All Articles Finance Where do the wealthy Americans live?

Where do the wealthy Americans live?

4 min read


One of the hottest political topics of late has been the upcoming increase in taxes for wealthy Americans starting in January 2013. In particular, income for individuals making $200,000 or more will be subject to an additional tax of 0.9%. Married couples filing jointly and making $250,000 or more will be subject to the same increase. Many believe that this increase will cause the wealthy to spend less causing companies to have to let go of staff, which will then cause the economy to be even worse off than it is today. If true, this will have a large effect on local economies especially since many of the wealthy live near each other. Where do the wealthy live? To find the wealthy we can look at two factors: net worth and income.

Net worth

There are about 18.9 million households in the U.S. (or about 16%) with a net worth of $500,000 or greater. These households are spread out across the U.S., but many are located in large cities such as New York, Boston, Chicago, Los Angeles, San Francisco, Seattle and others. The ZIP code with the most households with a net worth of $500,000 or greater is 20854 located in Potomac, Md., a wealthy suburb of Washington, D.C.

ZIP codes with the most households with net worth of $500,000 or Greater, 2012

ZIP code Location 2012 No. of HH with Net Worth of $500k or Greater 2012 Average Net Worth
20854 Potomac, MD



77479 Sugar Land, TX



92677 Laguna Niguel, CA



11746 Huntington Station, NY



60010 Barrington, IL



Source: Esri Updated Demographics 2012/2017

Click on image to enlarge map.

The ZIP code with highest net worth in the U.S. (with at least 100 households) is 94027 in Atherton, Calif. The average net worth in that ZIP code is $1,982,791. This isn’t surprising given its proximity to Silicon Valley. This is followed by the ZIP code 22066 in Great Falls, Va., with an average net worth of $1,972,708. This is a wealthy suburb of Washington, D.C. — just outside the Beltway.


The households with high net worth may not necessarily also earn a lot. Their net worth may be due to the value of their home or investments rather than income. In the U.S., 4%, or about 4.7 million, households earn $200,000 a year or more. Like those with a net worth of $500,000 or more, these high earners are spread across the U.S. though many can be found in cities.

The ZIP code with the most households making $200,000 or greater is 10024 in New York, N.Y. In fact, the top 5 ZIP codes and 12 of the top 20 are all in New York City. Other ZIP codes with a high number of households making $200,000 or greater are 20854 (Potomac, Md.), 60614 (Chicago) and 10853 (Scarsdale, N.Y.).

Click on image to enlarge the map.

The ZIP codes where there is a high concentration of people making $200,000 or more aren’t necessarily the ones with the highest average income. While they have high averages because of the wealth, there are areas with fewer households but much higher averages. The ZIP code with the highest average is Great Falls, Va., which also has a high average net worth.

ZIP Codes with Highest Average Income, 2012

ZIP Code City 2012 Average Household Income
22066 Great Falls, VA


94027 Atherton, CA


07078 Short Hills, NJ


60043 Kenilworth, IL


10106 New York, NY


Source: Esri Updated Demographics 2012/2017

Who are the wealthy?

Esri developed the Tapestry Segmentation system that classifies U.S. residential neighborhoods into 65 unique market segments based on socioeconomic and demographic characteristics. The ZIP codes with the most households earning $200,000 or more and who have a net worth of $500,000 or more primarily have a dominant tapestry segment of Top Rung.

Residents of Top Rung neighborhoods are mature, married, highly educated and wealthy. The median age is 44.6 years; one-third of the residents are in their peak earning years of 45 to 64. More than 77% of these households are composed of married couples; half of them have children and half do not. Their wealth comes from investments; income from interest, dividends and rental properties; and remuneration from positions in management, professions and sales, particularly in the finance, education, legal and health care industry sectors. The proportion of households receiving self-employment income is twice that of the national level. The population is highly educated: more than 70% of residents aged 25 years and older hold a bachelor’s or graduate degree.

More information about Esri’s data can be found at or to learn more about Esri in general, go to

Pam Allison is a digital media, marketing strategist and location intelligence consultant. You can visit her blog at