Do You Live in One of the Richest Towns in America?
In 2018, the median household income in the U.S. was $63,179. That may sound like a lot, but it wouldn’t be enough to get by in some small towns around the country. Every year, Bloomberg compiles a list of the richest small towns in America — and the price tags on these neighborhoods is sure to make your jaw drop!
To qualify as “small,” each town on the list had to have a population between 1,000 and 50,000 people. To qualify as “rich,” the average household income had to be three to four times greater than the average. Let’s find out what makes these locales so special.
25. McLean, Virginia
McLean, Virginia, a suburb of Washington, D.C., has a fairly “modest” average income of $186,962. How is that merely modest? The median home value in the area is more than $955,000. Obviously, most Americans can’t afford to live in this upper-crust neighborhood.
Why do the homes cost so much? It’s the ideal community for politicians, diplomats and government workers who want to live near the city. McLean offers a sparse suburban feel with plenty of space between houses, but it’s not quite rural. The town has lots of restaurants, coffee shops and parks families, and the public school system is one of the best in the nation.
24. Travilah, Maryland
Another suburb of Washington, D.C., Travilah has a population of around 12,000. With an average household income of $284,000 and a median home value of just over $1 million, living in this town costs 20% more than the average U.S. city. Is it worth it?
According to residents, Travilah is one of the best places to live in Maryland. Most residents own their homes, and neighborhoods have a rural feel with city perks. Like McLean, Travilah offers an easy commute to D.C., a lot of restaurants and parks and highly rated schools. Additionally, the crime rate is well below the national average.
23. Riverside, Connecticut
Riverside, Connecticut, got its name from the Mianus River running along the western border. It boasts an average household income of $290,904 and a population of less than 9,000. Depending on where you live (north or south of Interstate 95), houses range from about $1 million to well over $2 million.
The neighborhood offers an easy commute to NYC, well-rated public schools and plenty of shops and restaurants in nearby Old Greenwich. Greenwich Point Park features a host of recreation opportunities on Long Island Sound. Residents say, “It feels like we’re in a small town, but at the same time we have access to the amenities of a big town.”
22. Ladue, Missouri
Ladue, Missouri, is a suburb of St. Louis, with a population of 8,591 and a median household income of $291,794. This small town has an overall livability rating of A+, but it drops all the way to a C+ when it comes to diversity. Like many Midwestern towns, it attracts residents with conservative points of view — but don’t confuse that with “backwards.”
If you’re coming from either of the fast-paced coasts, you’ll be pleasantly surprised to find there’s a wonderful work/life balance in Ladue. As a community, the residents place a large emphasis on family and activities outside of work. It also boasts plenty of parks, restaurants and recreation opportunities nearby, and it’s just a short drive into the city.
21. Kentfield, California
Kentfield, California, is located in the notoriously expensive Marin County, just north of San Francisco. Homes are typically large and on large, wooded lots. It should be noted up front that the cost of living in Kentfield is a whopping 196% above the U.S. average. That probably explains why residents need to make an average of $299,450 a year.
Anchored by the College of Marin and the popular Woodlands Market, the area is upscale, although it doesn’t offer much in the way of entertainment. If you want to go to a restaurant or shopping, you’re better off hopping over to a neighboring town or making the short drive to San Francisco.
20. Paradise Valley, Arizona
The hometown of actor Emma Stone, Paradise Valley, Arizona, is close to downtown Phoenix. The average household income is a cool $300,521 a year. What makes Paradise Valley special is that it’s in a SUP (Special Use Permit) area, and houses cannot exceed one unit per acre.
In the suburbs of a city as large as Phoenix, it’s rare to find properties that offer such a “rural” feel. When you do find them, they come at a cost. Homes have an average value of just over $1.8 million. Keep in mind, that it’s Arizona: If you’re not a “hot weather person,” you might find summers unbearable.
19. Rumson, New Jersey
Close to NYC, Rumson has been on this list for many years, but now it’s starting to gain in rank. The area climbed a huge 19 spots between 2018 and 2019 and boasts an average household income of $303,542. Why is it so popular? For residents, Rumson provides easy access to and from the city.
This is definitely one of those upper-class neighborhoods that feels upper class. Houses are huge, driveways are gated and chain stores and restaurants are nowhere near the neighborhoods. Rumor has it that Bruce Springsteen lives nearby. With easy access to the Navesink and Shrewsbury Rivers and the beaches of Jersey Shore, it’s worth it if you can afford it.
