Photo: Jonas Brothers’ Westlake Home
I recently passed through Austin, Texas on a road trip from California to North Carolina. Many of the suburbs surrounding the city were impressive in their beauty and wealth. None, however, can rival the town of Westlake, Texas in terms of the affluence of its inhabitants.
This Dallas suburb, with an estimated annual median household income of $250,000, is America’s richest city!
Forbes recently looked at the U.S. Census’ median household income estimates from 2005 to 2009 to find America’s most affluent neighborhoods. Median income, rather than average income, is seen as a better indicator of a city’s economic layout because the figure isn’t widely affected by very high or very low money earners.
Naturally you might wonder, who are these people that live in America’s wealthiest city? While Beverly Hills lures the Hollywood elite, Westlake seems more prone to attract celebrities of the sports and business worlds.
People like Texas Ranger Josh Hamilton, New York Yankee Mark Teixeira, and Anaheim Angel Vernon Wells all call Westlake home. (Needless to say, the neighborhood softball team probably fares pretty well!) PGA pros K.J. Choi and Todd Hamilton also live here. As for business figures, former Exxon CEO Lee Raymond and CEO of Warren Bufffet’s Burlington Northern Santa Fe Matthew Rose own homes in the neighborhood.
Among the many Westlake celebrities, the title of most famous resident likely belongs to music sensation, the Jonas Brothers. However, reports indicate they may have recently sold their mansion.
To get to Westlake, residents can fly in to the nearby Dallas-Fort Worth airport, or catch a private plane to the neighborhood’s own runway. Passengers need not worry about a rough landing since the runway is made of grass.
Second to Westlake on the wealthy neighborhood list is the Chicago suburb of Kenilworth, Illinois, with a median income of $247,000. About 2,500 people reside in this exclusive Midwestern suburb. Although Kenilworth is technically designated as a “village,” the average home sale price of $1 million doesn’t quite seem to fit the traditional image of a village.
Behind Kenilworth, two cities tie for third, each with a median household income of $243,000. One is Mission Hills, Kansas, home to Hall of Fame baseball player George Brett and renowned professional golfer Tom Watson. The other neighborhood is tiny Popponesset Island, Mass. One of its 39 residents is billionaire New England Patriots owner, Robert Kraft. Popponesset Island is what is called a Census-designated place (CDP). This is a concentration of people that doesn’t have its own municipal government, but physically resembles an incorporated place like a town, city, or village.
If you’re trying to live in one of America’s most affluent neighborhoods, you would be wise to avoid any communities with a lot of people. Forbes found that all of the wealthiest neighborhoods had populations less than 65,000, so move to an area with a lot of space. Make sure that if you do plan a move to a town like Westlake, you set aside a small fortune for your property taxes!