The Higley Elite 100: Variance & Stability in the American Community Survey 2008-2012

The Higley Elite 100: Variance & Stability in the American Community Survey 2008-2012

New research shows that the huge variances for individual neighborhoods only nudges the racial makeup of the Elite 100. I’m afraid that many of the visitors to my site are solely interested in the question of which neighborhood is Number One. In the hope of highlighting the futility of trying to determine which neighborhood is number one, I have re-worked the numbers for the Higley Elite 100.

I love all  the traffic to the site in America’s quest to know what #1 is in every facet of life. However, I can only hope that some of the visitors will stop and explore and read a few of the articles on the site.

To illustrate the great variances in the mean household income statistics, I have recompiled the data using the American Community Survey for 2008-12 (The Higley 1000 is currently based on the American Community Survey for 2006-12). Although there were some startling differences in the individual neighborhoods as some  neighborhoods made astounding increases in mean household income and some collapsed in the rankings. Yet, the statistics for race remain essentially unchanged. People, that is the reason it is the Higley one thousand. One needs a huge sample to get at the changes in racial makeup in our most elite neighborhoods with any degree of certainty.

As I researched my way through over 5,000 Block Groups, I came across some data that was clearly screwed up and illustrates some of the problems with the data. The two most laughable examples of screwy data involved Lehigh Acres, an undistinguished/half empty section of this prefab suburb had a mean household income of  $462,873 in 2006-10. More realistically, the 2008-12 ACS gave the same block group a mean income of $51,086.

Looks like the fraternity boys were having fun and games in Norman, Oklahoma as the mean household income in their minuscule block group had a family income of $1,321,795 and a mean household income of $390,072. Obviously this is a prank and naturally, I dropped this block group from the tally.

As for the American Community Survey of 2008-12, 70 of the neighborhoods stayed in the top 100. Of the 30 that dropped out, most were replaced by a similar neighborhood from the same metro area.

The population in the 2008-12 Elite 100 increased from 176,000 to 195,000. Much of this increase can be attributed to the addition of two of the largest Higley 1000 neighborhoods: Tribeca in Manhattan with 14,000 people and lavishly upholstered Short Hills, New Jersey with 13,000. The racial statistics trended in their historical pattern: from the 2006-8 ACS to the 2008-12 ACS: Whites went from 85.6% to 84.4%; Asians increased from 6.1% to 6.8%. Latinos increased their share of the Elite 100 over the time period from 4.4% to 4.7% and African-Americans increased from 1.4% to 1.6%.

The bottom line is that the ups and downs of small neighborhoods with large variances in their mean household incomes does not dramatically affect the racial make-up of our most elite neighborhoods in the aggregate. The Elite 100 is still more White and less of everything else than the Higley 1000. The bottom line is that the stats are trending in their usual way.

In coming up with the Elite 100 for the 2008-12 ACS, I only rechecked the 200 highest neighborhoods from the 2006-10 numbers used in the Higley 1000. There may very well be some neighborhoods lurking in the bottom 800 of the Higley 1000 that have burst into the Elite 100. However, as mercurial as these numbers are for individual neighborhoods, it is the general trends that this website is dedicated to exploring.

The fact that the Washington DC neighborhood of Foxhall Crescent-Wesley Heights West increased from 165th in the nation to 9th is quite remarkable. However, with only 991 residents, the variance is large. (The reason this neighborhood has such an odd name is that the some idiot drew the block group boundary right through the middle of Wesley Heights and yoked it to Foxhall Crescent). I personally find it interesting that the wealthiest part of Beverly Hills (North of Sunset; excluding Trousdale Estates) vaulted from 59th to 2nd. The old number one, Greenwich’s Golden Triangle dropped to 7th. The new number one is the Carderock-Palisades neighborhood of Potomac, Maryland. It was 5th in the previous tally.

One of the fun numbers in this list is the block group in Boston that has only one high-rise building: The Ritz-Carlton Residences. As there are 451 residents in the building, it qualified as a “neighborhood”. The residents of this luxury tower saw their average income increase from$347,598 to $478,557. The building’s racial makeup is also very interesting: 46.3% White, 8.4% Asian, 13.7% Latino, and 24.2% African-American. It appears to be a truly integrated luxury tower!