18. Westport, Connecticut
Another suburb of New York City, Westport, Connecticut, has an average household income of $304,439. Located just an hour outside of Manhattan, it’s situated on Long Island Sound — often called the “Gold Coast.” Widely known as a refuge for the rich and famous, Westport is a great place to spot a celebrity or two!
The town is also great for families. Schools are ranked very highly, and there’s a wide range of recreational activities and a thriving sense of community. Once the home of farmers and artists, Westport is transitioning as developers are knocking down older homes to build “houses on steroids.” The gigantic, modern behemoths are expected to cost around $1 million.
17. University Park, Texas
University Park, a suburb of Dallas, has held steady as the 17th richest town for several years now. It’s home to Southern Methodist University and has an average household income of $304,898. Consistently ranked as one of the best Dallas suburbs to live in, the desirable school system and low crime rates attract plenty of buyers.
The university’s buildings dominate the eastern part of town, and the rest of it looks like typical Smalltown, U.S.A. The average home costs about $1.19 million. Equally important, University Park offers an easy commute into Dallas, though traffic can get tricky.
16. Great Falls, Virginia
Another suburb of Washington D.C, Great Falls is home to the famous Great Falls Park and amazing views of the Potomac River. The has an average household income of $309,599. Despite the over development in much of Northern Virginia, Great Falls remains largely rural.
Locals love the town center and small-town vibe offered by locally owned coffee shops and boutiques. There are trees, pastures and lots of open space — a mere 17 miles west of the White House! A highly-rated school system and low crime rate add to the desirability, but houses don’t come cheap. Expect to pay around $1.7 million.
15. Larchmont, New York
Larchmont is one of the most expensive places to live in the U.S., but it’s also one of the best places to live. Ranked as one of America’s top small towns, Larchmont (home to “Black Swan” author Nicholas Nassim Taleb) has an average household income of $313,586 and a median home value of $1.18 million.
Described by some as a “picturesque village,” Larchmont’s stately homes and seaside location on Long Island Sound create plenty of charm. With tree-lined streets, several parks, walking trails and (of course) a beach, Larchmont is ideal for a family who loves to spend time outside.
14. West University Place, Texas
According to a 2019 list of America’s 50 Best Cities to Live, West University Place is #1. It’s also one of the most expensive places to live. The suburb of Houston has an average household income of $330,459 and a median home value of $954,000 — affordable compared to other towns on our list, but still out of reach for most buyers.
A dollar goes a long way in West University Place. Goods and services cost about 5% less than the nationwide average. For a small town, it also offers a huge variety of things to do. Restaurants, museums, bars and theaters pepper the downtown area, and it’s only a short drive to the city center.
13. Winnetka, Illinois
The setting of the classic Christmas movie Home Alone, Winnetka, Illinois, has an average household income of $331,231 and a median home value of slightly more than $1 million. Often referred to by locals as the “crown jewel of the North Shore,” the town boasts a desirable location right on gorgeous Lake Michigan.
Residents can be described as the “educated affluent.” Nearly 45% of the adult population have a graduate degree and more than 40% have a bachelor’s degree. Among other amenities, the village offers four beaches, several parks, a golf course, an ice rink and more — all open to the public.
12. Old Greenwich, Connecticut
NYC suburb Old Greenwich, Connecticut, dropped a few spots in recent years, but with an average income of $336,693, it’s still one of the country’s most affluent neighborhoods. Unlike Westport with its thriving arts scene, Old Greenwich offers a quieter way of life.
With its stately old homes — some hundreds of years old — this neighborhood just screams “old money.” In fact, the town was originally founded all the way back in 1640. It also offers the lowest property taxes in the New York City metro area, so it’s an ideal location for commuters and those who just like to visit the city fairly often.
11. The Village of Indian Hill, Ohio
With a population of around 5,900 people, Indian Hill is technically a city, but it still has that “village” vibe (and it’s right there in the full name). Located in Hamilton County, The Village of Indian Hill is a suburb of Cincinnati and has an average household income of $338,267. It’s a quiet neighborhood with a rural atmosphere and a strong sense of community.
