DC the Wealthiest Area in the US

A Map Displaying the Wealthiest Areas in the U.S.

Government employess do OK for themselves.

I live in the very leafy exurbs of Washington DC. Just outside of the town of Warrenton, were I live, cows and horses wander the hillsides. It stays like this for another 10 miles or so until the sprawl to the nations capital starts in earnest.

It is quite a nice place to live. The center of town has a charming main street. My kids go to good schools. The Blue Ridge Mountains are only a half hour away. It is pleasant.

Though nice, most would never think that my county, Fauquier, was one of the wealthiest in the country. Yet it is. In fact there are only 2 counties west of here that beat out the $83,000 annual median income of my county, Douglas Co. Colorado, and Marin Co. California. That’s it. One needs to travel all the way to the Great Divide before one reaches a wealthier county, if one to travels west.

North and east toward Washington DC it is a different story.

The counties that surround Washington DC are the wealthiest in the nation by a good margin, 6 of the top ten. The reason? These counties are full of government employees and defense contractors.

It hasn’t always been like this. 30 years ago the wealthiest counties were solidly around New York City, in California, and there was a smattering in the Midwest. The drivers of the American economy then were finance, entertainment, and manufacturing. Private industry.

Now the wealthiest counties surround the bureaucratic hub. The business of America is less and less private and more and more government centered. The wealthiest areas surrounding the capital is the sort of pattern one used to see in 3rd world countries such as India. The fact that such a pattern now holds in the US is not a good sign.

By the way, for all of you in the middle of the country, in “fly over country” as it is often referred to by those on the coasts, you can feel good knowing that the Great Recession is hardly noticeable around here. Rest assured the bureaucratic class is well taken care of.

Attached is an interactive map of media incomes by county. Think about it next April 15th.

Click here for the map.

NS 9-15-2011