6. Colorado: Douglas County
> County median household income: $111,154
> State median household income: $65,458
> Poverty rate: 3.6%
> Oct. unemployment: 2.8%
> Major metro area: Denver-Aurora-Lakewood, CO
Like in many of the wealthier areas of the country, Douglas County residents are much more likely to work in certain high-paying professions than those who live in lower-income areas. For instance, 12% of Douglas County’s labor force works in either finance, insurance, or real estate — all of which tend to be better paying than the average job. Nationwide, just 6.6% of workers are employed in these fields.
Though Colorado is one of the wealthier states, Douglas County is doing much better in several key economic measures. The county’s median household income of $111,154 a year is more than $45,000 higher than the state median. And while Colorado’s poverty rate of 11.5% is well below the 14.6% U.S. poverty rate, in Douglas County, the poverty rate is just 3.6%.
7. Connecticut: Fairfield County
> County median household income: $89,773
> State median household income: $73,781
> Poverty rate: 8.8%
> Oct. unemployment: 3.7%
> Major metro area: Bridgeport-Stamford-Norwalk, CT
Fairfield County sits on Connecticut’s southern border with New York and is within commuting distance from New York City. This helps explains why county workers are nearly twice as likely to work in the relatively high-paying finance and insurance sector as the typical American. Fairfield County households earn more than those in any other part of the state.
As with many of the more prosperous counties, Fairfield County’s population is growing, expanding by 3.1% over the last five years. The county’s population grew by nearly 30,000 people over the past five years, accounting for a 3.1% increase. Overall, Connecticut’s population grew by 0.6%, but without the increases from Fairfield County, its population would have fallen.
8. Delaware: New Castle County
> County median household income: $68,336
> State median household income: $63,036
> Poverty rate: 11.9%
> Oct. unemployment: 3.5%
> Major metro area: Philadelphia-Camden-Wilmington, PA-NJ-DE-MD
New Castle County is one of just three in Delaware. It is the only part of the state in which the median household income of $68,336 a year surpasses that of the state, which is $5,300 less. The county is within commuting distance from both Baltimore and Philadelphia, providing its residents easy access to those major cities and all of the high-paying jobs they offer.
Delaware adults have a 31.0% bachelor’s degree attainment rate, in line with the national attainment rate of 30.9%. New Castle County adults are much more likely to have a four-year degree, with a 35.7% degree attainment rate. This higher level of education qualifies many for more lucrative positions.
9. Florida: St. Johns County
> County median household income: $73,640
> State median household income: $50,883
> Poverty rate: 9.1%
> Oct. unemployment: 2.5%
> Major metro area: Jacksonville, FL
St. Johns County’s poverty rate of just 9.1% is the lowest of Florida’s 59 counties. This is likely, at least in part, due to the area’s relatively low unemployment rate of 2.5%, as compared to Florida’s 3.4% unemployment rate.
Florida has a relatively low bachelor’s degree attainment rate. Just 28.5% of adults hold a four-year degree. Yet St. Johns County 43% of adults hold a college degree, qualifying them for more job opportunities.
10. Georgia: Forsyth County
> County median household income: $96,445
> State median household income: $52,977
> Poverty rate: 6.5%
> Oct. unemployment: 3.0%
> Major metro area: Atlanta-Sandy Springs-Roswell, GA
Just a few miles northeast of Atlanta, Forsyth County, Georgia, has a median annual household income of $96,445 — more than $43,000 higher than the median income statewide. More than half of Forsyth County adults hold at least a bachelor’s degree, qualifying them for more high-level, high-paying jobs. Across Georgia, less than 30% of adults graduated from college.
Forsyth County’s population is one of the fastest growing in the country, increasing from 177,103 in 2012 to 211,300 in 2017 — a 19.3% rise. That increase is more than five times the nationwide population growth rate of 3.8%, and nearly four times Georgia’s population rate of 5.0%.