Suburbs are often extensions of major city metro areas in the United States. There is a broad range between the best and worst suburbs in the country, and money plays a big factor. In wealthy suburbs, gated communities and landscaped yards lined with swimming pools are an all too familiar scene. Decorating the outskirts of these areas are high-end retailers and specialty boutiques.
We found 10 of the richest suburbs in the United States where the residents’ median incomes prove to be enough to buy small towns. All located within 25 miles of a major city, most of these suburbs are mere miles away from the downtown hubbub where the majority of these residents work. With the proximity of a busy city life in conjunction with golf and country clubs, the suburban life doesn’t seem all that bad.
Here’s our list of the top 10 richest suburbs in the United States, where homes cost a least $1 million. Filled with residents of great ambition and influence, these suburbs are characterized by affluence and wealth. Let’s start our tour with a tiny Massachusetts town that sits just outside of Beantown.
Dover, MA (Boston) Median Household Income: $185,515
Normally, when you find a town that has just 5,550 residents, you would expect it to be pretty far away from any major city. However, that’s not the case with Dover, Massachusetts, as it is only 15 miles away from the heart of Boston. The reason for Dover’s small population is the fact that you have to own at least one acre to live in the town, so there aren’t apartment complexes to pack in as many people as possible.
Since acres don’t come cheap, the median income for the residents of Dover is incredibly high. It makes for a desirable neighborhood, not to mention that Dover’s school system is ranked as the best in the state. The town also does an outstanding job of managing their money, with 75% of their budget going towards the removal of snow. Since there is only one highway in Dover, it can be a little tricky if the snow piles up, making this a definite priority.
River Hills, WI (Milwaukee) Median Household Income: $193,438
Even smaller than Dover is the town of River Hills, Wisconsin, which is less than 12 miles from downtown Milwaukee. With a population of 1,600, River Hills is a very exclusive suburb with just 5.31 square miles of land and water. Each morning, many residents of River Hills make the drive to Milwaukee to work at their white collar jobs. Although traffic can be a nightmare, it’s worth it to live away from the hustle and bustle of the city.
Astonishingly, 47.6% of the residents make over $200,000 each year, and less than 5% of the population make below $40,000. The unemployment in River Hills is actually higher than the average in the United States (7% to 6.3%). More than half of those that are employed belong to occupations in sales and management, meaning these people are definitely in charge.
Los Altos Hills, CA (San Jose) Median Household Income: $196,484
While Los Altos Hills is only the eighth richest suburb in the United States, it was actually named by Forbes as being the second most expensive zip code in the country. The average price for a home in Los Altos Hills is $5.4 million, so you better have a good job if you want to live there. Los Altos Hills is a bit larger than the previous two suburbs, with nearly 8,000 residents living in the incorporated town.
There are zero industrial or commercial zones in Los Altos Hills, with the exception of a police station, fire station and a book store. If you want to get your mail, you actually have to drive to the next town over. A lot of the people that live in this town work in Cupertino, California. If you’re familiar with Cupertino, it’s probably because that’s where Apple headquarters are located. As you could guess, Apple tends to pay their top employees well, making this town even more desirable.
West University Place, TX (Houston) Median Household Income: $202,132
West University Place is part of the massively expanding Houston area, and with nearly 15,000 residents, it is known as “The Neighborhood City.” West U, as the residents call it, has the feel of a rich college town without actually having a college. Houston Community College has a building in the city and Rice University is nearby, but there is no major college presence. Funny enough, most of the roads and buildings are named with college-esque nicknames.
Houston has seen substantial economic growth thanks to a large boom in the energy industry, and many that work in the industry reside in West U. There are a lot of children in the city, as well, who typically attend private schools and have unlimited access to some of the best recreation centers and parks in the country. West U houses the largest Little League chapter in the United States, with more than 1,200 players.
Clyde Hill, WA (Seattle) Median Household Income: $210,500
Although Clyde Hill is just 1.5 miles east of Seattle, it’s a tiny town with less than 3,000 residents. The editors at Slate Magazine ranked Clyde Hill as the most affluent town in the entire state. It is also one of the largest employers of landscapers in the entire state. Someone has to keep these massive properties looking beautiful, right? The only commercial business centered in the town is a gas station/coffee shop.
