46. Virginia: Great Falls
> Median household income: $230,304 (state: $66,149)
> Households earning $200,000 or more: 58.9% (state: 8.5%)
> Adults with at least a bachelor’s degree: 81.9% (state: 36.9%)
> Median home value: $1,123,300 (state: $248,400)
> Population: 15,786
Not only is Great Falls the wealthiest town in Virginia, but also it is one of the wealthiest in the country. The typical household in Great Falls earns $230,304 a year, well more than triple the median income of $66,149 across Virginia.
Along with Travilah, Maryland, Great Falls is one of two D.C. suburbs on this list. In both towns, the high incomes are largely attributable to high-skilled, high-paying jobs with contractors and government agencies in and around the nation’s capital. Such jobs often require high education, and in Great Falls, 81.9% of adults have a bachelor’s degree or higher, compared to 36.9% of adults in Virginia and 30.3% of American adults.
47. Washington: Cottage Lake
> Median household income: $134,107 (state: $62,848)
> Households earning $200,000 or more: 29.4% (state: 6.3%)
> Adults with at least a bachelor’s degree: 60.8% (state: 33.6%)
> Median home value: $624,900 (state: $269,300)
> Population: 23,845
The median annual household income in the Seattle suburb of Cottage Lake of $134,107 is the highest of any town in Washington. In most towns on this list, serious financial hardship is relatively scarce, and Cottage Lake is no exception. Just 3.0% of the town’s population lives below the poverty line, less than a fourth of the state poverty rate of 12.7% and a fifth of the U.S. poverty rate of 15.1%.
As is often the case, property is expensive in Washington’s highest earning town. The typical area home is worth $624,900 — well more than double the median home value of $269,300 across the state as a whole.
48. West Virginia: Teays Valley
> Median household income: $73,846 (state: $42,644)
> Households earning $200,000 or more: 7.4% (state: 2.3%)
> Adults with at least a bachelor’s degree: 39.1% (state: 19.6%)
> Median home value: $214,800 (state: $107,400)
> Population: 13,706
West Virginia is one of the poorest states in the country. The typical household in the state earns $42,644 a year, well below the nationwide median income of $55,322. Still, some parts of the state are relatively well off financially. In Teays Valley, a community situated along Interstate 64 outside the state capital of Charleston, the typical household earns $73,846 a year, or about $10,000 more than the median income in Bethlehem, the second wealthiest town in the state.
Teays Valley also has the most expensive real estate in the state. The typical home in the area is worth $214,800 — double the value of the typical West Virginia home.
49. Wisconsin: Whitefish Bay
> Median household income: $105,156 (state: $54,610)
> Households earning $200,000 or more: 18.6% (state: 3.6%)
> Adults with at least a bachelor’s degree: 72.2% (state: 28.4%)
> Median home value: $350,700 (state: $167,000)
> Population: 14,088
Located along the shores of Lake Michigan, the Milwaukee suburb of Whitefish Bay is the wealthiest town in Wisconsin. Along with Mequon, Whitefish Bay is one of only two towns in the state where over half of all households earn six-figure incomes.
High-paying jobs are often only available to those with a college education. The wealthiest town in the state, Whitefish Bay population is also the best educated. Some 72.2% of area adults have a bachelor’s degree or higher, more than double both the comparable 28.4% share of adults across the state and the 30.3% of American adults.
50. Wyoming: Bar Nunn
> Median household income: $73,800 (state: $59,143)
> Households earning $200,000 or more: 2.9% (state: 3.5%)
> Adults with at least a bachelor’s degree: 17.7% (state: 26.0%)
> Median home value: $211,000 (state: $199,900)
> Population: 2,682
Bar Nunn is a town just north of Casper along Interstate 25. The typical household in the town earns $73,800 a year, the most of any town in Wyoming. Most wealthy American towns are well educated, but Bar Nunn is an exception. Just 17.7% of area adults have a bachelor’s degree or higher, below both the 26.0% college attainment rate statewide and the 30.3% rate nationwide. Additionally, despite the high median income, there are very few extremely wealthy town residents. Just 2.9% of Bar Nunn households earn $200,000 or more per year, less than the comparable 3.5% state and 5.7% U.S. shares.
The low educational attainment and lack of extremely high incomes are partially explained by the types of jobs available in the area. The region has far higher than typical employment in construction and extraction occupations, fields than can be relatively high paying without high education requirements.