People are very interested in both what other people earn and what other people have earned based on the contents of the Internet. However, that interest can take on a wide range of forms. For instance, some people are more curious about the wealth of areas rather than the wealth of individuals, so a common question would be what are the richest counties in the U.S. As it turns out, these counties are concentrated around Washington, D.C., New York City, and the San Francisco Bay Area, though some of these counties are located elsewhere.
What Are the 20 Richest Counties in the U.S. in 2022?
The U.S. Census Bureau’s American Community Survey is the best source of information for this kind of question. Unfortunately, the most recent data comes from 2019 because 2020 data wasn’t collected while 2021 data hasn’t been released. Still, the 2019 data should provide results that are very similar to what interested individuals are looking for. Please note that these numbers are median household incomes rather than mean household incomes. Presumably, this is because the median is a better indication of what someone who is in the middle for a particular population would be like. In contrast, the mean can give very misleading impressions where there are outliers in the population.
20. Bergen County, NJ – $108,827
Bergen County would be one of the counties concentrated around New York City. Specifically, it occupies the northeastern corner of the state of New Jersey, meaning that it is situated across the Hudson River from Manhattan. Chances are good that interested individuals can guess that Bergen County sees a lot of traffic to and from New York City, so much so that Mental Floss says that the George Washington Bridge connecting the two is the busiest motor vehicle bridge in the entire world.
19. Montgomery County, MD – $110,389
Meanwhile, Montgomery County is one of the counties that make up the Washington-Baltimore metropolitan area. It is named for Richard Montgomery, an Irishman who served in the British Army and then in the Continental Army. He tends to be most remembered because he was killed while leading the unsuccessful American invasion of Quebec in 1775, though it is interesting to note that his remains were treated well because he was liked by both the Americans and the British. In any case, Montgomery County has a second claim to fame in that it is one of the best-educated U.S. counties on top of being one of the richest U.S. counties.
18. Stafford County, VA – $110,446
Stafford County is another of the counties that make up the Washington-Baltimore metropolitan area. As a suburban area, it should come as no surprise to learn that it is also home to numerous people who work for one part of the U.S. government or another. Thanks to that, Stafford County is also one of the richest and best-educated counties in the country.
17. Marin County, CA – $110,843
Marin County is right over the Golden Gate Bridge from the City and County of San Francisco. Oftentimes, it is overshadowed by its more famous neighbor. Still, Marin County does stand out in its particular way. To name an example, it is home to numerous ecosystems that range from riversides to coast redwood forests. That makes Marin County a very biodiverse place, which is particularly important because so many of the local species can be found nowhere else.
16. Broomfield County, CO – $111,400
Broomfield County is one of the newest counties in the United States because it became Colorado’s 64th county in 2001. In short, it came into existence because of the city that is now the same as the county. Originally, Broomfield was situated in Boulder County’s southeastern corner. Over time, it swallowed more and more of its neighbors, thus causing it to spread into not one, not two, but four different counties. Unsurprisingly, that was a huge hassle, so much so that the city’s leadership started pushing for the city to be made a county. They got the necessary amendment passed in 1998. After which, it was just a matter of handling the transition during the transition period that had been granted.
15. Somerset County, NJ – $111,587
In stark contrast to Broomfield County, Somerset County is one of the oldest counties in the United States. As such, it was named for the English county of the same name. Once upon a time, Somerset County was involved in agriculture for the most part. More recently, much of the county has undergone a transformation into the suburbs, which explains much about its excellent scores for health, income, and education.
14. Forsyth County, GA – $112,108
Forsyth County’s past reputation isn’t the best. This is because its black residents were driven out in the 1910s. Subsequently, Forsyth County developed a reputation for being home to sundown towns, which refer to communities where non-whites were very much not welcome. In more recent times, the Atlanta Regional Commission says that the place’s population has seen a massive transformation, though it still has a lower percentage of black residents than the other counties that make up the Atlanta metropolitan area. Supposedly, Forsyth County has been seeing huge growth because of its affordable homes, its excellent amenities, and its proximity to high-paying jobs.
13. Calvert County, MD – $112,380
Calvert County is named for the Barons of Baltimore, who were around for six generations but managed to die out before the American Revolution. In significant part, this happened because the last one, Frederick Calvert, was lacking in every single way. He possessed enormous power in what was then the Province of Maryland but used it for nothing but funding his excesses. Eventually, Calvert died of fever in Naples, which happened because he had left England after a rape trial had left his reputation in rightful tatters. Fortunately, Calvert County has fared much better than its ill-fated namesakes, being one of the richest counties in the Washington-Baltimore metropolitan area and beyond.
