Alabama: Highland Lakes
> Median household income: $151,055 (state: $48,486)
> Poverty rate: 1.9% (state: 17.5%)
> Median home value: $441,000 (state: $137,200)
> Population: 5,500
The median household income in Highland Lakes is more than triple the median income across Alabama as a whole. Less than 2% of the town’s 5,500 residents live below the poverty line, a fraction of the state poverty rate. Incomes in the town are so high likely partly because of the residents’ high level of education — more than two-thirds of Highland Lakes residents 25 and over hold at least a bachelor’s degree, one of the larger shares of any small city or town in Alabama. Many residents likely commute to high-paying jobs in nearby Birmingham.
> Median household income: $100,641 (state: $76,715)
> Poverty rate: 4.2% (state: 10.8%)
> Median home value: $296,500 (state: $265,200)
> Population: 7,037
In Gateway, Alaska, most households earn more than $100,000 per year, compared to the statewide median income of $76,715. Just 4% of Gateway households have an annual income of less than $10,000, while 12% of households have an annual income greater than $200,000. More than 10% of Alaska residents live in poverty, yet the poverty rate in Gateway is just 4.2%. The town is just outside of Anchorage, Alaska’s largest city, providing residents access to many, likely higher-paying, employment opportunities.
Arizona: Paradise Valley
> Median household income: $204,145 (state: $56,213)
> Poverty rate: 5.0% (state: 16.1%)
> Median home value: $1,505,300 (state: $209,600)
> Population: 14,215
The median household income in Paradise Valley is nearly four times as high as the median in Arizona. The Phoenix suburb has a median home value of just over $1.5 million — by far the highest of any small city or town in the state. Arizona has one of the highest poverty rates of any U.S. state, at 16.1%, 2 percentage points higher than the U.S. rate. In Paradise Valley, just 5.0% of residents live in poverty.
> Median household income: $73,015 (state: $45,726)
> Poverty rate: 8.8% (state: 17.6%)
> Median home value: $170,700 (state: $123,300)
> Population: 13,252
Centerton is the fastest growing small city or town in Arkansas and one of the fastest growing places in the entire country. The area’s population grew by 34.5% from 2013 to 2018, compared to the U.S. population growth of 3.6%.
Centerton is situated next to Bentonville, the home to Wal-Mart’s corporate offices and its roughly 17,000 employees. Wal-Mart is the largest employer in Benton County, where Centerton is located. The corporate leadership positions available to Centerton residents have likely helped raise the town’s median household income to over $73,000 — well above the statewide median of $45,726.
> Median household income: $223,182 (state: $71,228)
> Poverty rate: 2.3% (state: 14.3%)
> Median home value: $2,000,000+ (state: $475,900)
> Population: 2,098
Belvedere, California is just north of Richardson Bay, across the water from San Francisco — the second richest metro area in the country — and within driving distance of San Jose, which is the richest metro area. Access to these two hubs for high-paying jobs is likely a major contributing factor in Belvedere’s high incomes — the city has a median household income of over $223,000 — the highest in California and one of the highest in the nation. Most homes in Belvedere are worth more than $2 million.