1. Alabama: Mountain Brook
> Median household income: $129,777 (state: $44,758)
> Households earning $200,000 or more: 31.3% (state: 2.9%)
> Adults with at least a bachelor’s degree: 85.1% (state: 24.0%)
> Median home value: $557,300 (state: $128,500)
> Population: 20,532
The Birmingham suburb of Mountain Brook ranks as the wealthiest town in Alabama and one of only two towns in the state where most households earn six-figure incomes. Further underscoring the area’s overall wealth is the near absence of poverty. Just 3.2% of area residents live in poverty, a fraction of the statewide poverty rate of 18.4%.
Higher educational attainment opens the door to higher-paying jobs, and wealthier populations tend to be better educated. In Mountain Brook, 85.1% of adults have a bachelor’s degree or higher, the largest share of any town in the state and the fourth largest share in the country.
2. Alaska: Fishhook
> Median household income: $95,030 (state: $74,444)
> Households earning $200,000 or more: 9.2% (state: 6.8%)
> Adults with at least a bachelor’s degree: 28.3% (state: 28.8%)
> Median home value: $281,000 (state: $257,100)
> Population: 5,866
Fishhook is the wealthiest town in the second wealthiest state. The typical area household earns $95,030, above both the median income in Alaska of $74,444 and the nationwide median income of $55,322. Not only does Fishhook have the highest median income of any town in the state, but it also has the lowest poverty rate. Just 4.9% of area residents live below the poverty line, less than half the state poverty rate of 10.1% and less than a third of the 15.1% U.S. poverty rate.
Most wealthy American towns are well educated, but Fishhook is an exception. Just 28.3% of area adults have a bachelor’s degree or higher, below both the 28.8% college attainment rate statewide and the 30.3% rate nationwide. A high median income and low educational attainment rate is partially due to the types of jobs available in the area. The region has higher than typical employment in installation, maintenance, and repair — jobs than can be relatively high paying without high education requirements.
3. Arizona: Tanque Verde
> Median household income: $93,412 (state: $51,340)
> Households earning $200,000 or more: 14.2% (state: 4.2%)
> Adults with at least a bachelor’s degree: 50.4% (state: 28.0%)
> Median home value: $361,600 (state: $176,900)
> Population: 16,546
The Tanque Verde census area has the greatest concentration of wealth in Arizona. The typical area household earns $93,412 a year, more than anywhere else in the state. Additionally, 14.2% of all area households earn $200,000 or more a year, by far the largest share in the state and well above the 5.7% share of American households nationwide.
High-income areas are often home to large college-educated populations, and Tanque Verde is no exception. Tanque Verde is the only town in Arizona where over half of all adults have a bachelor’s degree or higher.
4. Arkansas: Tontitown
> Median household income: $75,027 (state: $42,336)
> Households earning $200,000 or more: 8.6% (state: 2.6%)
> Adults with at least a bachelor’s degree: 31.7% (state: 21.5%)
> Median home value: $252,100 (state: $114,700)
> Population: 2,828
The median annual household income in Arkansas of $42,336 is the second lowest of any state. Still, some parts of the state are wealthier than many parts of the country. In Tontitown, the wealthiest town in the state, the typical household earns $75,027 a year, or nearly $20,000 more than the typical American household.
As is often the case, the area’s high incomes are reflected in property values. The typical Tontitown home is worth $252,100, the most of any town in the state and more than double the median home value of $114,700 in Arkansas.
5. California: Los Altos Hills
> Median household income: $243,701 (state: $63,783)
> Households earning $200,000 or more: 56.2% (state: 8.7%)
> Adults with at least a bachelor’s degree: 84.6% (state: 32.0%)
> Median home value: $2,000,000+ (state: $409,300)
> Population: 8,376
Los Altos Hills is the wealthiest town in both California and the United States. The typical Los Altos Hills household earns $243,701 a year, nearly four times the median income of $63,783 in California. The area’s high incomes are reflected in high property values. Los Altos Hills is one of only five American towns where over half of all homes are worth at least $2 million.
Higher education can open doors to higher-paying jobs, and high-income areas tend to have large college-educated populations. In Los Altos Hills, 84.6% of adults have a bachelor’s degree or higher, the largest share of any town in California. Los Altos Hills is located in Silicon Valley, a region with a high concentration of high paying tech companies including Apple, Facebook, and Google.