Greater Washington has half of the nation’s richest counties

As featured in Washington Business Journal 

Five of the 10 wealthiest counties in the U.S. are located in the D.C. metro area, according to Forbes’ 2017 rankings.

The Washington suburbs dominate the list because their median household incomes are some of the highest in the country, according to 2015 U.S. Census Bureau estimates, the most recent data available.

Virginia’s Loudoun County holds the title of the nation’s richest county with a median household income of $125,900. While nearly 10,000 residents commute to the District, according to Forbes, about 11,700 businesses employ 161,000 county residents, with Dulles International Airport, Loudoun County Public Schools and the Department of Homeland Security leading that charge.

The nearby city of Falls Church, Fairfax and Arlington counties in Virginia and Howard County in Maryland also lead the nation based on wealth.

Falls Church, considered equal to a county by the Census Bureau, is second in the U.S. with 12,000 residents and a median household income of $122,092. Nearly 79 percent of adults have at least a college education, with jobs in both the federal government and the private sector. And its poverty rate — 4 percent — is below the national rate of 13.5 percent.

Fairfax County ranks third in the U.S., with a median household income of $112,844 and 1.4 million residents, Howard County is fourth at $110,224, and Arlington County ranks eighth at $104,354. Arlington’s 9 percent poverty rate is one of the highest among the other richest counties, a number that generally sits between 4 percent and 6 percent.

Douglas County in Colorado, Los Alamos County in New Mexico, Williamson County in Tennessee, Hunterdon County in New Jersey and Santa Clara County in California are also among the country’s wealthiest.

Greater Washington also fared well in a special report by our parent company, American City Business Journals, that found eight locales within 20 miles of D.C. are among the 25 most affluent communities in the U.S. The methodology used here differed from Forbes, and the ACBJ report also broke down affluence scores by ZIP codes, as well as cities, villages and towns.

Here’s Forbes’ top 10 list:

1) Loudoun County, Virginia- Median household income: $125,900

2)Falls Church, Virginia-Median household income: $122,092

3)Fairfax County, Virginia-Median household income: $112,844

4)Howard County, Maryland-Median household income: $110,224

5)Douglas County, Colorado-Median household income: $109,926

6)Los Alamos County, New Mexico-Median household income: $107,126

7)Williamson County, Tennessee- Median household income: $104,367

8)Arlington County, Virginia- Median household income: $104,354

9)Hunterdon County, New Jersey -Median household income: $102,797

10)Santa Clara County, California- Median household income: $102,191