The rest of the property in Clyde Hill is for residential use, with a minimum lot size of 20,000 square feet required to build a house. The population has remained steady for the past 50 years thanks to not having enough area available for more people to move in, and no one wanting to move out. Less than 1% of Clyde Hill residents live below the poverty line, and a bulk of this percentage is retirees and children who don’t have an income.
Highland Park, TX (Dallas) Median Household Income: $213,194
Highland Park sits four miles north of Dallas and marks the halfway point between Route 75 and the Dallas North Tollway. The land for the town was purchased for $500,000 in the 1800’s, which is worth millions today. Now, if you want to buy a house in Highland Park, you can expect to pay an average of $1.2 million (with many houses going for much more). To get an idea of how much more that is than the rest of the city, Dallas has an average house price of around $250,000.
Dallas is home to American Airlines and has a large Bank of America branch. Airlines and banking are two huge money industries, and as a result, this is where a lot of the Highland Park residents work. We’re not talking about a bank teller or a flight attendant, either, but the people that make executive decisions from upper level management to senior executives.
Belle Meade, TN (Nashville) Median Household Income: $213,375
Belle Meade is located within the city of Nashville with a population of around 3,000, and has the highest per capita income for any city in Tennessee by a long shot. Due to that, Belle Meade residents pay an average of $1.35 million for a house. If you do somehow earn enough to live in this beautiful suburb, you will be in good company as Vince Gill, Taylor Swift and Al Gore have all resided in Belle Meade.
As you can probably guess, Belle Meade is a hotspot for those that make a lot of money in the country music industry. After all, Nashville is known as Music City, and many hopefuls make their way there to hit it big. The average amount that each person makes in Belle Meade is nearly $105,000, which isn’t too much of a shock when you consider that it’s only a three square mile area.
Mission Hills, KS (Kansas City) Median Household Income: $219,107
Kansas isn’t really known for being an over the top state when it comes to luxurious homes and swanky real estate, but Mission Hills is its exception. Sitting just a couple of miles away from Kansas City on the border of Missouri, 3,500 people call Mission Hills home. The reason that the town was founded in the first place was because J.C. Nichols wanted to develop an upscale area for those that were in charge of Kansas City’s leading businesses.
One of the first buildings that went into construction as a result of Nichols’s handy work was the Kansas City Country Club; the houses were then built around it. Just like Belle Meade, you would be in great company with the residents of Mission Hills, with neighbors like George Brett, Tom Watson and Donald J. Hall, the chairman of Hallmark. Hall might even give you a nice card to send to your friends to make them jealous.
Cherry Hills Village, CO (Denver) Median Household Income: $231,774
Cherry Hills Village has nearly 6,000 residents near the city of Denver, with an incredible average home price of more than $2.8 million. There is a lot of affluence in Cherry Hills Village, which is very much considered a country club suburb. As a matter of fact, the Cherry Hills Country Club has had some very memorable moments. Two PGA Championships and a US Women’s Open took place there, and it’s the origin of the famous Arnold Palmer drink.
There are six square miles in the town that has become a hotbed for the energy industry with massive mining operations in the Rocky Mountains. The people that live in Cherry Hills aren’t doing the mining themselves, but work in high paying office jobs. Denver also acts as a bridge from the East to the West, so communications companies are still raking in a lot of money for the Mile High City. It’s no doubt that those who make the big bucks live in Cherry Hills Village.
Chevy Chase Village, MD (Washington, DC) Median Household Income: $250,000
The title for wealthiest suburb in the entire United States belongs to Chevy Chase Village in Maryland. Located five miles from Washington, DC (although it can easily turn into an hour long drive), Chevy Chase Village is home to a lot of those that work in the public sector. Government is big money, and nearly 2,000 of the richest people in the nation that work in DC live in Chevy Chase Village.
It’s not actually named after Chevy Chase, the comedian, contrary to popular belief. The median price for a house in Chevy Chase Village is over $1.5 million. Although you would expect that figure to be higher, it’s lower because you do not have to have a large property of land to build a home, unlike several of the other suburbs on our list. Chevy Chase Village is the place to rub elbows with the most powerful people in the country.