Special Report

25 Richest Cities in America

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20. Fairbanks, AK
> Median household income: $76,747
> Households earning $200,000 or more: 6.8%
> Adults with a bachelor’s degree: 29.6%
> March 2019 unemployment: 6.4%

The typical household in Fairbanks, Alaska, earns $76,747 a year. The metro area’s relative prosperity is underscored by the small share of residents facing serious financial hardship. Just 2.8% of Fairbanks households earn less than $10,000 a year, nearly the smallest share of any U.S. city and well below the 6.5% share U.S. households.

Both Fairbanks and Anchorage — the only two metro areas in Alaska — rank on this list. Alaska as a whole is a relatively high-income state, partially due to the state’s permanent fund, which every year pays all residents a share of the state’s revenue from oil.

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19. Minneapolis-St. Paul-Bloomington, MN-WI
> Median household income: $76,856
> Households earning $200,000 or more: 9.2%
> Adults with a bachelor’s degree: 41.7%
> March 2019 unemployment: 3.6%

Minneapolis-St. Paul is the only metro area in the Midwest to rank on this list. The typical Twin Cities household earns nearly $77,000 a year, about $16,500 more than the typical American household. Incomes tend to rise with educational attainment, and not only is Minneapolis one of the wealthiest metro areas in the country, but also it is one of the best educated. About 42% of adults in the metro area have a bachelor’s degree or higher, well above the 32% share of American adults nationwide with similar education. Several Fortune 500 companies, including 3M, Best Buy, and UnitedHealth Group, are headquartered in the metro area.

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18. Anchorage, AK
> Median household income: $76,871
> Households earning $200,000 or more: 8.1%
> Adults with a bachelor’s degree: 31.6%
> March 2019 unemployment: 6.3%

The typical Anchorage household earns $76,871 a year, more than the median income in all but 17 other metro areas nationwide. Unlike nearly every other metro area on this list, Anchorage has a weak job market. As of March, 6.3% of the metro area’s labor force was unemployed, well above the 3.8% national jobless rate. The area’s higher than average incomes area are due in part to the Alaska Permanent Fund dividend paid to every resident annually. The payment amount fluctuates from year to year, and in 2018, eligible Alaskans each received $1,600.

The area’s high incomes are partially offset by a high cost of living. Goods and services are 9.2% more expensive in Anchorage than they are nationwide.

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17. Vallejo-Fairfield, CA
> Median household income: $77,133
> Households earning $200,000 or more: 8.8%
> Adults with a bachelor’s degree: 26.6%
> March 2019 unemployment: 4.6%

Vallejo-Fairfield is one of several metro areas in California’s San Francisco Bay area to rank on this list. The typical metro area household earns $77,133 a year, about $17,000 more than the typical American household.

Unlike nearly every other city on this list, Vallejo-Fairfield residents are less likely to have a four-year college degree than the typical American. Just 26.6% of metro area adults have a bachelor’s degree compared to 32.0% of American adults. The lower than average bachelor’s degree attainment rate is likely related to the kinds of jobs in the area. For example, 9.3% of area employees work in construction, which often has fewer higher-education requirements. This share is a far larger share than in most cities and well above the 6.6% national concentration.

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16. Baltimore-Columbia-Towson, MD
> Median household income: $77,394
> Households earning $200,000 or more: 10.1%
> Adults with a bachelor’s degree: 39.5%
> March 2019 unemployment: 3.9%

With a median annual household income of $80,776, Maryland is the wealthiest state in the country. Wealth in the state is largely concentrated outside of major metropolitan areas, and even though Baltimore-Columbia-Towson ranks among the wealthiest cities in the country, its median household income of $77,294 is lower than the statewide median.

The high incomes in the Baltimore-Columbia-Towson metro area and other parts of Maryland are partially attributable to both public and private sector contractor jobs in nearby Washington D.C.

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