The annual rankings of the top 25, which were compiled by The Gadberry Group, are based upon the average 2008 net income and 2008 net worth of the towns’ residents.
Exclusive Brookville, N.Y. tops the list as America’s wealthiest town, with an average annual income of $328K (seventh highest) and an average net worth of $1.67 million, the highest on the list. The non-commercial municipality, which is located on Long Island’s north shore 25 miles from midtown Manhattan, is the home to celebrity Jennifer Lopez and is known for its extreme privacy, country-like setting and good schools.
Coming in at #2 is Atherton, Calif., which has the highest net income in the country, and is the home to Google’s billionaire CEO Eric Schmidt and brokerage founder Charles Schwab.
Towns that round out the top-10 list are Rolling Hills, Calif., Kenilworth, Ill., Hillsborough, Calif., Roslyn Estates, N.Y., Hidden Hills, Calif., Oyster Bay Cove, N.Y., Chevy Chase Village, Md., Los Altos Hills, Calif., and Old Westbury, N.Y.
Other well-known wealthy areas in America failed to make the list for several reasons:
- Florida’s Jupiter Island and the village of Southampton on Long Island, did not make the list because many of their wealthiest homeowners are not year-round residents, and are therefore not incorporated on the tax rolls.
- Larger communities such as Greenwich, Conn. and Malibu, Calif., are well known for their affluence, but are too large to qualify as wealthy towns because their median wealth is diluted by many less affluent residents who live there.
- Other enclaves, such as Bel Air, Calif. – which is actually part of the city of Los Angeles – are part of larger municipalities and don’t qualify as stand-alone entities.
BusinessWeek also notes that its income and net worth data were collected before the economy collapsed at the end of 2008, and that subsequent news and events indicate that the residents of these affluent communities are most likely now feeling the pain of the recession.
About the data: The analysis of America’s wealthiest towns was compiled by ranking towns based on the average 2008 net income and 2008 net worth of their residents.