Census: D.C. Suburbs Dominate Wealthiest List; Falls Church, Va.--Where 31% Work for Gov't--Claims Highest Median Income

January 2, 2014 - 4:07 PM
Washington, D.C.

Looking past the U.S. Capitol and the Washington Monument to the Northern Virginia suburbs. (AP Photo)

(CNSNews.com) - The small suburban independent city of Falls Church, Va.—which is treated as the equivalent of a county by the Census Bureau--had a higher median household income in 2012 than any county in the United States, according to data released in December by the Census Bureau.

In the Census Bureau’s ranking of the 30 counties with the highest median household incomes, the City of Falls Church rose from the No. 2 spot in 2011 to the No. 1 spot in 2012, overtaking Loudoun County, Va.

While treated as the equivalent of a county by the Census Bureau, the City of Falls Church had a population of only 13,229 in 2012, as estimated by the Census Bureau, and is merely 2.2 square miles in size.

It is also a place where, the Census Bureau estimates, 31.3 percent of the civilians who are 16 or older and who are employed work for the government.

The median household income in the City of Falls Church in 2012 was $121,250; in Loudoun County it was $118,934. Loudon had an estimated population of 336,898 in 2012.

Falls Church is less than nine miles by road from the District of Columbia line, according to Google Maps, while the Loudoun County line is about 25 miles by road from the D.C. line.

The only county among the Top 5 for median household income not located near Washington, D.C., was No. 3 Los Alamos County, N.M.—which is the smallest county in that state, and which is also home to the U.S. Energy Department’s Los Alamos National Laboratory. The median household income in Los Alamos County in 2012, according to the Census Bureau, was $112,115.

In Los Alamos County, the Census Bureau estimates, 28.2 percent of the civilians 16 or older who have a job work for government.

After No. 1 Falls Church City, No. 2 Loudoun County, Va., and No. 3 Los Alamos County, Howard County, Md., ranked No. 4 with a median household income of $108,234; and Fairfax County, Va., ranked No. 5 with a median household income of $106,690.

Other than Los Alamos, Falls Church City, and the three D.C. suburban counties of Loudoun, Howard and Fairfax, Hunterdon County, N.J. was the only county in the nation with a six-figure median household income in 2012. The median household income there was $103,301.

The other Washington, D.C.-area jurisdictions in the Top 30 included: No. 7 Arlington County, Va.; No. 9 Stafford County, Va.; No. 12 Montgomery County, Md.; No. 13 Prince William County, Va.; No. 18 Charles County, Md.; No. 23 Calvert County, Md.; No. 24 Anne Arundel County, Md.; No. 25 Fairfax City, Va.; and No. 29 St. Mary’s County, Md.

Santa Clara County, Calif., home to Silicon Valley, ranked No. 17 with a median household income of $91,195.

The Census Bureau’s American Community Survey has estimated various economic characteristics for the nation as a whole and for individual communities over the five-year period from 2008 through 2012.

According to these estimates, in the United States as a whole, 14.9 percent of those who were employed worked for government. In the City of Falls Church, 31.3 percent worked for government.

In the United States as a whole, 6.3 percent were self-employed in their own not-incorporated business. In Falls Church, only 4.4 percent were self-employed in their own not-incorporated business.

In the United States as a whole, 76.1 percent of the people who commuted to work did so alone in a car, truck or van. In Falls Church, only 61.8 percent did that. In the nation as a whole, only 5.0 percent commuted to work via public transportation; in Falls Church, 16.9 percent did.

Also, according to the Census Bureau, more people worked at home in the City of Falls Church (7.2 percent) than in the country as a whole (4.3 percent).

A spokesman for the Census Bureau said that communities such as Falls Church City, Va., and Fairfax City, Va., are included in the list of counties with the highest median household income because the Census Bureau treats independent cities as county equivalents.

Here, according to the Census Bureau, are the 30 counties that had the highest median household income in 2012:

....County..................................Median Household Income

1. Falls Church City, Va....................................... $121,250

2. Loudoun County, Va..........................................$118,934

3. Los Alamos County, N.M.................................$112,115

4. Howard County, Md........................................$108,234

5. Fairfax County, Va...........................................$106,690

6. Hunterdon County, N.J....................................$103,301

7. Arlington County, Va..........................................$99,255

8. Douglas County, Colo........................................$98,426

9. Stafford County, Va...........................................$95,927

10. Somerset County, N.J.....................................$95,574

11. Morris County, N.J..........................................$95,236

12. Montgomery County, Md.................................$94,365

13. Prince William County, Va.................................$93,011

14. Williamson County, Tenn..................................$93,003

15. Putnam County, N.Y........................................$92,950

16. Nassau County, N.Y.........................................$92,543

17. Santa Clara County, Calif.................................$91,195

18. Charles County, Md.........................................$89,203

19. Marin County, Calif..........................................$88,654

20. Hamilton County, Ind......................................$88,429

21. Delaware County, Ohio....................................$87,470

22. Forsyth County, Ga.........................................$87,380

23. Calvert County, Md.........................................$87,215

24. Anne Arundel County, Md................................$87,083

25. Fairfax City, Va................................................$86,963

26. Scott County, Minn.........................................$86,324

27. Fort Bend County, Texas.................................$86,037

28. Suffolk County, N.Y.........................................$85,717

29. St. Mary’s County, Md.....................................$85,478

30. Rockwall County, Texas...................................$85,164

The business and economic reporting of CNSNews.com is funded in part with a gift made in memory of Dr. Keith C. Wold.