12. Williamson County, TN – $115,507
Chances are good that interested individuals can guess that Williamson County can be found in the Nashville metropolitan area. Back in the 19th century, it was very focused on agriculture, which meant the cultivation of both hemp and tobacco plus the rearing of both horses and cattle. Even now, the southern part of the county is still focused on agriculture because it is still rural for the most part. That said, it isn’t immune to the suburbanization that has overtaken the rest of the county. Supposedly, one of the reasons for Williamson County’s high income is the number of musicians and other well-known individuals who have homes in the region.
11. Hunterdon County, NJ – $116,155
Hunterdon County sits in the Delaware Valley. As such, people have been known to mistake it for a part of the Philadelphia metropolitan area, which is often called the Delaware Valley. However, that isn’t the case. Instead, Hunterdon County is yet another part of the New York metropolitan area. Historically speaking, people were interested in the region because its rich soils produced bountiful harvests. Something that could mean the difference between life and death back when the food supply was less certain. Nowadays, it has other focuses, thus making it one more reminder of how much the United States has changed over time.
10. Morris County, NJ – $116,283
By this point, interested individuals should have no problem guessing which metropolitan area Morris County belongs to. It is very much what one would expect from a suburb. For proof, look no further than the fact that it isn’t home to a single city of significant size but is home to numerous commuter towns. Morris County residents have high incomes, which tend to be connected to good health, good education, and other desirable metrics.
9. Nassau County, NY – $118,453
Long Island can be divided up into four counties. Two of those counties are Kings and Queens, which double as boroughs of New York City. The other two would be Nassau County and Suffolk County. The last is the biggest of the lot because it takes up two-thirds of Long Island. In contrast, Nassau County shares the last third with Kings and Queens. Unsurprisingly, it tends to be considered one of the most central parts of the New York metropolitan area, particularly since it has incredible connectivity with New York City itself thanks to built-up infrastructure. The result is a county with a large, affluent population.
8. Arlington County, VA – $119,755
The principal city of the Washington metropolitan area is Washington, D.C. itself for obvious reasons. Other than that, there is Arlington, though it is amusing to note that Arlington doesn’t enjoy the status of a city in the Commonwealth of Virginia. The county is home to numerous sites of note. One excellent example would be Arlington National Cemetary, which was established on the estate of Robert E. Lee’s wife during the American Civil War. Another excellent example would be the Pentagon, which is a great reminder of the importance of the U.S. federal government to the local workforce.
7. Howard County, MD – $121,618
If Arlington County leans more towards the Washington metropolitan area, then Howard County leans more towards the Baltimore metropolitan area. Having said that, some of its more recent developments have caused it to realign towards Washington, D.C. somewhat because everything is constantly changing. On the whole, Howard County can boast of much the same things as many of the other names on this list, which is to say, affluence combined with a high quality of life.
6. Douglas County, CO – $122,867
Douglas County couldn’t be better positioned in the state of Colorado. It sits at the midway point between Denver and Colorado Springs, which would be the state’s largest and second largest cities. Simultaneously, Douglas County includes a part of Colorado’s third largest city Aurora. Under those circumstances, it is no wonder that people of means have flocked to the county.
5. San Francisco County, CA – $123,859
There isn’t much need to introduce the City and County of San Francisco. Simply put, it is one of the best-known places in the United States and beyond. Unfortunately, San Francisco is also a reminder that numbers mean very little without their proper context. Much of its wealth comes from the booming tech industry. Unfortunately, Business Insider makes it clear that this has also caused living costs to skyrocket in the city. An ongoing shock that some residents are much more capable of absorbing than others.
4. Fairfax County, CA – $128,374
Primarily, Fairfax County consists of suburbs. However, it has some pockets that are either urban or even rural. Fairfax County is very populous, so much so that it is the most populous part of Virginia, the Washington metropolitan area, and even the Washington-Baltimore metropolitan area. Besides this, it is notable for being home to multiple Fortune 500 companies plus the headquarters of multiple intelligence agencies.
3. Santa Clara County, CA – $133,076
Like San Francisco County, Santa Clara County has benefited much from Silicon Valley. After all, it is home to Silicon Valley itself, meaning that it is home to one of the most important economic hubs on the planet. Just that is enough to make Santa Clara County one of the richest counties in the United States beyond the shadow of a doubt.
2. San Mateo County, CA – $138,500
San Mateo County is one of the counties that make up the San Francisco Bay Area. Specifically, it takes up most of the peninsula that shields San Francisco Bay from the Pacific Ocean. Since San Francisco County is on the tip of the peninsula while Santa Clara County is on the base of the peninsula, that means that San Mateo County is sandwiched between them. Naturally, that means that it shares many of the same factors responsible for their affluence.
1. Loudoun County, VA – $151,800
Loudoun County has consistently been either the richest or one of the richest U.S. counties in recent years. With that said, the source of its affluence isn’t exactly mysterious. The Loudoun Times claims that it has benefited much from the U.S. federal government, the defense industry, and the tech industry, which makes it much the same as the rest of the Washington metropolitan area.