The Silicon Valley town that billionaires Eric Schmidt of Google and Facebook’s Sheryl Sandberg have called home is America’s richest community for the third year in a row.
Atherton, California, whose household income averaged $450,696 in 2017, topped the Bloomberg Richest Places annual index.
Atherton Mayor Bill Widmer said the tree-lined streets and lot sizes of at least an acre offer residents privacy with Stanford University, Google and Facebook all a short drive away.
“We value a semi-rural environment,” said Widmer, who moved to Atherton in 1996. “There are few sidewalks and many places don’t have streetlights.”
Scarsdale, New York, north of Manhattan, moved up to the No. 2 spot on this year’s list as its residents enjoyed a $30,000 increase, on average, in annual household income from the prior year.
“We moved here, as many did, because of the outstanding school system,” said Scarsdale Mayor Dan Hochvert, a 40-year resident. “That’s one of the primary drivers.”
Location, Location, Location
Accessibility to a city center is also a key characteristic. Atherton is a short ride to San Francisco and Scarsdale is a hop on the train away from New York City. Cherry Hills Village, Colorado, No. 3 on the list, is a 15- to 20-minute drive to both downtown Denver and the city’s tech center.
“It happens to be located kind of beautifully,” said Steve Blank, a managing broker at Sotheby’s International Realty in Denver.
Boldface names with homes in Cherry Hills Village include Super Bowl-winning Denver Broncos quarterbacks Peyton Manning and John Elway.
More than half the top 100 richest places in America were either in the New York City area or California. A handful of Midwest and Southwest areas made the top 20.
Highland Park, Illinois, the 100th town on the list, boasted $209,000 in average household annual income. Last year, No. 100 had $198,000. Four places made their top 100 debut, including two in California: Tamalpais-Homestead Valley in Marin County and beach community Del Mar. Jericho, on New York’s Long Island, and Medina, Minnesota, were also first-timers.
Wealth is concentrated in six counties: Westchester in New York, Bergen in New Jersey and Fairfield in Connecticut, all outside New York City; Cook County of Chicago; Los Angeles County, and Montgomery County, Maryland, bordering Washington D.C.
Rounding out the top 10 communities are Los Altos Hills and Hillsborough in California; Short Hills, New Jersey; Highland Park, Texas; Darien, Connecticut; Bronxville, New York, and Glencoe, Illinois. Glencoe, a Chicago suburb seven miles north of Northwestern University, climbed five spots to land in the top 10 for the first time.
Rumson, a wealthy corner of Monmouth County, New Jersey, ascended 19 spots and into the top 20. Bernardsville, also in New Jersey, jumped 31 spots to No. 64.
Florida moved down the exclusivity list. Four places in Florida made the top 100 but three of them ranked lower than they did last year. Indian River Shores, on the state’s Atlantic coast, dropped out of the top 50 as the average annual income decreased by $20,000.
Bloomberg evaluated inflation-adjusted household data for all U.S. places, as defined by the Census, with a minimum of 2,000 households and ranked them based on average household income. Nearly 6,250 met the criteria.
Average household income excluded households without any type of income.