The United States is known throughout the world as one of the wealthiest countries. What is even more interesting is the major divide between the upper and lower class in the United States. When driving, you can go from small abodes to overwhelmingly rich mansions over a very short distance. With this in mind, where do the richest people in the U.S. live? According to the U.S. Census Bureau, the 10 wealthiest neighborhoods are surprisingly diverse across the country, touching North, South East, and West. So, no matter what part of the country you live in, you may not be too far from our country’s rich-elite.
1) Orinda City, CA
Orinda City is one of the larger communities on this list. Median household incomes are $164,437, and median home values are significantly higher than all but a few small areas in the country.
Located a short distance from San Francisco, many of the residents of Orinda are considered affluent suburban professionals who live outside the city and commute. The city rests in the hills, which provides a beautiful rustic landscape for its residents as well as for many local hikers and naturalists. Orinda was named the second friendliest city in America by Forbes magazine.
The city hosts two film festivals every year: The Orinda Film Festival at the historic Orinda Theatre and the California Independent Film Festival. Orinda is home to numerous writers, several high-profile business leaders, such as John Hammergren (McKesson) and Patricia Dunn (Hewlett Packard), as well as several notable athletes: Matt Cain, Stephen Curry, and Buster Posey.
2) Winnetka, IL
Most people may recognize Winnetka, IL, as the home place of Macaulay Culkin in the movies Home Alone and Home Alone 2. The suburb has also been host to numerous other films such as Sixteen Candles, The Breakfast Club, Ferris Bueller’s Day Off, and Planes, Trains, and Automobiles, as well as many, many more.
Along with its film prowess, Winnetka is also known as the second most affluent neighborhood in America. A suburb surrounding Chicago, Winnetka has a median household income of $211,000 and home values averaging near a million per home.
With the number of movies filmed in the area, it is not surprising to hear that there are several actors and actresses who have called Winnetka home including Charlton Heston, Rock Hudson, and Rainn Wilson. In addition, athletes such as Jay Cutler, and other notable names like Rahm Emanuel, Donald Rumsfeld, and former President and CEO of Crate and Barrel, Barbara Turf, also call the neighborhood home.
3) Southlake City, TX
Southlake City, TX, is notable for several reasons, however first and foremost its wealth is among the country’s most affluent. It is listed as one of the top “100K Communities” recognized by cities that have a high percentage of residents with incomes over $100,000. In fact, more than 71% of Southlake City’s residents earn over $100,000 per year. With Southlake City’s high-income, it would be thought that the average home price would be commensurate to income. However, contrary to other cities on this list, Southlake City has a median home value of only $514,000.
Like many other neighborhoods on this list, Southlake City is known for its public school system. However, it also boasts Carroll High School’s 8 football state championships—the school is well known nationally as having one of the best high-school football programs. In fact, Southlake City is well known as a mecca for producing Dallas Cowboy players.
4) Ho-Ho-Kus Borough, NJ
In 2011, New Jersey Monthly magazine named Ho-Ho-Kus Borough as the best town to live in in New Jersey. This is because of its low crime, excellent schools, proximity to high-profile urban areas (such as New York City), and of course its affluence. Residents of this borough have a surprisingly relaxed and quiet retreat as stunning early 20th century homes lay hidden among large wooded plots of land. With a small-town life, residents enjoy the best of both worlds as the proximity to shopping and the bustle of city life is only a short distance away.
The population of Ho-Ho-Kus is just under 5,000, with a median household income of $165,827 and average home values of $775,000. The borough has an exceptionally low poverty level, with the majority of its residents being considered upper class or middle upper class.
With its proximity to several urban areas, Ho-Ho-Kus is a popular area for finance and business leaders such as David Duffield who has founded numerous companies, notably PeopleSoft.
5) University Park City, TX
University Park City has a median household income of $173,520 with home values nearing $1 million. The city is home to Southern Methodist University, and a short distance from the cities of Dallas and Arlington.
Due to the strong emphasis on education in University Park City, many of the residents work within the business sectors of nearby cities. In fact, the emphasis on education dates back to the early 20th century when the neighborhood was known more for its proximity to Southern Methodist and was a popular place for university staff and professors to live. The city is located within the Highland Park school district which is also widely recognized as one of the best K-12 school districts in the country.
With so much emphasis on education within the community, residents are able to enjoy an affluent neighborhood that attracts families and as well as a younger, livelier talent pool of college students.
6) Piedmont City, CA
Piedmont City has an annual median income of $207,000 with home value averages well in excess of $1 million. Situated within the boundaries of Oakland, Piedmont is the quintessential example of bordering wealth and poverty.
Piedmont is known as a family-type neighborhood. Often, you can see families walking dogs along picturesque tree-lined streets. Despite being almost exclusively zoned for single-family homes, there are a number of boutiques and independent restaurants in the historic district. As one of the most affluent areas in the country, resident include athletes, CEOs, and politicians.
In a part of the country where millennials have seemingly taken over, Piedmont City maintains its more traditional roots. With its proximity to Oakland and San Francisco, nearly 25% of Piedmont City residents are involved in business and finance, which contrasts greatly with the other side of the bay where tech companies and start-ups contribute to Silicon Valley residential havens.
7) Essex Fells Borough, NJ
Essex Fells Borough is unique in the fact that it is nearly entirely residential with the exception of a couple of three-story office spaces. This is due to an ordinance passed by the Borough in 1928. For residents of this wealthy community with a population of 2,100, this keeps the community small and quiet. With a median household income of $171,681, nearly 40% of the borough can also claim incomes over $200,000 and average home values are around $820,000.
Most of the community’s wealth is due in part to the proximity to urban areas, as well as athletes, business leaders, and media personalities who have settled in the area. However, interestingly enough, one of Essex Fells’ most well-known past residents, Johnny Sylvester, isn’t known for his wealth as much as Babe Ruth’s famous promise to hit a home run for him in the 1926 World Series.
8) West University Place, TX
West University Place, nicknamed “The Neighborhood City” due to its community and family oriented feel, is essentially a commuter city for the affluent. Located within the industrial hub of Houston, the neighborhood uniquely has very few non-residential properties.
West University Place is very family oriented. It places a strong emphasis on education and is noted as one of the most educated cities in America. The neighborhood also has the largest Little League group in the United States with over 1,200 participating players.
The median income is $205,000 with home prices averaging $781,000. In addition, it ranks as one of the country’s highest percentage of incomes over $150,000 per year. While not the traditional affluent neighborhood with the sprawling estates you might find on the East or West Coast, West University Place has gone from 1920’s bungalows to modern Georgian Brick Manors built by what many consider yuppies of the 1990’s, or the Nuevo Riche.