Salaries Required To Be Considered Rich In 40 U.S. Cities

By Wesley
Salaries Required To Be Considered Rich In 40 U.S. Cities

The amount of money required to be considered wealthy can vary quite a bit relative to where you live, even within the United States.

According to the US Census Bureau, the national median household income in America was $59,039 in 2016, and to be considered “upper income” you have to make twice the median income for the area in which you live.

The median is a better measure of the most common income level in America than the average, which can be skewed by the extreme outliers in the highest echelons of American wealth (while the United States makes up 4 percent of the world’s population, it is home to 25 percent of the world’s billionaires, and most of the very wealthiest billionaires are Americans).

So here’s how much money in annual income it takes for you to be considered wealthy in these 40 major U.S. cities and metropolitan areas:

40. Memphis, Tennessee: more than $99,618

• How much money it takes to be in the top 1% in Tennessee: $308,834

• Median income in Memphis: $49,809

• Metro-area population: 1.3 million

On the far Western side of the state of Tennessee, Memphis is a major hub of commerce, education, media, art, and entertainment. The majority African American city has a rich musical history with many historic blues venues on Beale Street where the unique Memphis blues sound was created in the early 20th century. The city’s music continues to develop with a blend of African American and white influences in the blues, country, rock n’ roll, soul, and hip-hop genres. Memphis barbecue is world famous, and the city hosts a World Championship Barbecue Cooking Contest, which attracts over 100,000 tourists to the city every year. Persistent socioeconomic challenges in Memphis have resulted in high rates of poverty and crime in recent decades.

Tampa Bay River Florida City Tropical Skyline

39. Tampa, Florida: more than $102,230

• How much money it takes to be in the top 1% in Florida: $385,410

• Median income in Tampa: $51,115

• Metro-area population: 3 million

Tampa is a very diverse city, with a Seminole Indian tribe, immigrants from Cuba, Spain, and Sicily, many native Floridians, a number of transplants from the American Midwest, and other areas of the United States, and a recent wave of new immigrants from the Caribbean and Central America. Tampa’s population always grows in the winter months with the seasonal arrival of “snowbird,” retired people from the northern U.S. and Canada who stay in winter homes to be more comfortable in the milder weather. Tampa’s economy is robust and growing, and the Tampa Bay Area serves as a major international port. Much of Tampa’s economy consists of phosphate mining, shipping, citrus, shrimping, and tourism. In addition to others, Raymond James, Home Shopping Network, Outback Steakhouse, and a major division of Citigroup are all headquartered in Tampa.

38. Miami, Florida: more than $102,724

• How much money it takes to be in the top 1% in Florida: $385,410

• Median income in Miami: $51,362

• Metro-area population: 6.1 million

Miami is considered to be an “Alpha” level global city according to the World Cities Study Group’s classification system. A global leader in finance, business, culture, media, entertainment, the arts, and international trade, Miami is ranked number seven in the United States and number 33 among all cities globally in terms of business, human capital value, information flows, cultural richness, and political power. It also held the distinction in 2008 of being named America’s Cleanest City by Forbes magazine for its air quality, greenery, water, streets, and recycling. The “Capital of Latin America,” Miami was ranked the richest city in America by purchasing power in a 2009 study by UBS group.

37. Orlando, Florida: more than $104,770

• How much money it takes to be in the top 1% in Florida: $385,410

• Median income in Orlando: $52,385

• Metro-area population: 2.4 million

Orlando is one of the world’s most sought after tourist destinations, and its iconic and world-famous attractions form the basis of its massive tourism industry. Its two most successful tourist attractions are: 1) Disney World, founded by the Walt Disney Company in 1971 about 20 miles southwest of Downtown Orlando, and: 2) Universal Studios. Other than Walt Disney World, most of Orlando’s biggest attractions are all located on International Drive. Orlando is also a thriving destination for many national and international conferences and conventions, and the Orange County Convention Center is the second-largest convention venue in the United States.

36. Las Vegas, Nevada: more than $108,768

• How much money it takes to be in the top 1% in Nevada: $311,977

• Median income in Las Vegas: $54,384

• Metro-area population: 2.2 million

Las Vegas is the Entertainment Capitol of The World, and world famous for its mega casino-hotels and other tourist attractions. It is one of the top three tourist destinations in the United States for pleasure seekers as well as business conventions, making the tourist industry in Las Vegas a world leader in hospitality services, with more triple A rated, Five Diamond hotels than any other city in the world. Not only is Las Vegas a top destination for American tourists, but it is a highly ranked global destination. The city’s tourism advertising plays up its reputation as “Sin City” for its popularity with gamblers and other seekers of adult entertainment, saying: “What happens in Vegas…” and you know the rest.

