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Market Developments

What are America’s wealthiest ZIP codes?

By Michelle Graff

June 12, 2014

New York--Time magazine just released a list of what it says are the richest towns in the United States, and many of them are located just outside major cities in the Northeast.

A research engine called FindtheBest year income averages from the U.S. Census Bureau and calculating which ZIP codes had the highest percentage of households that earn $150,000 a year or more. (Only ZIP codes with 10,000 or more residents were included.)

No. 1, according to Time, is 07078, Short Hills, N.J., which is located west of New York City and is popular among those who commute into the Big Apple for work.

The second richest town in the country is 22039, Fairfax Station, Va., which is located just southwest of Washington, D.C. and, like Short Hills, is home to many professionals who commute into the large, nearby city for work.

Ranking third on Time’s list was another town with many residents who commute into New York, 06883, Weston, Conn.

The rest of the towns on Time’s list of the top 10 wealthiest communities in the country, which can be found in its entirety on Time.com, were:

4. 22066, Great Falls, Va.
5. 10514, Chappaqua, N.Y.
6. 20854, Potomac, Md.
7. 21029, Clarksville, Md.
8. 06820, Darien, Conn.
9. 76092, South Lake, Texas.
10. 22101, McLean, Va.

For jewelers whose stores don’t fall in or near these ZIP codes, don’t be dismayed.

Shortly after Time posted its story, National Public Radio countered with this report questioning the methodology used.

A Rutgers University professor interviewed by NPR said that just looking at the percentage of residents who make $150,000 a year or up in a particular ZIP code is not enough to declare it the wealthiest.

There are other ZIP codes in the U.S. with more billionaires and more assets--the famous 90210 ZIP code of Beverly Hills, Calif., for example--but that are more diverse and have a greater percentage of the population living below the poverty line. Thus, a smaller percentage residents in these ZIP codes make $150,000 a year or more.

For retailers still concerned with the concentration of wealth in their particular ZIP code or codes, don’t forget: There’s always online shopping, which allows consumers to buy from stores anywhere in the country, regardless of their home ZIP code.