TABLE ONE: A Comparison between the 2006-10 ACS and the 2008-12 ACS Elite 100

2010 RANK2012 RANKPLACE/NEIGHBORHOODMEAN HH INCOME 2006-10MEAN HH INCOME 2008-12LOCATER
51Carderock-The Palisades$595,669$712,201Potomac, MD
592Beverly Hills North of Sunset$395,734$670,982Beverly Hills
73Swinks Mill-Dominion Reserve$562,596$659,877McLean, VA
44Old Cutler-Hammock Oaks$596,851$626,886Coral Gbls, FL
95Pelican Hill-Pelican Crest$549,659$621,146Newport Bch
226Snapper-Hammock$481,124$605,007Coral Gables
17The Golden Triangle$614,242$587,701Greenwich, CT
28Bradley Manor-Longwood$599,440$568,155Bethesda, MD
219Diablo$492,897$533,709Contra Costa
2010Jupiter Island$493,705$529,771Martin Cty
7811Belle Haven-Indian Harbor$380,036$527,672Greenwich
2412Chevy Chase Village$466,049$508,432Chevy Ch Vill
1113Gable Estates-Tahiti$531,447$490,861Coral Gables
1814Beverly Park-Beverly Crest$502,440$484,018Los Angeles
315Potomac Manors$599,331$484,007Potomac ,MD
1416Murray Hill-Heathcote$516,671$479,295Scarsdale
13817Ritz Carlton Residences Boston$347,598$478,557Boston
1018Greenhaven$540,403$474,972Rye, NY
9919St. Louis Country Club$367,650$470,351Ladue, MO
820Cameo Shores-Cameo Highlands$554,721$468,166Newport Bch
3421Westchester Country Club$433,383$464,264Harrison
1322Hillsborough Hghts-Brewer Subd.$519,024$455,394Hillsborough
1623Round Hill-North Greenwich$510,848$450,393Greenwich
8124Windmill Ranch Estates$378,797$448,958Ft. Lauder.
11625Glenmoor Country Club$358,815$448,128Cherry Hill Vill
1926McLean Country Ests-Glendale$498,944$443,839McLean
3527North Darien$431,428$442,831Fairfield Cty
1728Hunting Valley$507,214$441,153Cleveland
5329The Hill Section$399,820$440,998Man Beach
2530Purchase$464,955$439,417Harrison, NY
631East Lake Shore Drive$593,454$439,213Chicago
3832Canoe Hill-Brushy Ridge$426,143$435,483New Canaan
1533Greenway Parks$511,549$434,399Dallas
8634Park Hill$375,692$429,618Denver
4035Port Royal$415,286$429,402Naples, FL
7936Pelham$379,687$428,828Westchester
3237Country Club of New Canaan$438,343$428,393New Canaan
13238Haven View Estates-Deer Creek$351,264$421,370Rancho Cuca.
13539Kenwood$349,711$420,667Bethesda
11540Loxahatchee Club-Stonebriar$359,199$420,511Jupiter
5441Kingswood-Randall Mill$399,775$419,474Buckhead
2342Everglades Club$467,715$418,122Palm Bch
3143Hillsborough Oaksbridge$439,682$412,182Hillsborough
15144Atherton$340,915$408,818Silicon Valley
6145Near West End-Lock Green$393,629$404,851Richmond
4246Clapboard Hill-Marvin Ridge$409,895$404,136New Canaan
8247Smith Ridge-Rusco Ridge$377,274$403,862New Canaan
2648Chastain Park$460,280$402,601Buckhead
10249Old Braeswood$366,186$400,174Houston
5750Larchmont Manor$397,279$394,773Westchester
9651Plandome$369,328$394,147Long Island
NA52Hunts PointNA$393,254Seattle
4153Wyngate-Habersham$411,751$388,118Buckhead
8554Murdoch Woods$375,748$387,012Westchester
9155The Hills of Summlin-Corta Bella$372,730$386,867Las Vegas
1256Westlake$526,590$386,779Westlake, TX
9857River Oaks$368,191$386,013Houston
6658Fox Meadow-Greenacres$387,493$384,517Scarsdale
5859The Heights and West End$396,574$384,410Bergen Cty
8060Old Field$378,848$382,657Long Island
9461Manalapan$371,069$382,236Palm Beach
5062Preserve at Greenwood Village$401,592$380,760Denver
4463La Jolla Farms-Torrey Pines$408,266$380,379San Diego
11364Clewerall-Glengarry$361,555$379,886Potomac
7065Hidden Hills$383,731$379,793Los Angeles
8366Ingleside-Old Dom Gardens$376,004$379,730McLean
3367Paradise Cay$437,226$378,101Tiburon, CA
7768Cherry Hills Country Club$380,379$377,248Denver
11469Glencoe Lakefront$360,468$374,047Chicago
7570Talmadge Hill$381,648$371,331New Canaan
7271Town & Country South$382,173$370,786St. Louis
9072Lenox Hill$373,107$370,182Manhattan
7473Sunny Ridge-Highfield$382,054$369,390Harrison, NY
5274Brookville$400,113$368,815Long island
NR75Fisher IslandNA$368,190Miami Beach
12376Rock Ridge-Glenville$355,158$368,020Greenwich
12477Cannondale-Turner Ridge$355,142$368,020Wilton, CT
10678West Harrison-Park Lane Reserve$364,574$367,010Harrison
6979Westover Hills$385,047$366,803Ft. Worth
4780Sands Point$404,670$363,038Long Island
10781Lake Bluff Waterfront$364,029$359,574Chicago
5582Winnetka Lakefront$398,688$357,938Chicago
8483Chestnut Hill$375,837$355,383Brookline, MA
17884Short Hills$332,693$353,436Essex, NJ
2885Sterling Ridge$454,965$353,380Harrison, NY
12886Union Square North$352,682$352,627Manhattan
4687Rumson Central$406,932$352,131Monmouth
6888Oyster Bay Cove$385,230$352,002Long Island
10589Tokeneke$364,657$351,452Darien
4390North Castle$408,545$350,829Westchester
6391Pine Hill$390,583$348,962New Canaan
9292Ward Estates-Sunset Hill West$372,684$348,401Kansas City
6593Stanwich Club-Conyers Farm$388,282$346,482Greenwich
12194Frenchman's Creek$355,978$346,219Jupiter
11295Hewlett Bay Park$361,626$345,980Nassau County
3096Corona del Mar Beach$441,627$345,880Newport Bch
4897Congressional Forest Estates$404,394$345,333Potomac
11198Muttontown$361,732$343,705Gold Coast NY
8899Woodside Ests-Peacock Station$373,813$342,536McLean, VA
118100Holmdel Park-Bell Labs$357,752$341,554Holmdel Twp

