The results of the Higley 1000 for 2010 have finally been tabulated down to the block group level. Many thanks to USA.com for doing what the Census Bureau could not accomplish: an easily usable database combined with a detailed and accurate mapping component.
My data is derived from the American Community Survey 2006-2010. My methodology consisted of aggregating contiguous block groups with a mean income over $200,000. Block groups are subdivisions of Census tracts. The whole country is covered by these geographical tracts. A typical Census tract will have 5,000 residents and be made up of 5 block groups of 1,000 residents each. Theoretically, the boundaries should be drawn to group people of similar socio-economic status. The boundaries are meant to stay the same from Census to Census to be able to study the change in neighborhood characteristics over time. A small change in boundaries, particularly if apartments, condominiums are included, can cause a neighborhoods income to plummet. The neighborhood that was number one in 2000, Holmby Hills in the Platinum Triangle had it’s boundaries redrawn to take in smaller homes in Westwood and hundreds of so-so condo high-rises on Wilshere. The redrawn boundaries have caused this neighborhood, now called Westwood-Holmby Hills to fall to number 677th !
The CSA or Combined Statistical Area
The general metro area definition I have used is the Census’ Combined Statistical Areas (or CSA). Therefore “San Francisco” includes the entire San Francisco Bay Area: the suburbs of Oakland, and San Jose are part of San Francisco CSA. One notable exception: I broke the Washington DC-Baltimore CSA into component metro areas. Yes, there no longer is much left of the Maryland countryside between the two cities, but they are so different in character and identity that I broke the CSA in two for statistical purposes. Although the three counties that make up the Miami CSA (Miami-Dade, Broward, and Palm Beach) are very dissimilar, I have left them as one metro area.
The new highest income neighborhood is Mid Country West and Mid Country East in Greenwich, Connecticut. As seen in the map below (Figure One) it is found in the heart of Greenwich, Connecticut’s inland estate area. Some realtors call this area the “Golden Triangle”, although the borders are nebulous. My February first (2014) perusal of Trulia.com listings for this neighborhood found 48 homes for sale with an average asking price of $6,666,000. The highest priced estate in the neighborhood was a gorgeous 13,000 square foot home for $20,000,000. This is where you live if you run a Hedge Fund and consider yourself a Master of the Universe.
The low end ($1,100,000) was for a 1,600 square foot, 4 bedroom, one bath clapboard house. What a dump! Location, Location, Location. This house would be free in Detroit and go for $70,000 in vast swathes of America. Lots in Mid Country West start at about $1 million.
Figure 1: the Golden Triangle, Greenwich, Connecticut: America’s Highest Income Neighborhood
View North Central Greenwich Back Country - The Golden Triangle in a larger map
As in the previous Higley 1000, small elite suburbs whether incorporated or unincorporated (known as Census Designated Places) are well represented. The highest ranked village is a tiny place north of Fort Worth called Westlake (with a population under just 1,000). I decided to make 400 residents the minimum number to qualify a neighborhood or village for the Higley 1000. Hunts Point on Seattle’s Gold Coast just missed with 394 residents. The highest mean income for a place regardless of resident population (132) was Fisher Island off the tip of Miami Beach. Although the mean income is listed as $716,554. It is probably wrong (see my article on this fiasco elsewhere in the Higley 1000).
Fisher Island illustrates the huge margins of error in areas with small populations. That is why it is not too important to dwell on the actual ranking in the Higley 1000. Remember the income statistics are self-reported and no one checks with the IRS. Secondly, the way the American Community Survey is structured, the most a household can claim as income is approximately $2 million dollars. The point of my website is to highlight the progress of integrating our “best” neighborhoods. My point of view is that this is that integration is a positive and inevitable result of our country’s changing demographic makeup. Over the years I have received any number of racist comments on my blog in response to my writings. If they are not too inflammatory, I publish them. The ones that are written in a drunken stupor are deleted, lol!
What I will say is that if you take the whole sample of over 2,000,000 people in 1,000 neighborhoods, the margin of error is much smaller… particularly for the racial data. For ease of categorization I have decided to use the term “White” for “Non-Hispanic White” (a very clunky, if accurate term); Black for African-American; Latino for Hispanic, and “Asian” for the multitudes of ethnicities from that continent. Apologies in advance to those that are offended by my terminology!
The racial makeup of the Higley 1000 continues to evolve to look like the rest of the country. The highest mean income neighborhoods have had large increases in the number of Asians and Latinos at the expense of Whites . Blacks increased their representation in the Higley 1000 (1.0% to 1.7%), however, they continue to lag behind their share of the population and share of high income households.
