When you think of richest locations in the U.S., places like San Francisco, New York and Beverly Hills might come to mind. But prosperity and affluence aren’t only thriving among the glitz and glamour of big cities. Instead, pockets of wealth can be found in the nation’s quieter communities and small towns. And for some, living in a small town can be the best financial decision ever.
In this study, GOBankingRates analyzed U.S. Census Bureau income data in locations in every state with 500 to 15,000 households to determine the wealthiest small towns in America.
Alabama: Highland Lakes
Median Income: $149,307
Highland Lakes, with 1,813 total households, doesn’t fall within the top 10 highest or lowest richest small towns in America. Instead, it falls around the middle of the list.
Median Income: $95,227
Cordova is in the bottom five of richest small towns due to its lower median income, which is still impressive at just over $95,000. The town, which has only 1,034 households, can only be reached by plane or ferry because of its out-of-the-way location.
Arizona: Paradise Valley
Median Income: $175,673
Paradise Valley takes sixth-place for the small town with the most households, totaling 5,239. Plus, its non-family median household income is within the top 15 on the list at $95,642.
Arkansas: Cave Springs
Median Income: $103,676
Cave Springs, which has 1,100 total households, doesn’t have one of the highest or lowest median incomes on list. It does, however, have a much higher median income than it did almost two decades ago when the town’s median income was only $37,500. The difference is the town’s proximity to Bentonville, Ark. — location of Walmart’s headquarters — which has drawn Walmart executives and wealthy employees to the area.
Median Income: $250,000+
Atherton has the highest median income out of all the richest small towns in the U.S. — an honor it shares with four other cities on the list. The town also boasts the $250,000+ income for married-couple families who reside there.
Colorado: Cherry Hills Village
Median Income: $238,750
Although Cherry Hills Village didn’t quite make the top five for highest median income, it snagged a different top spot. According to a separate GOBankingRates study, this Denver-area community is the wealthiest town in the entire state of Colorado.
Connecticut: Old Greenwich
Median Income: $236,250
Old Greenwich ranks in the top 10 for highest median income. The town, which has 2,190 households, also qualifies as one of the most expensive ZIP codes in the U.S., according to another GOBankingRates study.
Delaware: North Star
Median Income: $141,618
North Star has a comparable median income to another town on this list: Maunawili, Hawaii. However, North Star’s non-family income is more than triple that of the little town in The Aloha State.
Median Income: $152,643
Pinecrest, with 5,954 households, ranks in the top five for most households among the richest small towns. Although it’s median household income isn’t one of the highest overall, it’s almost average for the list.
Georgia: Berkeley Lake
Median Income: $125,592
Berkeley Lake ranks in the top 10 for lowest number of households on the list at a total of 731. Plus, it’s median income is about $30,000 less than average for the list. Still, average income exceeding $125,000 is over twice the amount of the U.S. average median household income of $61,372.
Median Income: $143,750
Hawaii is one of the most expensive states to live in across the U.S. Not only is Maunawili one of the smallest towns ranked with only 667 households, it also has one of the lowest non-family median incomes of $39,500.
Idaho: Hidden Springs
Median Income: $118,519
Nestled in the Boise foothills is the small town of Hidden Springs, with just 852 households. Even though the average income is nothing to sneeze at, it’s below-average for the list. The town also has one of the lowest non-family median incomes when compared to the other places on the list.
Median Income: $216,875
With median income and number of households — 4,139 — both ranking in the top 10, you’d think Winnetka might be a winner in all categories. Not so when it comes to non-family median income, which totals just $36,821 — way below the average for the list.
Median Income: $127,152
Zionsville has the largest number of households on the list: 9,217 in all. Its median income, however, is way below the average compared to other places on the list.
Median Income: $120,938
Robins is one of the smaller richest towns; it has only 1,209 households. Although the median income in Robins is below the average for the list, the town ranks as the wealthiest place in Iowa, according to a different GOBankingRates study.
Kansas: Mission Hills
Median Income: $250,000+
Although Mission Hills doesn’t have but 25 more households than Robins, Iowa, its median income is one of the highest on the list for wealthiest small towns in the U.S. The same holds true across the board; the town has the highest median income for families, married-couple families and non-families alike.