The town, which encompasses nearly 20 square miles, has a rich history and a strong reputation for safety. The local school system boasts test scores that are 91% above the national average, while the crime rate is 68% below the national average. If you want to live in a true small town (but with lots of amenities), this is the place to be!
10. Glencoe, Illinois
Located in Northeast Illinois along the banks of Lake Michigan, Glencoe sits about 25 miles from the center of Chicago. Up five spots from 2018, it has an average household income of $339,883 and a median home value of $940,000. With children living in 40% of the households, it’s a more family-centric community than some others.
Housing ranges from beachfront estates to traditional homes located on quiet, tree-lined streets. The village is home to the world-renowned Chicago Botanic Gardens, the acclaimed Winters Theater and numerous parks and recreation areas. A charming downtown district sits just three blocks from the beach.
9. Bronxville, New York
About 15 miles from Manhattan, Bronxville, New York, has an average household income of $340,448. Unlike some others on our list, this Westchester County town is affluent without being flashy or fancy. At only one square mile in size, it’s tiny, but it manages to squeeze in a lot of amenities (without overcrowding).
Locals love the area for its top-rated schools, lively downtown area, picturesque houses and, of course, the amazing commute. For residents of Bronxville, a trip to the city can take less than 30 minutes on the express train. Although more affordable options are available, single family homes typically fetch more than $3 million.
8. Darien, Connecticut
Yet another suburb of New York City, Darien, Connecticut, has an average household income of $341,090 and a median home value of $1.3 million. A 14.9-square-mile coastal town in Fairfield County, Darien boasts one of the highest-ranked school systems in the state. It also provides tons of natural beauty and an easy commute to NYC.
Locals say it’s a sports-oriented town, with most children taking part in recreational soccer, softball or other activities. Many residents have small children, but regardless of your parental status, you can still enjoy the active social and arts culture, two public beaches, numerous parks and neighborly vibe.
7. Highland Park, Texas
Highland Park is an affluent suburb of Dallas with an average household income of $358,994. Located just 4 miles north of downtown, it offers a lot of small-town charm, but with plenty of easy access to city life. Residents are attracted to some of the best-rated schools in the state and the quiet, tree-lined streets.
Although the neighborhoods are densely packed with homes, the houses tend to be large and stately. The quiet, walkable streets are regularly patrolled by the town’s police, and crime rates are low. Locals especially love visiting Turtle Creek in Lakeside Park. Set among some of the neighborhood’s more jaw-dropping homes, it’s a popular place for an afternoon picnic or an impromptu photo session.
6. Short Hills, New Jersey
Located in the southwest corner of Essex County, Short Hills offers easy access to New York City. The average household income is $367,491, and the median home value is just over $1.3 million. Homebuyers flock to the town for the top-ranked school system and quiet neighborhoods.
Of course, if you’re from Jersey, you know it’s all about the malls, and Short Hills offers one of the best. With both national retailers and high-end luxury boutiques, the Short Hills Mall offers something for everyone. The town is also home to a critically acclaimed theater group, beautiful hiking trails, a nature preserve and countless recreational facilities.
5. Hillsborough, California
With an average household income of $373,128, Hillsborough, California, gained one spot from last year. The notoriously hilly neighborhood is home to some of the richest people in the world — like Charles Johnson, founder of Franklin Resources, who is worth $5.7 billion. Located between San Francisco and San Mateo, it’s a favorite of tech buffs.
Residents claim you can’t find a better suburb. The landscape is dominated by enormous, elegant homes with well-manicured front yards, and the city averages 307 days of sunshine a year. The school system is also hard to beat, but it’s a purely residential neighborhood, so you’ll have to head elsewhere for food and shopping.
4. Los Altos Hills, California
Located in the southern stretch of Silicon Valley, Los Altos Hills is a beautiful residential community with an average household income of $386,174. Consistently ranked as one of the most exclusive neighborhoods in the U.S., it’s home to celebs like Google co-founder Sergey Brin.
A purely residential neighborhood, Los Altos Hills is known for its large plots of land. To give the area a more rural feel, designers specifically left out sidewalks and street lamps — but included plenty of walking and horse trails. In addition, all the homes are single-family houses. There’s not a single apartment, condominium or townhouse to be found within city limits.
3. Cherry Hills Village, Colorado
A short ride from many of America’s top ski resorts, Cherry Hills Village has an average household income of $394,259. Once a vacation destination for city dwellers, it’s now the residence of choice for many upper-echelon business people and celebrities.
