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The 25 richest counties in America

Many are concentrated in a few choice locations, including near Washington, D.C., and New York.

By Karen Datko Apr 13, 2010 12:38PM

This post comes from Jim Wang at partner blog Bargaineering.

 

I was a little surprised to learn that my home county, Howard County, Md., was the third-richest county by median income based on 2008 data from the U.S. Census' American Community Survey.

 

I always knew that Howard County was one of the more affluent areas in Maryland, but I figured that it wouldn’t stand a chance being compared with the suburbs around New York City, which are also among the top 10.

 

Another bit of data that I found both surprising and disconcerting was the percentage of those over 25 with at least a bachelor’s degree in the richest counties. Arlington County, Va., (No. 9) was a staggering 71%, while three other counties (two in Virginia and Howard County, Md.) had more than 60%. Eleven counties had more than 50%.

While I knew that college degrees have a significant impact on one’s earning power, and I also know drawing causation out of so little data is dangerous, but this only confirms the suspicions that an advanced degree is almost necessary to get the high-paying jobs.

Richest counties in America

Rank

County

Population

% with bachelor's+

Median household  income

25

Suffolk County, N.Y.

1,510,716

34%

$84,767

24

Chester County, Pa.

485,083

51%

$84,844

23

Alexandria city, Va.

140,657

63%

$85,135

22

Summit County, Utah

35,448

53%

$85,448

21

Charles County, Md.

140,032

28%

$86,586

20

Forsyth County, Ga.

158,008

46%

$86,938

19

Santa Clara County, Calif.

1,734,756

46%

$87,287

18

Marin County, Calif.

246,985

55%

$88,101

17

Williamson County, Tenn.

165,336

53%

$88,316

16

Goochland County, Va.

20,494

32%

$88,552

15

Putnam County, N.Y.

99,195

40%

$88,580

14

Prince William County, Va.

358,719

38%

$88,675

13

Calvert County, Md.

88,126

30%

$89,049

12

Stafford County, Va.

120,219

36%

$89,536

11

Nassau County, N.Y.

1,352,817

45%

$93,579

10

Montgomery County, Md.

942,747

59%

$93,999

9

Arlington County, Va.

204,889

71%

$96,390

8

Douglas County, Colo.

270,286

54%

$97,480

7

Morris County, N.J.

486,459

52%

$97,565

6

Fairfax city, Va.

23,281

52%

$98,133

5

Somerset County, N.J.

321,589

53%

$100,207

4

Hunterdon County, N.J.

129,000

52%

$100,947

3

Howard County, Md.

272,412

60%

$101,710

2

Fairfax County, Va.

1,005,980

60%

$106,785

1

Loudoun County, Va.

277,433

58%

$110,643

 

Another surprising fact is the concentration and location of affluent counties. Maryland and Virginia claim 12 of the 25 counties. New York and New Jersey snag another six. You can read Forbes’ interpretation of the data, which points to the counties' proximity to major metropolitan centers as well. 

 

Thoughts?

 

Related reading at Bargaineering:

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