America's wealthiest people are concentrated in just a few areas, mainly East Coast cities and suburbs, around Southern California, and in the Bay Area.
That, at least, is according to geographer Stephen Higley, who looked at 2006-2010 American Community Survey data to come up with a list of “America's 1,000 Richest Neighborhoods.”
The Los Angeles region, including Orange County, …
… had the second-highest number of people, 199,396, in that top 1,000, Higley found. We had the third-highest number of wealthy neighborhoods, 91, of any metropolitan area, according to the analysis.
The L.A. area was beat out by New York, with 234 rich communities that are home to 644,771 people, and Washington, D.C., which had 102 neighborhoods with 192,480 residents, according to the list.
Only two SoCal neighborhoods made the overall top 10 list of “America's Richest Neighborhoods:” Cameo Shores-Highlands (with a mean household income of $554,721) and Pelican Hill-Pelican Crest ($549,659), both in Newport Beach, the geographer says.
Nearly one out of 10 ultra-wealthy Americans live in our region, the analysis found. According to an Atlantic Cities recap:
On the West Coast, greater L.A. (including Orange County) is home to 9 percent, and the Bay Area as a whole (the Combined Statistical Area that includes Oakland and San Jose) accounts for another 6 percent.
Just the top five regions where the super-rich are located – New York, D.C., L.A., San Francisco, and Chicago – account for more than half of America's 1,000 richest neighborhoods. This reflects the unprecedented, growing concentration of U.S. economic activity overall.
We were surprised not to find more SoCal communities (Bel Air, Malibu, Beverly Hills, Scripps Ranch, La Jolla) and Bay Area neighborhoods (Silicon Valley) in the top 10. Beverly Park-Beverly Crest, areas north of Beverly Hills, made number 18 on the America's 1,000 Richest Neighborhoods list. Hidden Hills made number 70.
Higley explains that previous number one, L.A.'s own Westwood-Holmby Hills, fell in his rankings because Census tracts changed to include more lower-income renters:
A small change in boundaries, particularly if apartments, condominiums are included, can cause a neighborhood's income to plummet. The neighborhood that was number one in 2000, Holmby Hills in the Platinum Triangle. had its boundaries redrawn to take in smaller homes in Westwood and hundreds of so-so condo high-rises on Wilshire. The redrawn boundaries have caused this neighborhood, now called Westwood-Holmby Hills to fall to number 677th !
Though these richest 1,000 places were more than 80 percent white, Latinos and Asian Americans have made gains, according to the analysis.
The wealthy-neighborhood population of the latter went up nearly eight percent in the last decade. Latinos have swelled in these neighborhoods by nearly five percent. White domination fell from 91 percent more than 10 years ago.
The Atlantic Cities concludes with this:
Even with ongoing gentrification and aristocratization of some of our biggest cities, it is the gated and gilded enclaves of the suburbs where the ultra-wealthy still most commonly reside.