Between 2000 and 2010 all other groups that don’t fit into the four main categories tripled their presence in the Higley 1000 (from 1% in 2000 to 2.9% in 2010). This rapidly growing segment consists of Native Americans, Pacific Islanders and Aleutian Islanders and most importantly, those that are of mixed race.
The number of people living in the Higley 1000 (2,048,131) consists of .6% of the country’s population in 2010 (308,745,538). Table One shows that the White population dropped from 91.0% in 2000 82.9% to in 2010. Asian-Americans improved to 7.9% of Higley 1000 residents compared to 4.8% in 2000. Latino’s representation jumped from 2.2% to 4.6% in the Higley 1000. Although the Miami-Dade continues to dominate the list of wealthy Latino neighborhoods, there are elite Latino neighborhoods popping up in San Antonio. The Cubans of Miami-Dade are not only doing well, they are being augmented by the continued migration of wealthy families from places as diverse as Honduras, Venezuela, and Argentina. The new islands of Latino wealth in San Antonio and Corpus Christi are of Mexican ethnicity.
As I sifted through thousands of Block Groups to create the highest income 1,000 neighborhoods, there were a number of striking trends that blossomed over the ten years between 2000 and 2010.
- The striking increase in the number of Block Groups found in central cities. Gentrification has finally reached a point where many of our richest urban neighborhoods have squeezed out the last of the poor and middle classes. The real estate has simply become to expensive to not put it to it’s highest rent production potential. The jump in the number of high income Manhattan block groups was remarkable. Whether it was on the fringes of the already well-to-do block groups on the Upper East Side and Upper West Side, or the myriad of Block Groups scattered through Soho, Tribeca, Greenwich Village, Chelsea, Murray Hill, Turtle Bay and right on down to Downtown and Battery City Park. Chicago, San Francisco, and Boston all saw new representation in their urban cores. Similarly, suburban cities such as Los Angeles and Dallas and Houston also saw there “best” neighborhoods and those adjacent rejuvenated through teardown epidemics. It appears as though some elites have reached the limit as to how far into the hinterland they willing to live in America’s largest cities. Another factor that has slowed the march into exurbia has been the neglect of highway system by state and federal governments leading to ever worsening grid-lock and the poor condition of many of the nation’s highways.
-I was surprised to see how many older suburbs, usually well situated in regard to mass transit, moved onto the Higley 1000. Here again, teardowns have had a huge effect on close in suburbs with good housing stock and large lots. Hinsdale, Illinois comes to mind as an already affluent community that has seen the widespread demolition of whole neighborhoods to create “cheek to jaw” McMansions. Preston Hollow, nestled in the heart of Dallas is another good example of an already elite neighborhood that has seen hundreds of teardowns where 3,000 square foot houses are replaced with 8,000 square foot mini-mansions more suited to the lifestyle of the nouveau riche.
- The sudden appearance of what were formerly second home communities on the 2010 Higley 1000 was unexpected. Usually, no matter how posh a place such as Southampton or Kiawah Island, South Carolina are, the local year round service people so greatly outnumbered those that chose to claim the mansions as their “first” home, meant that the mean income numbers were very low and typical of service communities. The last ten years have seen huge numbers of people deciding to make what were formerly seasonal towns of wealth into permanent homes. This trend is very noticeable in Florida where neighborhoods that still are dominated by seasonal homes have made an appearance of the Higley 1000.
- Block groups that not only are rural but not part of any metro area was another surprise. From Georgia’s Lake Oconee to Nantucket’s Historic District and several California wine country Block Groups, I realize I’m stretching the term “neighborhood” to include vast expanses of second homes and wineries.
Metro Area Changes from 2000 to 2010
The New York City Metro Area continues to dominate the list of the Higley 1000. In 2010, 234 of the neighborhoods are found throughout the CSA area encompassing wide swathes of New Jersey, all of Long Island, plus the usual elite neighborhoods of Westchester County and Fairfield County in Connecticut. This is roughly similar to the number of neighborhoods in the New York City area ten years ago (219).
The number of neighborhoods in Washington DC vaulted from 68 in 2000 to 102 in 2010. These gains came particularly at the expense of declining Midwestern cities (Chicago being the exception). Cleveland and Detroit particularly saw there standings fall from 2000 to 2010.
Table Two lists the Metro Areas with the largest numbers of neighborhoods. Notice the particularly large numbers of Asians in Santa Clara County’s Higley 1000 neighborhoods (27.9%). Santa Clara County is the heart of Silicon Valley, although the boundaries of Silicon Valley are nebulous at best. The large number of Latinos found in Miami-Dade County’s Higley 1000 neighborhoods (41.8%) are approximately 2/3 Cuban and 1/3 from a large variety of other Latin American countries. The growth of the Latino population in the wealthiest neighborhoods of Miami-Dade has begun to spill over into Broward County, but Palm Beach County’s large array of Higley 1000 neighborhoods remains non-Hispanic White for the most part. Palm Beach County’s Latino Higley 1000 neighborhoods are only 4.9% Latino.
