About this website

About this website

This web site investigates racial integration in America’s wealthiest neighborhoods and suburbs. The American dream includes living in the best of neighborhoods that provide status and luxury as well as access to the finest schools (both private and public), shopping, recreational facilities, and well patrolled safety.

Defining neighborhoods is a challenge and it is my hope that the blog feature of my site will open the door for those of you that will help me make sense of this vast country of ours. I have personally investigated over 3,000 places over the last 3 years and I hope that the list will be constantly refined to identify America’s wealthiest places. If you think I’ve missed a wonderful neighborhood, drop me a line on my blog!

The data is based on the 2000 Census and I am looking forward to updating the site when the 2010 Census race and income statistics are published (2012-3).

I call this list the Higley 1000 as I have had to make an endless number of judgments as to what is included in a neighborhood and what is left out. In general I have chosen only the wealthiest Block Groups and Census Tracts of any particular place. This methodology inevitably favors small, homogeneous suburban places over more complex urban places. I have attempted to remedy this situation by analyzing the top 50 urban places. I researched urban neighborhoods at a much larger scale (for the most part at the tract level). Please see the Methodology section for further information. To see this list, click on “High Income Urban Neighborhood”  in the side-bar.
In spite of my best efforts with the internet and my extensive personal collection of maps, there are at least 100 neighborhoods where I have been unable to come up with the locally used name for various sub-divisions and neighborhoods. As this web site becomes better known, I hope I will be able to find some help from the public in identifying every place as accurately as possible. The places that I could use some help with are listed on this page as “Places that Bear Further Study”.

Please note that I’ve tried to keep the name of any individual Census Block Group to two hyphenated names to avoid too many confusing names. In general I have used the names of the largest sub-divisions or neighborhoods when a Block Group has a large number of named places within its borders.

This web site has been set up so that every time I update the Higley 1000 list with new finds, all of the tables auto-magically update. For that I can thank my Grand Master Web Svengali, Scott Cammack (http://makingmirth.com).

Be sure to check out “Neighborhood Area by Metro Area”  to find out how your local wealthy neighborhoods compare to the rest of the country!

Below are three pie charts. The first illustrates the breakdown by race of all the households in the United States (All figures 2000 Census).

USA Households by Race

The second pie chart depicts the breakdown by race for all households in the United States that reported an income higher than $200,000. Another way of thinking about this table is that it represents the pool of households that might be typically found in a Higley 1000 suburb or neighborhood.

US Households with Mean Incomes over $200,000 by Race

The third pie chart simply represents the racial make up of the Higley 1000. The results are not surprising but very significant.

Blacks make up 11.2% of American households, only 1.1% of the Higley 1000 households are African-American. The question is: Where do America’s wealthiest African-Americans choose to live? Blacks make up 4% of all households that have over $200,000 income, yet, are grossly under-represented in the mainly suburban wealthiest places as identified in the Higley 1000. I think this is a whole new geographic research question that needs to be answered. One hypothesis is that it is an imperfect statistical match between Census categories. Just because a household earns over $200,000 does not necessarily mean it could afford to live in one of the gilded Higley 1000 neighborhoods. My research has shown that if you look at the next 1000 neighborhoods, there are indeed more African-Americans, but not a significant number more than the first one thousand.

I would like to think that in the wealthiest neighborhoods that outright discrimination would be minimized. After all, you are dealing with the most educated and sophisticated Americans in Scarsdale or Winnetka and I hardly think one would find a hostile welcome to African-American neighbors. My guess, that will need much further research is the comfort factor. Blacks may not feel as comfortable with Muffie & Chipper and their little Bowheads (as a lower-middle class professor, I know I wouldn’t!).

Hispanics make-up 8.7% of American households and only 2.2% of the households in the Higley 1000. The Miami-Dade metro area is an interesting out-lier: 28% of Miami’s wealthiest neighborhoods are Hispanic (vs. 56% of the metro’s overall population). Of course, the Historicos, the Cuban upper-middle class that fled Cuba in the first wave (1956-1962) are heavily represented in Miami’s best neighborhoods. Overall, it appears that Mexicans are relatively poorly represented in the Higley 1000.

On the other hand, Asians are much more likely to be found in the Higley 1000 neighborhoods (4.9%) than in the general population (2.9%). Asian-Americans are even more heavily represented in the Higley 1ooo places than their share of households with incomes over $200,000 (4.4%)

The most predictable statistic is that Non-Hispanic Whites are significantly over-represented in the Higley 1000 wealthiest neighborhoods (90.8%) versus their representation in the general population (75%).

Higley 1000 Household Summary by Race

Just to whet your appetite to explore my website, here are the ten wealthiest neighborhoods in America by mean household income.


Stephen R. Higley Ph.D.

Associate Professor of Urban Geography

University of Montevallo

Montevallo, Alabama 35115

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