The Richest Counties in America Are Right Outside New York and DC
Virginia and New Jersey Are Home to America’s Richest Counties
by Erin Scobie on June 12, 2011
Quick, what’s the richest county in the United States? Orange County? Is Beverly Hills a county? No and no. Using U.S. Census figures, the ten counties with the highest annual median income have been found to exist almost entirely on the East Coast, in the suburbs of New York City and Washington, D.C. Before you close down shop and run off to one of these counties, remember proximity to wealth is a poor way of making personal finance decisions.
With an annual average income of $113,313, Falls Church City, a Virginia suburb of D.C., tops the list. It’s followed by neighboring counties Loudoun and Fairfax, at $112, 021 and $104,259, respectively.
Falls Church appears proud of its status, as voiced by Mayor Nader Baroukh: “I think, given our location, it’s a very attractive place to live and our top schools are one of the big attractions.”
Reasons for the concentration relate to the fact that government is always big business, and the biggest government in America is right across the Potomac. Lobbyists, lawyers and any number of other employees in the government sector commute from Falls Church.
The first county in America to ever break a six-figure median income, Fairfax enjoys similar benefits. With both CIA headquarters and the National Counterterrorism Center operating inside its borders, Fairfax has two entities, which have secure futures and big budgets. Other large companies with government ties, like mortgage lender Freddie Mac reside in Fairfax too.
Further up the coast are the New Jersey suburbs of New York. Hunterdon County holds the fourth spot in the list with an average income of $102,500. While a bit off the beaten track, it nonetheless houses commuters from not only New York City, but even some Philadelphia workers as well. Morris and Somerset counties also break into the list.
The richest western county is one you’ve probably only heard about in movies. Los Alamos County in New Mexico has benefitted from government spending for years, thanks to the frenzied nuclear testing and other scientific research taking place there since the start of the Cold War. The Los Alamos National Laboratory employs more people than any other entity in the county.
Apart from that, only one other county, Douglas County, Colo., can say it’s among the richest places to live. As a suburb located between Denver and Colorado Springs, the state’s two largest cities, Douglas County combines affluent commuters from both metropolitan areas.
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