TABLE ONE: The Higley 1000 by Metro Area and Race
|United States (2010)||308,745,538||72.4%||4.8%||16.3%||12.6%|
|Higley 1000 Total (2010)||1000||2,048,131||82.9%||7.9%||4.6%||1.7%|
|Higley 1000 Total (2000)||1000||1,940,457*||91.0%||4.8%||2.2%||1.0%|
|New York City||TOTAL:||234||664,771||83.8%||7.8%||4.3%||1.8%|
|New York City||19||143,371||80.4%||8.8%||5.4%||2.0%|
|Los Angeles County||55||140,627||77.1%||10.2%||6.1%||1.5%|
|District of Columbia||12||22,698||80.8%||4.8%||5.9%||4.4%|
|Santa Clara County||19||49,338||61.5%||27.9%||4.6%||0.9%|
|San Mateo County||15||36,382||76.4%||14.6%||4.1%||0.5%|
The Elite 100
The following list is the highest income neighborhoods and their racial make up. The 100 highest income neighborhoods are Whiter (85.6%), and have fewer Asians, Latinos, and Blacks. The only Elite 100 place with a significant Black population (Brookville, New York on Long Island) is a statistical anomaly due to the presence of Long Island University’s Post campus. Nineteen of the Elite 100 neighborhoods are more than 10% Asian. All of the neighborhoods that have over 10% of their population listed as Latino are in the Miami area. The large percentage of Latinos in Southampton Beach are live-in caretakers for the huge seasonal homes that dominate the village. The proof for this supposition is that the median income for Latino’s is 1/3 the income of Whites, Asians, and Blacks. The relatively large number of Latinos found around the Burning Tree Country Club in Greenwich, CT (12.9%) is interesting… the income stats show that the Latino incomes are roughly the same as other ethnic groups around the Burning Tree Country Club…. evidently this subset of Latinos have found the keys to the kingdom that is Greenwich.
TABLE TWO: The Elite 100: 2010
MEAN HH INCOME
|1||The Golden Triangle||$614,242||Greenwich, CT||87.3%||7.4%||2.5%||1.9%|
|2||Bradley Manor-Longwood||$599,440||Bethesda, MD||80.0%||8.4%||5.0%||3.3%|
|3||Potomac Manors||$599,331||Potomac ,MD||78.1%||17.7%||5.7%||1.3%|
|4||Old Cutler-Hammock Oaks||$596,851||Coral Gbls, FL||47.9%||1.4%||47.7%||1.5%|
|5||Carderock-The Palisades||$595,669||Potomac, MD||73.6%||16.1%||5.6%||3.0%|
|6||East Lake Shore Drive||$593,454||Chicago||93.5%||1.3%||2.3%||2.5%|
|7||Swinks Mill-Dominion Res||$562,596||McLean, VA||59.8%||16.8%||3.5%||2.2%|
|8||Cameo Shores-Hghlds||$554,721||Newport Bch||79.8%||8.8%||3.2%||0.2%|
|9||Pelican Hill-Pelican Crest||$549,659||Newport Bch||67.3%||23.0%||4.3%||0.4%|
|11||Gable Estates-Tahiti||$531,447||Coral Gables||42.9%||3.7%||51.6%||0.2%|
|13||Hills Hghts-Brewer Sub||$519,024||Hillsborough||70.5%||12.8%||2.1%||0.4%|
|16||Round Hill-North Greenwich||$510,848||Greenwich||97.5%||0.0%||2.4%||0.1%|
|18||Beverly Park-Beverly Crest||$502,440||Los Angeles||80.5%||6.5%||4.8%||3.3%|
|19||McLean Ctry Ests-Glendale||$498,944||McLean||81.0%||10.7%||4.8%||0.7%|
|20||Jupiter Island||$493,705||Martin Cty||88.5%||2.6%||6.9%||2.0%|
|23||Everglades Club||$467,715||Palm Bch||89.9%||0.8%||6.3%||1.4%|
|24||Chevy Chase Village||$466,049||Chevy Ch Vill||93.4%||1.6%||2.8%||0.5%|
|27||Northfield Central||$459,275||North Shore||92.9%||2.5%||2.5%||0.2%|
