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All Contents © 2019The Kiplinger Washington Editors
By Dan Burrows, Contributing Writer
| May 17, 2018
A million dollars isn't exactly what it used to be, but it still earns you entry into an elite group of Americans. Only 5.8% of the country, or about 7.2 million households, qualify as bona fide millionaires. That means they have investable assets of $1 million or more, excluding the value of real estate, employer-sponsored retirement plans and business partnerships.
New York and Los Angeles are home to the most millionaires in America because of their large populations and lucrative industries. No surprise there. However, it might surprise you that neither of these metropolises places among the top 10 cities with the highest concentration of millionaires.
Phoenix Marketing International, a firm that tracks the affluent market, ranked 933 urban areas large and small based on the percentage of millionaire households in each. The following list of cities is limited to metropolitan areas with at least one urbanized area with a population of 50,000 or more. We examined small cities with big millionaire populations in a separate story. Now, here are the 10 largest metropolitan areas boasting the highest concentration of millionaires in the U.S.
Estimates of millionaire households provided by Phoenix Marketing International. Investable assets include education/custodial accounts, individually owned retirement accounts, stocks, options, bonds, mutual funds, managed accounts, hedge funds, structured products, ETFs, cash accounts, annuities, and cash value life insurance policies. Metropolitan-area data on household incomes and home values are from the U.S. Census Bureau. Living costs are based on the Council for Community and Economic Research\'s Cost of Living Index .
Millionaire Households: 26,502
Total Households: 329,789
Concentration of Millionaires: 8.0%
Median Income for All Households: $80,513
Median Home Value: $658,900
If you're looking to rub elbows with millionaires in an idyllic setting, the Honolulu metro area is the place to be. But paradise doesn't come cheap. Blame Hawaii's remoteness. Pretty much everything in Honolulu is more expensive than it would be on the mainland because it all has to make the long journey by boat or by plane. Overall living expenses in Honolulu run 88% above the national average, with costs for housing, groceries and utilities coming in particularly high. A can of tuna, for example, is 50% more expensive than the U.S. national average and eggs cost double. Even bananas go for twice the national average.
Millionaire Households: 10,962
Total Households: 135,280
Concentration of Millionaires: 8.1%
Median Income for All Households: $77,650
Median Home Value: $284,600
As the New Jersey state capital, Trenton is home to a multitude of state, county, local and federal agencies – and the law firms and professional agencies that support them. The metro area's millionaire population is further boosted by the presence of tony Princeton, N.J. The famed university town boasts a median household income of $118,467 and a median home value of $811,700. Major companies such as Munich Reinsurance America and Covance call the area home.
Millionaire Households: 22,592
Total Households: 278,637
Concentration of Millionaires: 8.1%
Median Income for All Households: $80,135
Median Home Value: $561,400
Also known as Ventura County, the Oxnard metro area includes the pricey locales of Thousand Oaks (median income: $100,578), Moorpark ($99,777) and Oak Park ($120,696). Its proximity to Los Angeles helps explain the large concentration of wealth. So does the number of celebrities who call it home – a list that over the years has included Clark Gable, William Shatner and Cher. It also appeals to millionaires looking for alternatives to Santa Barbara and Malibu, which bracket the Oxnard area to the north and south. Considering the area's Mediterranean climate and miles of relatively uncrowded beaches, it's easy to see the appeal.
Millionaire Households: 4,182
Total Households: 50,975
Concentration of Millionaires: 8.2%
Median Income for All Households: $75,077
Median Home Value: $599,300
The wines produced by Napa's famed vineyards make the area a popular destination for casual drinkers and serious oenophiles alike. Roughly 475 wineries and 700 grape growers dot the Napa Valley area. Cult wines from renowned makers such as Screaming Eagle and Harlan Estate can command prices ranging from several hundred to several thousand dollars per bottle. Taken all together, the local wine economy is a $13-billion-a-year business and accounts for 46,000 jobs, according to Napa Valley Vintners, an industry trade group. Fine wine and tourism clearly can be lucrative trades, judging by Napa's concentration of millionaires.
