Meet America’s Richest Counties

If you want to get a sense of what an economic powerhouse Washington has become in recent years, look no further than the Virginia suburb of Falls Church City. Boasting a strong school system and positioned about six miles from the nation’s capital, Falls Church has for years enticed rich families,

No 1 - Falls Church County_VA

making it the nation’s richest county with median annual household income of $113,313.

No. 1 Falls Church County, Va. – Median annual household income: $113,313

Boasting a strong school system and located about six miles away from the nation’s capital, Falls Church has for years enticed rich families, making it the nation’s richest county.”It indicates that the City of Falls Church is located in a healthy economic area in the national capital region,” says Wyatt Shields, city manager for Falls Church. “We are proud of the fact that we take advantage of the city’s healthy economic area to attract people to live here.”

2. Loudoun County, Va. – Median annual household income: $112,021The second richest county in the nation used to be a sleepy rural

N0 2 - Loudoun County_VA

community just a few decades ago, but in recent years it became a technology center and a popular Washington, D.C. suburb.

In recent decades northern Virginia has become an economic dynamo, driven by a private sector that feasts on government contracting. These counties are also home to corporate lobbyists, lawyers and consultants who work in or around the nation’s capital, soaking up federal government spending. And government-related hiring manages to keep the unemployment rate in places like Falls Church City down to 5.7%.

No 3 - Fairfax County_VA

3. Fairfax County, Va. – Median annual household income: $104,259

Another Washington county, Fairfax County, Va., rounds out the top three. With 1.1 million residents, this populous county has a massive federal government presence. It is home to companies with strong connections to the government, like Freddie Mac, and intelligence agencies like the CIA and the National Counterterrorism Center.

To determine America’s richest counties, we looked at median annual household income estimates from 2005 to 2009 in each county in the nation, provided by the U.S. Census’ American Community Survey. The estimates are in 2009 inflation-adjusted U.S. dollars.

4. Hunterdon County, N.J. – Median annual household income: $102,500

No 4 - Hunterdon County_NJ

This county in northwestern N.J. has the highest median annual household income in the country outside of the Virginia suburbs. A rural area, it borders Pennsylvania and has become home to both New York City and Philadelphia commuters in recent years.

No 5 - Howard County_MD

5. Howard County, Md. – Median annual household income: $101,003

Located between Baltimore and Washington, this fast-growing county boasts a fantastic school system, attracting rich residents.

Only counties that are part of the New Jersey suburbs of New York City can rival Northern Virginia. The richest county in the nation outside of Virginia is Hunterdon County in northwest N.J., where the median annual household income is $102,500. Rural Hunterdon County has become a magnet for rich commuters heading to New York City and even Philadelphia. Morris County, N.J., where the taxes are high but the median household income is $96,316 or Somerset County, also are among the richest counties in the nation.

Most of the richest counties in America are in the East. The richest county in the Western United States is Los Alamos, N.M., where decades of government money spent on nuclear weapons has resulted in median annual household income of $100,423. Most of the 18,000 residents of this county, which is New Mexico’s smallest, live in Los Alamos or White Rock and the biggest employer is the Los Alamos National Laboratory..(


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