|30||Corona del Mar Beach||$441,627||Newport Bch||86.4%||3.8%||5.8%||0.3%|
|32||CC of New Canaan||$438,343||New Canaan||92.8%||2.9%||2.0%||0.5%|
|34||Westchester Country Club||$433,383||Harrison||90.8%||4.6%||2.7%||0.9%|
|35||North Darien||$431,428||Fairfield Cty||92.4%||2.9%||3.0%||0.6%|
|37||Burr Ridge Club||$426,442||Chicago||85.5%||9.0%||2.8%||1.4%|
|38||Canoe Hill-Brushy Ridge||$426,143||New Canaan||93.1%||2.6%||2.5%||0.3%|
|39||Douglass Hill||$416,717||Arlington, VA||93.3%||2.2%||2.3%||0.3%|
|40||Port Royal||$415,286||Naples, FL||96.1%||1.2%||1.9%||0.1%|
|42||Clapboard Hill-Marvin R||$409,895||New Canaan||90.3%||2.9%||2.6%||1.3%|
|44||La Jolla Farms-Torrey Pines||$408,266||San Diego||79.6%||8.5%||5.4%||1.0%|
|47||Sands Point||$404,670||Long Island||84.7%||8.2%||4.7%||0.7%|
|48||Cong Forest Ests||$404,394||Potomac||81.9%||7.3%||5.3%||2.6%|
|50||Preserve at Greenwood Vill||$401,592||Denver||91.3%||2.5%||3.6%||0.1%|
|53||The Hill Section||$399,820||Man Beach||82.2%||7.8%||5.2%||1.0%|
|58||The Heights and West End||$396,574||Bergen Cty||86.4%||7.3%||3.3%||0.5%|
|59||Beverly Hills 90210||$395,734||Beverly Hills||82.3%||4.9%||6.4%||1.3%|
|60||Skokie Country Club||$395,206||Glencoe, IL||94.5%||2.2%||1.4%||0.2%|
|61||Near West End-Lock Green||$393,629||Richmond||96.9%||0.4%||0.4%||1.1%|
|63||Pine Hill||$390,583||New Canaan||92.8%||2.7%||2.4%||0.2%|
|64||W Lake Oaks-Bee Crk Terr||$388,436||Austin||86.8%||2.8%||5.3%||0.6%|
|65||Stanwich Club-Conyers Fm||$388,282||Greenwich||86.4%||7.8%||3.6%||1.2%|
|67||Harbor Island-Linda Island||$385,666||Newport Bch||89.7%||3.7%||4.1%||0.1%|
|68||Oyster Bay Cove||$385,230||Long Island||86.9%||8.5%||2.2%||1.5%|
|69||Westover Hills||$385,047||Ft. Worth||95.6%||1.8%||1.2%||0.1%|
|70||Hidden Hills||$383,731||Los Angeles||87.4%||2.1%||6.6%||1.9%|
|72||Town & Country South||$382,173||St. Louis||81.9%||12.2%||2.6%||2.6%|
|73||Hunters Creek Village||$382,168||Houston||86.7%||6.0%||4.5%||1.1%|
|75||Talmadge Hill||$381,648||New Canaan||93.9%||3.2%||1.5%||0.3%|
|77||Cherry Hills Country Club||$380,379||Denver||91.6%||1.1%||3.3%||1.0%|
|78||Belle Haven-Indian Harbor||$380,036||Greenwich||86.6%||4.4%||6.7%||1.0%|
|80||Old Field||$378,848||Long Island||87.0%||6.3%||2.8%||0.9%|
|81||Windmill Ranch Estates||$378,797||Ft. Lauder.||68.1%||7.2%||15.6%||5.8%|
|82||Smith Ridge-Rusco Ridge||$377,274||New Canaan||93.1%||4.4%||0.9%||0.7%|
|83||Ingleside-Old Dom Gardens||$376,004||McLean||71.2%||18.8%||5.0%||1.3%|
|84||Chestnut Hill||$375,837||Brookline, MA||76.1%||14.0%||4.7%||2.5%|
|87||The Burning Tree Club||$373,904||Bethesda||77.6%||11.1%||5.2%||2.5%|
|88||Woodside Ests-Peacock Sta||$373,813||McLean||69.9%||20.3%||3.6%||2.8%|
|89||Rolling Hills||$373,524||Palos Verd P.||74.1%||16.2%||5.5%||1.5%|
|91||Hills of Summ-Corta Bella||$372,730||Las Vegas||81.9%||7.7%||5.5%||1.7%|
|92||Ward Ests-Sunset Hill W||$372,684||Kansas City||94.8%||1.1%||1.3%||0.3%|
|93||Burning Tree CC||$372,675||Greenwich||81.6%||5.6%||12.9%||0.0%|
|97||Rancho Santa Fe||$369,026||San Diego Cty||89.4%||2.8%||5.6%||0.3%|
|99||St. Louis Country Club||$367,750||Ladue, MO||96.6%||1.9%||1.2%||0.1%|