More on incomes: Best Places in Every State to Live on a Fixed Income
Median Income: $172,188
Anchorage’s median income is above the average. So is the town’s family and married-couple family median income. It’s the non-family median income that’s lower than average when compared to the other richest small towns.
Median Income: $94,444
Prien, home to 2,866 households, doesn’t have the lowest median income on the list, but it’s close. It also happens to have the one of the lowest non-family median incomes at $29,890.
Maine: Cumberland Center
Median Income: $109,048
Cumberland Center might be one of the richest small towns, but its median household income doesn’t meet the definition of what Mainers call rich. According to a recent GOBankingRates study, you would need annual income of $10 million or more to be considered rich in this East Coast state.
Maryland: Chevy Chase
Median Income: $250,000
Chevy Chase is tied with five other states for the highest median income for households, families and married-couple families. The town has only 1,019 households, however, which is on the smaller end of the list.
Median Income: $176,852
Wellesley has one the highest amounts of households out of the richest towns, totaling 8,658. Although this small town’s median household income isn’t the highest on the list, it’s noticeably above average. It also boasts above-average median income for families, married-couple families and non-families.
Michigan: Bloomfield Hills
Median Income: $186,563
Not only does Bloomfield Hills feature higher-than-average household income for the list, but it also happens to be one of the richest school districts in the state of Michigan, according to separate GOBankingRates study. What’s on the low side is the number of households: 1,292.
Median Income: $148,783
Although Minnetrista has below-average household median income, it’s nowhere near the lowest on the list. The small town makes up for it in another area, however. It has above-average median income for non-families.
Median Income: $103,121
Madison boasts the second highest number of households on the list, but it’s far from the richest small town. In fact, it has the ninth-lowest median household income out of all the small towns.
Median Income: $203,250
Even though the highest median household income on the list is over $250,000, Ladue, Mo., still makes it into the top 10. The town also features way-above-average median income for families and married-couple families and slightly more the median income for non-families.
Montana: Montana City
Median Income: $96,089
The median income and number of households — 1,065 — in Montana City are way below average for the list. This Northwestern state also features below-average median income for families, married-couple families and non-families when compared to the other richest small towns on the list.
Median Income: $89,609
Hickman has the second-lowest median income and the fourth-lowest number of households among the richest small towns. Family, married-couple and non-family median income are also below average. Even so, the median income here beats the U.S. median income of $61,372.
Nevada: East Valley
Median Income: $103,224
East Valley has the second-fewest number of households out of all the richest small towns — numbering only 575. Although its median household income is very similar to that of Madison, Miss., East Valley’s non-family households have higher income.
New Hampshire: Hanover
Median Income: $97,422
Hanover with 1,863 households, has below-average median household income but above-average median income for families and married-couple families. It’s the non-family median income that’s lower-than-average, totaling only $43,750.
New Jersey: Essex Fells
Median Income: $200,875
Although the median income in Essex Fells, N.J., isn’t in the top 10, it’s close. It also ranks high for median income for families and married-couple families. It has one of the lowest numbers of households, though — only 735.
New Mexico: White Rock
Median Income: $121,518
Although images of affluence might not come to mind when you think of New Mexico, the state does have some pockets of wealth, which include White Rock. The town’s 2,215 households don’t rank as the highest or lowest on the list, and neither does its median income. When compared to the U.S. median income of $61,372, however, you can see why this richest small town made the list.
New York: Brookville
Median Income: $250,000
This suburb of New York has one of the lowest numbers of households on the list, totaling 782. But that doesn’t bar this small town from excelling in another area: Brookville is one of the five cities on the list that ties for highest median income.
North Carolina: Marvin
Median Income: $170,500
Marvin has an above-average median income as compared to other small towns on the list, and the higher numbers don’t stop there. The median income for families, married-couple families and non-families all exceed the average.
North Dakota: Horace
Median Income: $110,870
The median income and number of households — 944 — in Horace is below average for the list, just like the median income of families and married-couple families. But when you compare it to the national median income of $61,372, it doesn’t sound so bad.