Posted in Uncategorized on Apr 16th, 2014, 8:27 pm by Stephen Higley   

5 Responses to “The Higley Elite 100: Variance & Stability in the American Community Survey 2008-2012”

  1. Anton Williams
    April 22nd, 2014 | 8:48 pm

    Interesting research prof. Higley! It appears that the nation’s elite neighborhoods are only going to become more integrated as the nation changes demographically over the next few decades. I have a copy of the 2013 Social Register and an examination of it reveals that there are many people from “old families” who are still among the elite 100. For example, I estimate that there is about 150-200 people from Social register hh, who have homes in or around neighborhoods you mentioned in places like Greenwich CT and Palm Beach FL.

    My question is do you think that as more ‘fortunes’ are created from meritocratic industries like technology; that people from different racial backgrounds will seek to integrate into the elite 100 areas or stay in locales where their race is either a majority or has a large presence?

    My theory is that as new ‘riches’ are created by people from a variety of racial backgrounds, they probably will be gradually included among the elite 100. There is a historical precedent for this notion. As in the late 1880 people who were from the landed gentry ‘old families’ (including my own family) who were well-off since the 1600s and/or 1700s gradually accepted a select number of people from fortunes created during the gilded age (1870-1920) into their institutions and even the social register. I believe you mentioned something similar to this phenenon occurring in boarding schools in your book. Do you think something similar to this will occur again; but with an albeit difference in the inclusion of people from diverse backgrounds and some those same people leaving neighborhoods where they have a larger presence for inclusion among the elite 100?

  2. Stephen Higley
    December 30th, 2014 | 8:12 pm

    As to whether the new elites will move into places like Locust Valley, Lake Forest, and Hillsborough… I think they will. The schools (both private and public) are excellent and the addresses are tony. They scream that you have arrived.

    The big question is whether they send their kids to the New England boarding schools where the upper class ethos is inculcated.

    One of the big differences between the American upper class and the British upper class is that you can quickly season your fortune in this country by generously giving to the “right” causes…. whereas in Britain, money only goes so far in storming the aristocracy.

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  4. Richard
    February 28th, 2016 | 8:37 pm

    On the 2009 list, Carderock-Mazza Woods was at no. 50, but this designation is absent on the list here–did you “redistrict” or simply rename some of the neighborhoods?

  5. Stephen Higley
    March 2nd, 2016 | 12:01 pm

    There was a realignment of Potomac, Maryland’s Block Groups, hence the name change.

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