You've probably seen stories about surveys that identify the richest towns in America, so SmartAsset decided to find the counties where the bread is buttered with sterling silver spatulas. Here's what it found:
Below, we take a look at IRS data to find the wealthiest counties in America. We look at all kinds of income and compare it to the number of tax returns. Check out our data and methodology below to see where we got our data and how we put it together to create our final rankings.
- Stark inequality – The county with the highest average income in our study, Teton County, has an average income 10 times higher than that of the county with the lowest average income, Hayes County, Nebraska.
- New York and San Francisco metro areas top the charts – The wealthiest parts of these affluent cities are also the richest parts of the country. New York County and San Francisco County both claimed spots in our list of the top 10 richest counties. But counties within the metro area but outside the city center, like Westchester County, New York and Marin County, California, also appeared in the top 10.
In order to find the richest counties in America, we looked at data on 3,151 counties. Specifically, we looked at them for the following two factors:
- Total income. This is the total income in the county.
- Total returns with income. This is the number of tax returns reporting an income.
Data for both metrics comes from the IRS and is for 2016.
To create our final rankings, we divided total income by the total number of returns with income. This gave us the average income per return.