Boomtown: Five Richest Communities in America All in D.C. Suburbs

Kayakers paddle past the Rosslyn, Va., skyline, seen from Theodore Roosevelt Island in the Potomac River in Washington, Tuesday, Aug. 18, 2015. (AP Photo/Carolyn Kaster)
AP Photo/Carolyn Kaster

The U.S. Census Bureau announced Thursday that the five highest-earning sub-state municipalities in the United States are all Washington, DC, suburbs.

The newly released American Community Survey’s data indicate a still-increasing concentration of wealth in and around the nation’s seat of government. The five counties and independent cities with the highest median income are all Virginia and Maryland surroundings of Washington.

The five-year data, collected 2012-2016, list Loudon County, VA; Falls Church City, VA; Fairfax County, VA; Howard County, MD; and Arlington County, VA, as the highest earning “county equivalents” in the country. Falls Church City is a small independent city inside the Capital Beltway.

All five communities had a median household income of $100,000 to $125,000.

Taken as a whole and including Washington, DC, itself, with its large concentrations of urban poverty, the “Washington-Arlington-Alexandria, D.C.-VA-MD-WV” metropolitan area is the second highest earning such area in the country. Only Silicon Valley’s “San Jose-Sunnyvale-Santa Clara, CA,” metro area of the South San Francisco Bay, center of the world’s highest value industry tops the Beltway swamp’s median income.

The concentration of wealth around the institutions of the federal government has been a consistent note for Breitbart News Executive Chairman Stephen K. Bannon. The new data, however, show an even greater focus of American elites on the collar counties of the federal capital. In 2014, only three of the five wealthiest counties and equivalents were in the D.C. metro area.

Meanwhile, Community Survey data show, the poorest American county equivalents are in Appalachia and the South: McCreary County, KY; Sumter County, AL; Holmes County, MS; Stewart County, GA; and Lee County, KY. The very poorest among those counties, McCreary County, KY, was, as of the 2000 census, 97.99 percent white. It voted 86.8 percent for Donald Trump in the 2016 presidential election. Nearby Lee county fits a similar profile.

The American Community Survey is the Census Bureau’s major data collection program, conducted between the once-a-decade official census.


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