5. Boston-Cambridge-Newton, MA-NH
> Median household income: $82,380
> Households earning $200,000 or more: 13.1%
> Adults with at least a bachelor’s degree: 46.9%
> March unemployment rate: 3.4%
The metro area around the Massachusetts state capital is the fifth wealthiest in the United States and the second wealthiest in New England. The typical household in the Boston metro area earns $82,380 a year, or nearly $25,000 more than the typical U.S. household income of $57,617.
The Boston metro area is home to a number of higher education institutions — including Boston University, Harvard University, and Northeastern University — which awarded over 100,000 degrees in 2015 alone. Partially as a result, the metro area is one of the best educated in the United States. Some 46.9% of area adults have a bachelor’s degree or higher, compared to 31.3% of American adults.
4. Bridgeport-Stamford-Norwalk, CT
> Median household income: $90,123
> Households earning $200,000 or more: 19.2%
> Adults with at least a bachelor’s degree: 46.6%
> March unemployment rate: 4.6%
The Bridgeport-Stamford-Norwalk, Connecticut metropolitan area, also known as Fairfield County, is home to many wealthy professionals who commute into New York City. Almost 20% of the county’s households earn at least $200,000 a year, the third highest share among metro areas and triple the U.S. share. However, the county is also home to Bridgeport, one of the poorest cities in the United States. Poverty in Bridgeport is not enough to keep the metropolitan area from ranking as the fourth most affluent in the United States.
3. Washington-Arlington-Alexandria, DC-VA-MD-WV
> Median household income: $95,843
> Households earning $200,000 or more: 16.2%
> Adults with at least a bachelor’s degree: 50.2%
> March unemployment rate: 3.6%
No East Coast metro area has a more affluent population than the greater D.C. area. The metropolitan area serving the district, which includes parts of Virginia, Maryland, and West Virginia, has a median household income in excess of $95,000. As the nation’s capital, D.C. is home to many high paying legal, government, and other professional jobs. Over 20% of the metro area’s workforce are employed in the professional, scientific, and management industry, the second highest share of any metro area in the country. The D.C. area is one of just eight where over 50% of adults have at least a bachelor’s degree.
2. San Francisco-Oakland-Hayward, CA
> Median household income: $96,677
> Households earning $200,000 or more: 19.5%
> Adults with at least a bachelor’s degree: 48.5%
> March unemployment rate: 2.7%
The typical San Francisco area household earns $96,677 annually. It would take almost three households combined in the Laredo, Texas metropolitan area — the poorest in the country — to earn as much money. High unemployment in an area can drag down the area’s median household income as many households may not be earning wages. In San Francisco, just 2.7% of the labor force is unemployed, one of the lowest jobless rates in the country.
Areas with high incomes often also have high overall cost of living, and this is certainly the case in San Francisco. Housing expenses are notably high, as the typical home value of just under $800,000 is about four times the U.S. median home value. However, the Bay Area’s high incomes are more than enough to offset the high cost of living.
1. San Jose-Sunnyvale-Santa Clara, CA
> Median household income: $110,040
> Households earning $200,000 or more: 22.8%
> Adults with at least a bachelor’s degree: 50.1%
> March unemployment rate: 2.7%
The San Jose metro area is by far the wealthiest in the country. The area’s median income surpasses incomes in the next wealthiest metro area — nearby San Francisco — by over $13,000. San Jose covers much of Silicon Valley, a tech hub at the southern end of the San Francisco Bay Area. The area’s high incomes are attributable to the presence of some of the most recognizable and innovative companies in the world. Some of the region’s largest employers include Adobe Systems, Apple, Intel, Lockheed Martin, and NASA. Over one in four workers in the metro area are employed in either the information or the professional, scientific, and management industries. Nationwide, just 13.5% of all workers are employed in these sectors.