Should it be a point of pride or shame that five of the ten U.S. counties with the highest median income are located in the Virginia suburbs and exurbs of Washington, DC?
Clearly government work has its perks. From WTOP:
New Census Bureau data shows nearly half of the nation’s 20 wealthiest counties, based on median household income, are in the Washington region.
Five of the top 10 are in Northern Virginia.
The data, from the Census Bureau’s Small Area Income and Poverty Estimates program, ranks Falls Church City at the top of the list, with a median household income of $121,500 in 2012. It was deemed a county equivalent because it is an independent city.
Loudoun County ranks No. 2 in the nation, at $118,934. Howard County, Md. is fourth, Fairfax County is fifth, Arlington County is seventh and Stafford County, Va. is ninth.
It’s not just government, of course, but also government contracting and, in the case of Fairfax and Loudoun especially, the Dulles/Reston/Tysons tech industry that also serves the private sector. Arlington is home to a lot of DC-based lobbyists and lawyers, while my home county of Stafford, which includes a large portion of Marine Base Quantico, is littered with retired flag officers, Colonels, and senior defense contractor employees.
The full list of the top 20 wealthiest counties is as follows:
- Falls Church City, Va. $121,500
- Loudoun County, Va. $118,934
- Los Alamos County, NM $112,115
- Howard County, Md. $108,234
- Fairfax County, Va. $106,690
- Hunterdon County, NJ $103,301
- Arlington County, Va. $ 99,256
- Douglas County, Colo. $ 98,426
- Stafford County, Va. $ 95,927
- Somerset County, NJ $ 95,574
- Morris County, NJ $ 95,236
- Montgomery County, Md. $ 94,365
- Pr. William County, Va. $ 93,011
- Williamson County, Tenn. $ 93,003
- Putnam County, NY $ 92,950
- Nassau County, NY $ 92,543
- Santa Clara County, Calif. $ 91,195
- Charles County, Md. $ 89,203
- Marin County, Calif. $ 88,654
- Hamilton County, In. $ 88,429