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June 30, 2011, last updated June 18, 2013
By L. Carr, Associate Editor and Featured Columnist
What is the wealthiest city in the United States? Which zip code is home
to the highest earning people in the country? Take a look behind the
security gates at some of the priciest real estate in the country and find
out which zip codes attract the richest residents in America. Where
exactly do the rich live? We’ve compiled a list of the top 10 richest
neighborhoods in America based on figures from the IRS for Adjusted
Gross Income (in zip codes with over 10,000 returns filed).
Take a look at the following 10 wealthiest zip codes and plan your next
1. 06830 Greenwich Connecticut
Take $40 million mansions, upscale and designer-clad residents, views
of Long Island Sound and the most desirable address in the state and
you have the epitome of a zip code that adds up to money. Named after
the leafy, and well-off, borough in London, England, Greenwich has an
abundance of private schools and a whole lot of expensive cars hidden
away in tree-lined driveways. Its proximity to Manhattan (under an
hour by train) and the abundance of financial service companies and
hedge funds attract the high-earning money men and women to
Greenwich. People here have an average salary of $206,587 per tax
And the real estate? Don’t expect to get anything for much less than $4
million. Mel Gibson bought a 76-acre estate for $39.5 million. The 28-
room property that formerly belonged to Leona Helmsley (with koi
pond, wine cellar and tasting room, carriage house and 86-foot-long
gallery) was on the market for $42.9 million. Currently available is a 6-
bedroom, 9-bathroom $42.5 million mansion with fitness room, home
theatre and wine cellar. Private lakes, formal gardens and sun rooms
the size of apartments are the norm.
Perhaps hinting at the more shadowy side of upscale suburban life, The
Stepford Wives (2004) was filmed here, as was 2008’s film of class
angst Revolutionary Road.
2. 90210 Beverly Hills California
90210 is possibly the most famous zip code in America thanks to the
1980s TV hit. And Beverly Hills wealth isn’t just a screen dream. The
residents of this moneyed city earn an average salary of $193,425 a
year – and that IRS figure seems a little low considering the list of
stars, CEOs and heiresses Beverly Hills attracts. Think Beverly Hills and
you can’t help but picture wealthy celebrities strutting the shiny
sidewalk of Rodeo Drive with tiny dogs and mega-sunglasses.
Real estate here is the stuff of legend. Take the Palais des Anges off the
hands of the realtor for a mere $95 million. This French Palladian is set
on a private knoll overlooking Sunset Boulevard and boasts a library
with hand-carved staircase, 50-foot entry hall, spa, separate two-bed
apartment, art-deco nightclub, living room with 22-foot high arched
ceiling and an outdoor terrace with space for 400 for a sit-down meal.
Jennifer Aniston’s property in Beverly Hills is tiny in comparison –she
sold her estate for around $37 million.
3. 60045 Lake Forest Illinois
With a history of polo and a continuing tradition of games played every
year, moneyed residents and a leafy environment, this plush city comes
in at number three on the list of desirable zip codes. Lake Forest is
located along the shores of Lake Michigan and residents of this Illinois
city have an average income of $275,116. The city was founded around
Lake Forest College – this upscale educational institution was recently
given an added boost by a $7 million donation from “mystery”
millionaire Grace Groner. Until her death, Groner appeared to be the
least flashy of this city’s residents until her hidden wealth was revealed
with the posthumous gift.
4. 06880 Westport Connecticut
Westport was made famous by the I Love Lucy and Bewitched TV
shows and this wealthy town is still pulling in the viewers. Located on
the beautiful Long Island Sound just 47 miles from New York City,
Westport is the residence of choice for New York commuters with cash
and old-moneyed families. Westport is home to a number of investment
companies, venture capital firms and headquarters of global brands and
fortune 500 companies. Westport was home to actor Paul Newman and
is still home to singer Michael Bolton and writer and producer Phil
Donahue. But some people don’t get on with the $204,863-incomed
neighbors – Martha Stewart sold her 19th century farmhouse-style
mansion and moved out of the seaside town citing an "unfriendly
neighborhood atmosphere" and a difficult commute to New York.
5. 10022 New York, New York
Manhattan, New York City, New York – if you can afford to live in one
of the stylish apartments here you’re probably working in the financial
district, as a lawyer or as a surgeon at one of New York City’s top
hospitals. If you live here you’re earning upwards of the average salary
of $174,490. 10022 is Midtown East and home to the United Nations
Headquarters overlooking the Hudson River. 10022 borders a corner of
Central Park and the Times Square Theater District. Apartments go for
upwards of $1 million and you’ll likely pay sky-high prices for more
than one room.
6. 60093 Winnetka Illinois
Donald Rumsfeld and Rock Hudson grew up in this Republican
stronghold north of downtown Chicago. Other famous residents
include Chris O’Donnell and Jenny Sanford, the former First Lady of
South Carolina. With a population of just over 12,000, this bijoux
village has more than its fair share of wealthy homeowners. The
median family income is $195,879 and the average price of a family
home is $1,316,052. Winnetka also wins for being the home of one of
America’s most privileged public schools, New Trier High School.
7. 07901 Summit New Jersey
No pun intended, but if you live here you’ve probably reached the
heights of affluent living. Summit is a well-off suburb of New York City
whose residents bring home, on average, a salary of $162,180 a year.
If you’re looking for a real estate bargain, look elsewhere – the median
house price in Summit was $655,000 in 2009 and taxes are sky-high.
Ice-T went to school here and Meryl Streep lived in the neighborhood.
Apparently, The Velvet Underground made their first paid appearance
here at the Summit High School prom.
8. 30327 Atlanta Georgia
Just north of Midtown, home to law firms, fortune 500 companies and
corporate headquarters, is the well-heeled zip code of 30327 Atlanta
Georgia. With views of skyscrapers through the tree-lined streets, the
residents of this neighborhood enjoy an average family income of
$235,375 a year. While Atlanta is home to all levels of living, this zip
code is definitely at the more privileged end of the scale.
9. 78746 Austin Texas
Austin may be famous as the “Live Music Capital of the World” but if
you live in 78746 you also like a bit of peace and quiet. Living in this
neighborhood is a little like living in the country. This zip code
encompasses the neighborhoods of West Lake Hills and Lost Creek, and
borders Barton Creek, which is home to Barton Creek Wilderness Park.
78746 is close to downtown but with hills, woodlands and winding
roads. Residents here have an average income of $200,771and you’ll
have to pay upwards of $500,00 to even think about getting on the
property ladder. Homes here are popular with technology managers
and high-level Austin executives.
10. 90272 Pacific Palisades California
You may have seen this affluent Los Angeles city on the small screen.
Pacific Palisades is the real-life home of Larry David and the home of his
character in HBO’s Curb Your Enthusiasm. And Baywatch was filmed
here, at the Lifeguard Headquarters on Will Rogers State Beach in
Pacific Palisades. Prosperous Pacific Palisades is bordered by equally
affluent neighbors Santa Monica, Malibu and Topanga and attracts
CEOs, singers and actors. Your neighbors include Ben Affleck, Tom
Hanks, Goldie Hawn and Nicole Kidman and the average income of
residents is $203,653.
This is not the place to find an entry-level home, unless you’ve just
won American Idol or sold your tech company to Microsoft. Actor Kate
Hudson just spent $5.3 million on her new house here, complete with
five bedrooms, gym, pool and six bathrooms.
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