More than a few surprises on the list
See correction below.
Where do the richest Americans live? Short answer: the Northeast. Six out of 10 of the nation’s wealthiest zip codes come from Connecticut, Maryland, New York and New Jersey, while three more lie just to the south, in Virginia. Only one zip code west of the Mississippi—76092 in Southlake, Texas—cracks the top 10.
Using 5 year averages from the US Census Bureau, the data was compiled and visualized by FindTheBest, a research engine. (Note that this study was limited to zip codes with at least 10,000 residents.)
Here’s a heat map showing the nation’s richest zip codes, where darker is wealthier.
A few characteristics common to the top 10 (and most of the top 50):
Well-educated: about 80% of residents in the 10 wealthiest zip codes have at least a Bachelor’s degree, compared to only about 30% in the average American zip code.
Costly: at least 87% of residents in the 10 wealthiest zip codes pay more than $2,000 per month on their mortgage.
Married: approximately 70% of residents in each of the wealthiest zip codes are married, compared to only about 50% nationally.
Caucasian: the wealthiest zip codes in the nation are overwhelmingly white, with one exception (see below).
Employed: none of the top 10 wealthiest zip codes have unemployment rates above 6.5%, and most are well under 5%.
57.8% of households make more than $150k
McLean is the most expensive suburb in the Washington metro area, home to many government officials and wealthy politicians.
McLean’s 22101 zip code isn’t just wealthy: it’s smart. Students in 22101 boast the best overall performance on the SAT, ACT, and AP exam compared to every other zip code on this list.
58.7% of households make more than $150k
Southlake is a wealthy suburb near Dallas-Fort Worth, home to Sabre Holdings, an S&P 500 company that owns Travelocity.
Southlake’s 76092 zip code is distinctive for several reasons. Besides being the only top finisher out West, the zip code is tied for the most modern of the 10, with a median home construction year of 1995 (compare that to the national median, 1974). It’s also the least educated of the top 10, with just 23.8% of residents holding advanced degrees (though that’s still over twice the national percentage of 10.6%).
59.7% of households make more than $150k
Darien is a quiet town in southwest Connecticut made up of wealthy professionals, most of whom commute to Manhattan or other nearby cities.
Darien’s 06820 zip code is both very wealthy and very white. With 95% of residents identifying as caucasian, it’s the least diverse of the top 10.
62.2% of households make more than $150k
Clarksville is a wealthy community between Baltimore and Washington DC, home to some of the most expensive properties in the nation.
Clarksville’s 21029 zip code is the most diverse of the top 10, with a population 61% caucasian, 28% Asian and 7% African American. (The next most diverse—20854—is 74% caucasian, essentially the same as the nation as a whole.)
62.4% of households make more than $150k
Sitting on the east bank of the Potomac River, Potomac is home to wealthy DC professionals and several nationally-ranked schools.
With 17.3% residents over 65, the 20854 zip code has more retirees than any other top 10 finisher. It’s also the largest (nearly 50,000 residents) and the most female (51.7%).
Chappaqua, New York
63.7% of households make more than $150k
Once a modest farming town, Chappaqua is now a wealthy hamlet north of New York City containing wealthy professionals and Ivy League-bound students.
Chappaqua’s 10514 zip code, like much of New York, is less car-dependant than the rest of America. More than one in three 10514 residents take public transportation to work, the highest proportion of the wealthiest 10 zip codes.
Great Falls, Virginia
67% of households make more than $150k
While many Great Falls residents spend their days working in DC, their homes sit along the pricey desirable west bank of the Potomac River.
Among the top 10 wealthiest zip codes, Great Falls’ 22066 has the second highest percentage of homeowners (94.3% of residents own a house), as well as the second highest average number of cars (nearly 60% own at least three cars). Compare those figures to the national averages, where just 66% of Americans own a home and just 35% own three or more cars.
67.3% of households make more than $150k
Weston is one of several wealthy towns in southwestern Connecticut, each known for affluence, low crime, great schools, big properties, and lots of open space.
The smallest of the 10 wealthiest zip codes, 06883 is home to 10,203 residents, just large enough to earn a spot in this study.
– rent over $1,500
Fairfax Station, Virginia
67.8% of households make more than $150k
Fairfax Station lies just to the southwest of Washington DC, and like several of the other zip codes on this list, is home to many DC professionals.
22039 is rich, old, and traffic-clogged. The zip code houses more middle-aged and elderly combined than the other nine cities on this list, while its average commute time—38.9 minutes—is the worst of the group. Car ownership may have something to do with this: over 10% of 22039 residents have 5 or more cars, the highest percentage of the bunch.
Short Hills, New Jersey
69.4% of households make more than $150k
West of New York City, Short Hills is a quiet, affluent town, popular among wealthy NYC commuters.
A closer view of East Coast zip codes by household income:
Correction: The original version of this article contained inaccurate information about standardized test performance in the the 07078 zip code. Student test scores in and around the Shorts Hills area are in fact among the best in the nation, not below the national average. Upon further review, the low Public Schools Rating was a result of missing data from NJ’s Department of Education, not poor test performance. This portion of the article has been removed.