Ohio: The Village of Indian Hill
Median Income: $215,679
The Village of Indian Hill features 2,043 households and functions as a quiet, yet affluent, residential community. The town snagged a top 10 spot for highest median income, and it also boasts well-above-average median income for families and married-couple families.
Oklahoma: Nichols Hills
Median Income: $144,833
Although Nichols Hills, Okla., has a below-average median income and number of households for the list, it has median income of over $200,000 for both families and married-couple families.
Median Income: $121,149
Bethany, Ore., has one of the highest numbers of households on the list totaling 8,048, but that doesn’t mean its a top contender for median income. Although the town’s median income is far from the lowest, it still ranks below average for the list.
Median Income: $169,306
Woodside has one of the lowest numbers of households on the list totaling 814. But, across the board, every other figure is above average, including the median income for families, married-couple families and non-families.
Rhode Island: Kingston
Median Income: $93,051
Kingston features one of the lowest numbers of households on the list totaling 729. It also has the third-lowest median income on the list. But, then again, the town’s income is still about $32,000 above the national median income in the U.S.
South Carolina: Tega Cay
Median Income: $121,623
Tega Cay has a higher-than-average number of households totaling 3,278. According to another GOBankingRates study, the population in Tega Cay has boomed 215 percent since 2000 and most of it’s employed residents work in finance, business or management.
South Dakota: Dakota Dunes
Median Income: $98,787
Dakota Dunes features only 1,185 households and the eighth-lowest median income on the list. And the trend continues with below-average median income for families, married-couple families and non-families. But, when you compare the town’s median income to the U.S. median income, it’s still around $37,000 higher.
Tennessee: Belle Meade
Median Income: $195,000
Although Belle Meade has a lower-than-average number of households — 994 — it has a higher-than-average median income. Plus, median income for families and married-couples with families is over $235,000.
Texas: Hunters Creek Village
Median Income: $250,000
With only 1,602 households, Hunters Creek Village, Texas, isn’t the largest small town on the list. It does, however, tie for top median income with four other small towns: Brookville, N.Y.; Chevy Chase, Md.; Mission Hills, Kan.; and Atherton, Calif.
Utah: Silver Summit
Median Income: $133,281
Silver Summit has both below-average median income and number of households. Median income for families and married-couple families is also lower-than-average for the list. But median non-family income exceeds the average.
Median Income: $110,714
With only 324 households, Norwich, Vt., claims the smallest amount of households on this list. This could explain its below-average median income when ranked with some of the other cities on the list.
Virginia: Great Falls
Median Income: $230,450
Great Falls has 5,035 households, but boasts the eighth-highest income on the list and features above-average median income for non-families.
Washington: Clyde Hill
Median Income: $205,500
Although Clyde Hill, Wash. features 1,120 households, it boasts the 11th-highest median income on the list. Median income for families and married-couple families is way above average, as is non-family median income.
West Virginia: Cheat Lake
Median Income: $87,125
Cheat Lake qualifies as one of the richest small towns, but it also has the lowest median income on the list. The next lowest median income belongs to Hickman, Neb., which is around $2,500 higher but is home to about 2,700 less people.
Median Income: $151,818
Merton has a below-average median income for the list, but not by much. It also has only a little less than 1,100 households, which is below average.
Median Income: $115,363
With only 701 households, Wilson, Wyo., is below average for the list. The town’s median income is also on the lower side, as well as its family income. When you compare the town’s median income to the U.S. national median income of $61,372, however, it’s clear why it made this list for richest small towns in every state.
Small towns are good for more than just living large. Click through to read about relocating to a smaller city or town to retire on a budget.
More on Incomes:
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- The 3 With the Fastest-Growing Incomes Are in the South
- 16 Unusual Money Moves that Could Set You Up For Life
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Sean Dennison contributed to this report.
Methodology: GOBankingRates determined the richest small town in every state by analyzing income data from the U.S. Census Bureau’s 2017 American Community Survey. “Small town” was defined having between 500 and 15,000 households.
About the Author
Cynthia Measom is a Texas-based writer specializing in finance, business, parenting and education. With almost a decade of online writing experience, her work has appeared on websites such as Chron.com, The Bump and The Motley Fool. Measom received a Bachelor of Arts in English from the University of Texas at Austin.