Millionaire Households: 7,979
Total Households: 96,259
Concentration of Millionaires: 8.3%
Median Income for All Households: $67,898
Median Home Value: $383,200
Officially known as the Town of Barnstable, the metro area comprises the largest community on Cape Cod, by both population and geography. Barnstable encompasses a number of villages, including Centerville, Osterville and Marstons Mills, but none are more famous than Hyannis Port, home to the Kennedy Compound. The American political dynasty's residences there are designated national historic landmarks. In addition to being one of the more desirable summer vacation destinations in the eastern U.S., Barnstable serves as a gateway to Martha's Vineyard – another millionaire hotspot – by way of the ferry in Hyannis.
Millionaire Households: 147,772
Total Households: 1,781,731
Concentration of Millionaires: 8.3%
Median Income for All Households: $96,677
Median Home Value: $796,100
Years of relentless growth driven by high-paid tech workers have given the San Francisco metro area some of the highest living costs in the country, meaning even those with fat paychecks can struggle to make ends meet. Home prices are famously high – an obstacle for aspiring homeowners – and renters fare little better. Overall, San Francisco's cost of living is 93% higher than the national average. Still, those plump incomes help a healthy chunk of San Franciscans sock away serious savings. Out of the nearly 1.8 million total households in the San Francisco-Oakland-Hayward metro area, almost 25,000 have more than $5 million in investable assets.
Millionaire Households: 3,429
Total Households: 40,545
Concentration of Millionaires: 8.5%
Median Income for All Households: $78,195
Median Home Value: $307,900
The economy of St. Mary's County, and in particular Lexington Park, hinges on military spending. The Naval Air Station Patuxent River is situated there, and the Pentagon is less than two hours away by car – even less by helicopter – making the area ideal for defense and aerospace research. A host of military contractors including DynCorp, KBRWyle, BAE Systems, Lockheed Martin, Northrop Grumman and Boeing account for thousands of high-paying science, technology and engineering jobs. With such a highly educated, highly skilled workforce, it should come as no surprise that there are so many millionaire households in and around Lexington Park.
Millionaire Households: 206,361
Total Households: 2,306,270
Concentration of Millionaires: 8.9%
Median Income for All Households: $95,843
Median Home Value: $411,400
The District of Columbia and its close-in suburbs such as Arlington, Va., are magnets for the highly educated seeking high-powered jobs. Luckily, many of those ambitious folks are highly paid. Fat paychecks come in handy considering rents and mortgages are more than double the national average, making the nation's capital one of the most expensive cities in the U.S. But if you can find an affordable place to live in the area, other living expenses are more manageable. D.C. health-care costs are no higher than the national average, for example, and a wide-ranging bus-and-rail system makes getting to and around the District surprisingly reasonable. And don't forget about all the free museums and monuments.
Millionaire Households: 61,264
Total Households: 684,281
Concentration of Millionaires: 9.0%
Median Income for All Households: $110,040
Median Home Value: $911,900
As hard as it is to fathom, a million dollars might not be enough to get by in Silicon Valley. The cities that make up this metro area – including San Jose, Sunnyvale and Santa Clara – are famous for being home to some of the biggest tech companies in the world. They are also famous for being home to exorbitant living expenses. Google, Apple, Facebook, Intel and Tesla are based nearby. No wonder home prices rose 22.4% year-over-year as of March 31, according to Zillow. A six-figure median income helps cushion the burden, but just barely.
Millionaire Households: 31,506
Total Households: 348,617
Median Income for All Households: $90,123
Median Home Value: $423,200
With its close proximity to New York City, Stamford has long welcomed wealthy commuters who make their livings in the Big Apple. Residents can also earn a good salary closer to home. The metro area, which includes Norwalk and Bridgeport, is the base for many hedge funds as well as prominent public companies such as Priceline parent Booking Holdings and Xerox. And on top of the Stamford area being home to the highest concentration of millionaires in the nation, the state of Connecticut has the third-highest concentration of millionaire households after Maryland and New Jersey. You'll find the toniest of the tony population in Greenwich, a small town where the median home value is $936,500. So forget millionaires. If you're looking for billionaires, this is the place to go.