The wealthiest place in America

Silicon Valley widens its lead over Washington, DC as the wealthiest place in America

In the never-ending battle for riches, influence and cultural domination, Silicon Valley now has the upper hand over Washington, DC.

The two metros have consistently been atop rankings of the most affluent urban areas in recent years, at least according to Census data on median household incomes. (Median income—the point at which half the area’s households are above and half are below—is considered a good measure of how a typical household is faring economically.)

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During the Great Recession which began in late 2007, Silicon Valley’s fortunes briefly faltered, sending its income numbers below those of the capital area. DC was a bright spot during the recession thanks to the stability of the Federal government and an influx of lobbying aimed at defanging the regulatory reaction to the financial crisis. But since the economy returned to growth in 2009, Silicon Valley surged. And the California region continues to set the pace.

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The Census Bureau published its annual update on the country’s demographic development Thursday. And the numbers showed that incomes rose 2.3% in Washington, DC and its affluent environs. The typical DC metro-area household pulled in $93,294 in 2015. Not bad.

But not as good as Silicon Valley. The sprawling area south of San Francisco known as the San Jose-Sunnyvale-Santa-Clara metro area is usually used as a proxy for Silicon Valley as a whole. Incomes in the valley jumped a whopping 5.7% to nearly $102,000 in 2015, making it the area with the highest median income in the country.

And that helps explain why both Hillary Clinton and Donald Trump have been finding time in their busy schedules for California fundraising swings recently.

 

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