Special Report

America's Richest Cities

Andrey Bayda / Shutterstock.com

Incomes in the United States have been rising in recent years. The median household income rose to $59,039 last year, up 3.2% from 2015 and one of the highest incomes ever recorded. Poverty levels also declined, yet income inequality did not improve. So while there remain many poor communities, there are also plenty of extremely prosperous ones.

In dozens of U.S. metro areas, a household earning $60,000 annually would fall on the lower end of the income spectrum. These high earning areas tend to share a number of common characteristics. The wealthiest metro areas tend to be expensive, have well-educated populations as well as strong economies — almost without exception. The metro areas on this list are concentrated in the Northeast and Western United States.

24/7 Wall St. reviewed the median household income in all major U.S. metro areas to identify America’s richest cities. Median incomes in the cities on this list range from about $71,700 to over $110,000 a year.

Click here to see America’s richest cities.
Click here to see our detailed findings and methodology.

Source: Thinkstock

25. Raleigh, NC
> Median household income: $71,685
> Median home value: $237,700
> Unemployment rate: 3.6%
> Poverty rate: 10.0%

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Source: Thinkstock

24. New York-Newark-Jersey City, NY-NJ-PA
> Median household income: $71,897
> Median home value: $426,300
> Unemployment rate: 4.6%
> Poverty rate: 13.5%

Source: Thinkstock

23. Denver-Aurora-Lakewood, CO
> Median household income: $71,926
> Median home value: $349,200
> Unemployment rate: 2.3%
> Poverty rate: 9.4%

Source: Thinkstock

22. Kahului-Wailuku-Lahaina, HI
> Median household income: $72,268
> Median home value: $600,800
> Unemployment rate: 2.6%
> Poverty rate: 8.3%

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Source: Thinkstock

21. Hartford-West Hartford-East Hartford, CT
> Median household income: $72,559
> Median home value: $247,400
> Unemployment rate: 4.4%
> Poverty rate: 10.1%

Source: Thinkstock

20. Minneapolis-St. Paul-Bloomington, MN-WI
> Median household income: $73,231
> Median home value: $240,500
> Unemployment rate: 3.5%
> Poverty rate: 8.8%

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Source: Thinkstock

19. Vallejo-Fairfield, CA
> Median household income: $73,900
> Median home value: $377,900
> Unemployment rate: 5.2%
> Poverty rate: 11.6%

Source: Thinkstock

18. Santa Rosa, CA
> Median household income: $73,929
> Median home value: $565,200
> Unemployment rate: 3.7%
> Poverty rate: 9.2%

Source: Thinkstock

17. Boulder, CO
> Median household income: $74,615
> Median home value: $467,600
> Unemployment rate: 1.9%
> Poverty rate: 11.0%

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Source: Thinkstock

16. Napa, CA
> Median household income: $75,077
> Median home value: $599,300
> Unemployment rate: 4.0%
> Poverty rate: 7.3%

Source: Jon Bilous / Shutterstock.com

15. Manchester-Nashua, NH
> Median household income: $76,254
> Median home value: $267,400
> Unemployment rate: 2.6%
> Poverty rate: 8.2%

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Source: Thinkstock

14. Baltimore-Columbia-Towson, MD
> Median household income: $76,788
> Median home value: $293,900
> Unemployment rate: 4.1%
> Poverty rate: 10.4%

Source: Thinkstock

13. Fairbanks, AK
> Median household income: $77,328
> Median home value: $226,900
> Unemployment rate: 6.4%
> Poverty rate: 9.9%

Source: Thinkstock

12. Santa Cruz-Watsonville, CA
> Median household income: $77,613
> Median home value: $712,800
> Unemployment rate: 6.5%
> Poverty rate: 13.7%

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Source: Thinkstock

11. Trenton, NJ
> Median household income: $77,650
> Median home value: $284,600
> Unemployment rate: 4.1%
> Poverty rate: 11.1%

Source: Thinkstock

10. California-Lexington Park, MD
> Median household income: $78,195
> Median home value: $307,900
> Unemployment rate: 3.8%
> Poverty rate: 10.0%