35. Oklahoma City, Oklahoma: more than $110,130

• How much money it takes to be in the top 1% in Oklahoma: $324,935

• Median income in Oklahoma City: $55,065

• Metro-area population: 1.4 million

Oklahoma City has a robust and diversified economy. In addition to its status as a regional power hub for politics and energy prospecting, the city is home to an information technology sector, a thriving health services industry, and an administrative hub for corporate business. Oklahoma City is home to the headquarters of two Fortune 500 Companies: Chesapeake Energy and Devon Energy. But that’s not all. Oklahoma City plays host to corporate presences with over a 1,000 employees that include: Dell, The Hertz Corporation, United Parcel Service, Farmers Insurance Group, Great Plains Coca-Cola Bottling Company, Cox Communications, The Boeing Company, Deaconess Hospital, Johnson Controls, MidFirst Bank, American Fidelity Assurance, Rose State College, and Continental Resources.

34. Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania: more than $112,126

• How much money it takes to be in the top 1% in Pennsylvania: $360,343

• Median income in Pittsburgh: $56,063

• Metro-area population: 2.3 million

Famous for steel production, Pittsburgh is also a world leader in the production of aluminum, glass, shipbuilding, petroleum, foods, sports, transportation, computing, autos, and electronics. At some points in the 20th century, Pittsburgh ranked number three in the United States for corporate headquarters payrolls, behind only New York and Chicago, and had the most U.S. stockholders per capita. As manufacturing declined in the United States throughout the 1980s, many blue collar workers in the area were laid off, as well as white-collar executives and managers when corporate headquarters began to move out of the city. Today many tech era giants have offices in Pittsburgh employing thousands of residents and generating $20 billion in payrolls, including Google, Apple Inc., Bosch, Facebook, Uber, Nokia, Microsoft, and IBM.

33. San Antonio, Texas: more than $112,210

• How much money it takes to be in the top 1% in Texas: $424,507

• Median income in San Antonio: $56,105

• Metro-area population: 2.4 million

San Antonio is hosts the corporate headquarters of six Fortune 500 companies: Valero Energy, Andeavor, USAA, iHeartMedia, NuStar Energy, and CST Brands, Inc. H-E-B, the 13th-largest private company in the United States is also based in San Antonio. More companies with corporate headquarters in San Antonio include: Bill Miller Bar-B-Q Enterprises, Carenet Healthcare Services, Security Service Federal Credit Union, Visionworks of America, Frost Bank, Harte-Hanks, Kinetic Concepts, SWBC, NewTek, Rackspace, Taco Cabana, Broadway Bank, Zachry Holdings/Zachry Construction Company, Randolph-Brooks Federal Credit Union, SWBC, SAS, and Whataburger. The city also plays host to offices for Hulu, OCI, Kaco New Energy, Silver Spring Networks, Toyota, Argo Group, EOG Resources, Microsoft, Cogeco Peer1, and Boeing.

32. Detroit, Michigan: more than $112,284

• How much money it takes to be in the top 1% in Michigan: $306,740

• Median income in Detroit: $56,142

• Metro-area population: 4.3 million

Detroit was once the powerhouse city of the American economy during the golden age of American automobile manufacture. Although it’s not what it once was during its heyday, Motor City still has a strong automotive sector and a diversified base of industry in the finance, technology, and health care sectors. Major corporations with a headquarters or significant presence in Detroit include: General Motors, Ford Motor Company (in nearby Dearborn, Michigan), Quicken Loans, Ally Financial, Compuware, Shinola, American Axle, Little Caesars, DTE Energy, Lowe Campbell Ewald, Blue Cross Blue Shield of Michigan, and Rossetti Architects. The many downtown offices of Motor City also include the corporate presences of Comerica, Chrysler, Fifth Third Bank, HP Enterprise, Deloitte, PricewaterhouseCoopers, KPMG, and Ernst & Young.

Cityscape Skyline City Urban Indiana Indianapolis

31. Indianapolis, Indiana: more than $113,500

• How much money it takes to be in the top 1% in Indiana: $296,640

• Median income in Indianapolis: $56,750

• Metro-area population: 2.0 million

The state capitol of Indiana in the humble American midwest, Indianapolis forms the hub for the 25th largest economic region in the United States, with a strong basis in the sectors of finance, insurance, manufacturing, professional and administrative services, business to business services, education, health care, government, and wholesale distribution. Indianapolis also has a thriving amateur sports community and is a global leader in auto racing. The city is probably most famous worldwide for hosting the largest single-day annual sporting event in the world: The Indy 500. Additionally Indianapolis hosts two professional sports teams: the NBA’s Indiana Pacers and the NFL’s Indianapolis Colts, plus the biggest children’s museum in the world, one of the largest zoos funded with entirely private donations and revenue, and many cultural heritage buildings.

