured the 25 richest and 25 poorest towns in America, it found that 86% of adults nationwide have at least a high school diploma. In the wealthiest towns, at least 97% of adults have high school diplomas. In 19 of the 25 richest towns in America, at least 75% of adults have at least a bachelor’s degree. Meanwhile, fewer than 20% of adults in all the 25 poorest towns have at least a college education.
The methodology for determining the richest and poorest towns was rather complex. 24/7 Wall St. considered 2010 to 2014 five-year average median household incomes from the U.S. Census Bureau’s American Community Survey. Still, income is only a part of what constitutes the wealthiest town. Towns were excluded if a margin of error at 90% confidence was greater than 10% for both median household income and population.
It should also be noted that some towns are not part of a metropolitan statistical area, so unincorporated regions, called Census Designated Areas, were also considered. Additional data included the poverty rate, median home values and the percentage of adults with at least a bachelor’s degree.
Here are the seven towns in Virginia that are among the 25 wealthiest in America, as well as a peek at two that are in nearby Maryland, also more or less attached to the District of Columbia.
Dranesville is a Census-Designated Place with a population of close to 12,000 people. It is located in Fairfax County, and it ranked in at 25 on the list of America’s wealthiest towns.
- Median household income: $166,775
- Median home value: $514,700
- Adults with at least a bachelor’s degree: 71.1%
- Poverty rate: 6.4%
Franklin Farm was at 21 on the list of wealthiest towns in America. The small planned community dates back to only 1980, with a population of just over 19,000. It is made up of just 1,777 homes and fits on just 850 acres in western Fairfax County.
- Median household income: $170,037
- Median home value: $581,000
- Adults with at least a bachelor’s degree: 77.2%
- Poverty rate: 3.4%
Brambleton ranked in at 19 on the list and it has a population of just under 10,000. It is another master planned community that fits on 2,500 acres in Loudoun County. It is located very close to Washington Dulles International Airport.
- Median household income: $171,156
- Median home value: $536,900
- Adults with at least a bachelor’s degree: 76.0%
- Poverty rate: 2.2%