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Forbes: Fairfax County Among America's 10 Wealthiest Counties

Fairfax County's median income puts it on top 10 list nationwide; third in Virginia.

Feeling wealthy?

With a median household income of more than $105,000, Fairfax County is one of the wealthiest in the United States, according to a new report from Forbes.

That places Fairfax County among America’s 10 richest counties in the United States. The list is from Census median household income numbers compiled by the U. S. Census Bureau’s Small Area Income and Poverty Estimates from 2011, the most recent year for which is available.

Are there other top lists where you'd expect to find Fairfax County? Tell us in the comments!

The wealthiest county in the United States is Virginia's own Loudoun County, with a median income of close to $120,000. Other Virginia counties (or cities) on the list: Falls Church City, Arlington County and Prince William County.

Of course, the high cost of living in the DC metro area eats into that income for a lot of families. 

In 2012, Fairfax County Board of Supervisors Chair Sharon Bulova said residents of Fairfax County who make minimum wage could work 24 hours a day, seven days a week and still would not be able to afford a one-bedroom apartment due to high housing prices.

The cost of living index in the Washington metropolitan area was 139.2, or almost 40 percent higher than the average metropolitan area in the United States, the Fairfax County Economic Development Authority reported in 2011. The index for housing costs was 222.7—that's more than twice the average for major metropolitan areas in the United States.

The following is the latest data from Forbes, published online last month:

Rank County Media Household Income 1 Loudoun County, VA

$119,525

2 Falls Church City, VA

$117,481

3 Los Alamos County, NM

$110,204

4 Fairfax County, VA $105,409 5 Hunterdon County, NJ

$99,216

6 Howard County, MD

$99,040

7 Arlington County, VA $98,060 8 Douglas County, CO $95,973 9 Somerset County, NJ
$95,915 10 Prince William County, VA $93,101

 

What do you think of this data? Tell us in the comments.

 

Stella McEnearny May 05, 2013 at 03:55 PM
...or even on U.S. states, Ken. Virginia's not even in the top ten: http://247wallst.com/2013/02/28/americas-happiest-and-most-miserable-states/2/
Stella McEnearny May 05, 2013 at 04:01 PM
Virginia's actually #14 on that list I mentioned above. Here are the top ten happiest: Hawaii, Colorado, Minnesota, Utah, Vermont, Montana, Nebraska, New Hampshire, Iowa, Massachusetts. And Don's point is vitally important.
M&M May 05, 2013 at 05:16 PM
I would think Fairfield County in Connecticut, West Chester in New York and Orange County in California would replace some of these in this listed group.
Michael May 06, 2013 at 02:32 AM
"Counties" are not equivalent from one state to another. They vary considerably in average area, with Northeastern states having large counties consisting of many towns, and Western states tending towards large counties as well. It's easier to pull down the median over a larger area. Possibly more important is that in many states, cities are not necessarily independent like they are in VA. For example, parts of Westchester (similar size and pop. to FFX) can be fabulously wealthy...but over 20% of that county's population is in Yonkers, which is definitely not. Transplant them to VA, and the county and city become separate entities with separate reporting. But they're in NY, so they are lumped together. In CT, Fairfield County covers a huge range of townships and cities, spread over an area 50% bigger than Fairfax. The largest city is Bridgeport (median household income 40k) but there are 12 townships with median household income of over 125k. Again, transplant them to VA, and you would have several separate counties and cities instead of one lump sum.
Mike Spencer May 06, 2013 at 08:14 PM
Forgive me but aren't wealth and income two different measures? Just because the median income is higher does not mean people are "keeping" more money or are able to "build" more wealth. I guess if you have a higher median income there could be more opportunity to build more wealth relative to other jurisdictions but there must be so many factors like federal, state and local taxes, housing costs, and other typical living expenses that are not considered when just looking at a typical median income measure. I am assuming these factors are baked into these results somehow. In one area you may have a higher median income than another but that does not mean you have more income to put towards the growth of wealth - it might be allocated disproportionately to other expenses based on where you live. I was always taught it is not what you earn it is what you keep. In some places its harder to keep more even though you earn more (although there are a lot of discretionary choices we can make to keep more if we have too regardless of where you live). I think we are generally fortunate in Fairfax County in comparison to some of the other places noted in the comments like NY, CT or CA. We have a sturdier tax structure held up by steady employment opportunities. This is really the underlying driver of all income and hence the ability to grow wealth (e.g. in a retirement account and a home).

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