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Source: Thinkstock

9. Seattle-Tacoma-Bellevue, WA
> Median household income: $78,612
> Median home value: $391,500
> Unemployment rate: 4.1%
> Poverty rate: 9.6%

Source: Thinkstock

8. Oxnard-Thousand Oaks-Ventura, CA
> Median household income: $80,135
> Median home value: $561,400
> Unemployment rate: 4.7%
> Poverty rate: 9.5%

Source: Thinkstock

7. Urban Honolulu, HI
> Median household income: $80,513
> Median home value: $658,900
> Unemployment rate: 2.3%
> Poverty rate: 8.5%

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Source: Thinkstock

6. Anchorage, AK
> Median household income: $82,203
> Median home value: $299,700
> Unemployment rate: 6.5%
> Poverty rate: 7.2%

Source: Thinkstock

5. Boston-Cambridge-Newton, MA-NH
> Median household income: $82,380
> Median home value: $412,700
> Unemployment rate: 3.6%
> Poverty rate: 9.6%

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Source: barbsimages / Shutterstock.com

4. Bridgeport-Stamford-Norwalk, CT
> Median household income: $90,123
> Median home value: $423,200
> Unemployment rate: 4.3%
> Poverty rate: 8.6%

Source: Thinkstock

3. Washington-Arlington-Alexandria, DC-VA-MD-WV
> Median household income: $95,843
> Median home value: $411,400
> Unemployment rate: 3.7%
> Poverty rate: 8.4%

Source: Thinkstock

2. San Francisco-Oakland-Hayward, CA
> Median household income: $96,677
> Median home value: $796,100
> Unemployment rate: 3.7%
> Poverty rate: 9.2%

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Source: Thinkstock

1. San Jose-Sunnyvale-Santa Clara, CA
> Median household income: $110,040
> Median home value: $911,900
> Unemployment rate: 3.7%
> Poverty rate: 9.4%

Detailed Findings & Methodology

High incomes are a product of well-paying jobs, and well-paying jobs often require a well-educated workforce. College graduates are far more likely than workers with only a high school diploma to have a high-paying job. All but three cities on this list have a higher bachelor’s degree attainment rate than the nationwide rate of 31.3% of adults with a four-year college education. In the Boulder, Colorado metro area, where the typical household earns $75,000 annually, 60.6% of adults have at least a bachelor’s degree, the largest share of any U.S. metro area.

In addition to a well-educated talent pool, the country’s wealthiest cities almost all boast a strong economy and widespread employment. In 19 of the 25 metro areas on this list, the jobless rate is at or below the U.S. unemployment rate of 4.4%.

High incomes are almost a necessity in many wealthy metro areas due to their high cost of living, which at least partially offsets the high income. In the Urban Honolulu metro area, for example, where the typical household earns $80,500 per year, goods and services are about 25% more expensive on average than they are across the country as a whole. The cost of living is higher than it is nationwide in all but two cities on this list.

Living expenses in the cities on this list are driven largely by exorbitant housing costs. In over half of the highest earning metro areas, the typical home is worth more than double the U.S. median home value of $205,000. In four of the cities on this list, the typical home is worth more than three times the typical American home.

Not surprisingly, the wealthiest cities tend to have relatively few residents who face serious financial hardship. The U.S. Department of Health and Human Services set the poverty line for 2017 at an annual income of $12,060 for individuals and $24,600 for families of four. Currently, 14.0% of Americans live in poverty. No city on this list has a poverty rate as high as the U.S.’s as a whole.

To determine the richest cities in America, 24/7 Wall St. reviewed data from the U.S. Census Bureau’s 2016 American Community Survey. We identified the 25 U.S. metropolitan statistical areas with the highest median household incomes. Poverty rates, median home values, and educational attainment also came from the ACS. Unemployment rates are from the Bureau of Labor Statistics and are as of August 2017, the most recent period for which data is available. Cost of living by metro area, or regional price parity, is for 2015 and came from the Bureau of Economic Analysis.

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