5. Boston-Cambridge-Newton, MA-NH
> Median household income: $85,691
> Households earning $200,000 or more: 14.6%
> Adults with a bachelor’s degree: 47.6%
> March 2019 unemployment: 2.7%
Boston is one of only five U.S. metro areas where most households earn at least $85,000 a year. Incomes tend to go up with educational attainment, and nearly half of all adults in the Boston metro area have a bachelor’s degree or higher. The well-educated population is partially attributable to the high concentration of colleges and universities. Post-secondary institutions in the metro area — which include Harvard, MIT, and Northeastern — awarded over 104,000 degrees in 2016 alone.
The metro area also has a strong job market, with an unemployment rate of just 2.7%. Major employers in and around Boston include General Electric, Massachusetts General Hospital, and government contractor, MITRE Corporation.
4. Napa, CA
> Median household income: $86,562
> Households earning $200,000 or more: 12.4%
> Adults with a bachelor’s degree: 36.2%
> March 2019 unemployment: 3.5%
Napa is one of three California metro areas to rank among the five wealthiest American cities. A small city of less than 150,000, Napa is located just north of the San Francisco Bay — a region home to several other metro areas on this list. Most households in Napa earn at least $86,500 a year, and 12.4% of households earn at least $200,000.
Napa has global recognition as a wine-making region, and local wineries and the tourism they attract make a significant contribution to the economy. Of all workers in the area, 3.4% are employed in agriculture, double the 1.7% national concentration. Additionally, 13.7% of workers are employed in accommodation and food services, well above the 9.7% national share.
3. Bridgeport-Stamford-Norwalk, CT
> Median household income: $91,198
> Households earning $200,000 or more: 20.4%
> Adults with a bachelor’s degree: 47.1%
> March 2019 unemployment: 4.1%
Though Bridgeport proper is a relatively poor city, the broader Bridgeport-Stamford-Norwalk metro area is the wealthiest metro area in New England and the eastern United States. Bridgeport-Stamford-Norwalk is one of only three U.S. metro areas where most households earn over $90,000. Additionally, more than 20% metro area households earn at least $200,000 a year compared to just 6.9% of American households. Much of the metro area is within commuting distance of high paying jobs in and around New York City.
2. San Francisco-Oakland-Hayward, CA
> Median household income: $101,714
> Households earning $200,000 or more: 21.4%
> Adults with a bachelor’s degree: 49.3%
> March 2019 unemployment: 3.0%
San Francisco is one of only two U.S. metro areas where the majority of households earn over $100,000 a year. Incomes tend to rise with educational attainment, and San Francisco also has one of the best educated populations of metro areas in the country. Nearly half of all adults in the metro area have a bachelor’s degree or higher compared to 32.0% of adults nationwide.
Likely due in part to the city’s talent pool, San Francisco is a hub of high-paying employers offering high-skilled positions. Financial services companies Charles Schwab and Wells Fargo are both headquartered in the city, and tech giants like Dropbox, Facebook, Google, and Twitter are all within commuting distance. The city’s extremely high cost of living also relates to its high salaries. Goods and services cost, on average, 25% more in the metro area than across the country.
1. San Jose-Sunnyvale-Santa Clara, CA
> Median household income: $117,474
> Households earning $200,000 or more: 25.7%
> Adults with a bachelor’s degree: 50.8%
> March 2019 unemployment: 3.0%
San Jose-Sunnyvale-Santa Clara — commonly referred to as Silicon Valley — is far and away the wealthiest metro area in the United States. The typical area household earns $117,474 a year, at least $15,000 more than every other metro area and nearly double the $60,336 median annual household income nationwide. San Jose-Sunnyvale-Santa Clara is also the only U.S. metro area where one in every four households earns at least $200,000 a year.
The region earned its nickname because of the high concentrations of tech-startups in the area. Today, tech giants headquartered in the area like Facebook and Google are among the best-paying companies in the country.