Set against a dramatic backdrop of Front Range mountain peaks, the village is now home to dozens of mega-mansions, with an average home value of more than $1.2 million. Because of the strong community emphasis on preserving open space, commercial zoning barely exists, but the area is home to a far-reaching trail system, two private country clubs and a top-ranking school system.
2. Scarsdale, New York
Featuring a nice blend of quaintness and big-city amenities, Scarsdale’s average household income is $417,335. The main draw for many residents is the easy commute. A morning express train can get you to Grand Central Station in just 30 minutes flat — and commuters are guaranteed parking in the village!
Known for its beautiful homes and Tudor-style architecture, Scarsdale offers top-rated schools, a public golf course and tennis courts, plus a pool that is heavily subsidized by the town (just $428 a season for families who want to sign up). In addition, there’s a true downtown area with lots of trendy shops and eateries.
1. Atherton, California
Atherton, California, isn’t just home to the super-rich. It’s home to the MEGA super-rich. If you want a house here, be prepared to spend more than $6 million. The average household income is a huge $450,696 per year, and prominent residents include Facebook’s Sheryl Sandberg and brokerage magnate Charles Schwab.
From the outside, Atherton doesn’t look much different than any other upper-class neighborhood in America — giant mansions hidden behind fences on tree-lined streets. But it’s located on the San Francisco Peninsula, where even small homes go for millions of dollars. Incidentally, the mostly residential town is located less than 20 minutes from the headquarters of Facebook, Google and Tesla.
Honorable Mention: Los Altos, California
Los Altos, California, is a suburb of San Jose with an average household income of $280,162. Located at the southern end of Silicon Valley (nestled right next to #4 Los Altos Hills), it’s a neighborhood of choice for families, singles and investors alike. The city is one of the quieter locations in the valley due to a restriction on commercial establishments.
Although it’s close to many thriving tech locales, such as San Jose and Palo Alto, Los Altos is decidedly non-tech. Some of the largest employers in town include the Los Altos School District and the City of Los Altos. Even better? Many of the homes go for less than $2 million — a bargain when compared with neighboring cities.
Honorable Mention: Greenville, New York
Located just outside New York City, Greenville has a population of around 7,000 and a median income of $279,820. It’s a family-centric neighborhood, with more than 27% of households including children. Many of the town’s residents refer to it as “Edgemont,” which is the name of the school district.
Right up the road from the Scarsdale train station, Edgemont offers a great commute, outstanding schools and a strong multicultural environment for much less money than its southern neighbor. The town is known for its eclectic housing, with many homes built in the 1920s. Residents can also easily stroll over to Scarsdale Village.
Honorable Mention: Montecito, California
Located in Santa Barbara County, Montecito is a hidden enclave of celebrity homes with an average household income of $276,564. A truly idyllic seaside village, it’s also one of the nation’s wealthiest communities. Oprah Winfrey lives there, and Gwyneth Paltrow is reportedly building a home on a lot she recently purchased.
Nestled between the ocean and the Santa Ynez Mountain Range, it doesn’t leave any room for growth or urban sprawl. Many of the homes have been there for decades, with styles running the gamut from storybook cottages to oceanfront estates. Of course, the weather is fantastic, and the locals enjoy hiking, biking, horseback riding, surfing and more year-round.
Honorable Mention: Rye, New York
Rye is a suburb of New York City with an average household income of $276,177. Locals love the town as much for its location on Long Island Sound as they do for its easy commute. Residents have a variety of styles to choose from, from colonials to ranch-style homes — all costing more than $1 million, on average.
In addition to public beaches and an iconic amusement park — the one featured in the movie Big — Rye offers top notch-schools and plenty of outdoor recreation. In addition, there’s a thriving downtown scene, with shopping, theater and award-winning dining and beachfront restaurants.
Honorable Mention: Piedmont, California
Long considered one of the best places to live in the entire state of California, Piedmont has an average household income of $275,243. By the 1920s, it was known as the city of millionaires due to its high concentration of millionaires per square mile — and the area has only gotten richer since then.
Residents love the city’s small town feel and central location. Just a few miles away from San Francisco, Piedmont is the only city in the U.S. that is entirely surrounded by another single city (Oakland). Like the entire bay area, Piedmont is rather hilly, but it offers some incredible views!