30. Jacksonville, Florida: more than $113,680

• How much money it takes to be in the top 1% in Florida: $385,410

• Median income in Jacksonville: $56,840

• Metro-area population: 1.5 million

Jacksonville is well known for its massive deepwater port, which has made it one of the leading American port cities in the United States for the importation of automobiles and other goods manufactured overseas, and a major transportation and distribution center in the state. But much of Jacksonville’s economic strength comes from its highly diversified economy. In addition to imports and distribution, Jacksonville is home to many financial services business, biomedical technology concerns, consumer goods merchants, information services businesses, manufacturing corporations, and insurance companies, as well as other industries. The city hosts the headquarters of four Fortune 500 companies: CSX Corporation, Fidelity National Financial, Fidelity National Information Services and Southeastern Grocers.

Wisconsin Buildings Urban City Skyline Milwaukee

29. Milwaukee, Wisconsin: more than $116,058

• How much money it takes to be in the top 1% in Wisconsin: $312,375

• Median income in Milwaukee: $58,029

• Metro-area population: 1.6 million

Believe it or not, the Milwaukee metropolitan area rankes number five in the United States in terms of the number of Fortune 500 corporate headquarters there as a share of a metro’s total population. Known for its dairy and chees production, Milwaukee is also home to the global headquarters of six Fortune 500 companies: Johnson Controls, Northwestern Mutual, Manpower, Rockwell Automation, Harley-Davidson and Joy Global. Other corporations with a headquarters in Milwaukee include: Briggs & Stratton, Marshall & Ilsley (now a division of BMO Harris Bank), Hal Leonard, Wisconsin Energy, the American Society for Quality, A. O. Smith, Rexnord, Master Lock, American Signal Corporation, GE Healthcare Diagnostic Imaging, and Clinical Systems and MGIC Investments. The city is also home to a quite a few financial service companies that specialize in payment processing infrastructure and mutual fund management.

28. Phoenix, Arizona: more than $116,150

• How much money it takes to be in the top 1% in Arizona: $309,102

• Median income in Phoenix: $58,075

• Metro-area population: 4.7 million

In the early 2000s Phoenix was one of the most booming real estate markets in the country. Although the boom ended after the global housing and loan crisis on Wall Street, Phoenix is still in good shape and currently hosts the headquarters of four Fortune 500 companies: electronics concern Avnet, mining company Freeport-McMoRan, pet retailer PetSmart, and waste management company Republic Services. The Aerospace division of Honeywell is also headquartered in Phoenix, and the Arizona valley city also hosts many of Honeywell’s avionics and mechanical facilities. One of Intel’s largest campuses is in Phoenix, the second largest Intel site in America with 12,000 employees. Also headquartered in Phoenix: U-HAUL International, Best Western, and Apollo Group– which runs the University of Phoenix.

27. Riverside, California: more than $116,472

• How much money it takes to be in the top 1% in California: $453,772

• Median income in Riverside: $58,236

• Metro-area population: 4.5 million

Riverside boasts a prosperous, diversified local economy with a number of manufacturing and commercial sectors. Its manufacturing industry is most comprised of light industry components, and produces a number of goods, including aircraft parts, automotive parts, gas cylinders, electronics, food products, and medical devices. There are a few industrial parks in Riverside that make up the manufacturing sector, including: Hunter Industrial Park, Sycamore Canyon Industrial Park, and Airport Industrial Areas. Many of these locations are serviced by rail, with the Union Pacific and Burlington Northern Santa Fe main lines running through the city. Riverside is also home to several legal, accounting, brokerage, architectural, engineering, technology, and banking firms. While there is still a citrus sector in Riverside it has recently faced a downturn in business.

26. St. Louis, Missouri: more than $119,560

• How much money it takes to be in the top 1% in Missouri: $305,471

• Median income in St. Louis: $59,780

• Metro-area population: 2.8 million

The Greater St. Louis Metropolitan Area is home to ten Fortune 500 companies, ranking it number 7 in the United States for a city’s share of Fortune 500 companies. Among those headquartered in St. Louis is: Express Scripts, Emerson Electric, Monsanto, Reinsurance Group of America, Centene, Graybar Electric, and Edward Jones Investments. The Defense, Space, and Security Division of Boeing is also headquartered in St. Louis, and the F/A-18 Super Hornet (of Blue Angels fame) is assembled in the St. Louis area. Other major companies with headquarters in St. Louis include: Arch Coal, Wells Fargo Advisors (formerly A.G. Edwards), Energizer Holdings, Patriot Coal, Post Foods, United Van Lines, and Mayflower Transit, Post Holdings, Olin, and Enterprise Holdings (a parent company of several car rental companies).

25. Charlotte, North Carolina: more than $119,958

• How much money it takes to be in the top 1% in North Carolina: $327,549

• Median income in Charlotte: $59,979

• Metro-area population: 2.5 million

Charlotte is an important U.S. financial district. Believe it or not, Charlotte, North Carolina has the third most banking assets of any American city after New York City and San Francisco. That’s because Bank of America, which has the second most total financial assets of any financial company in the United States, is headquartered in North Carolina. And until Wachovia was acquired by Wells Fargo in 2008 at the height of the U.S. housing and loans crisis, Wachovia was headquartered there as well. Since that time Charlotte has become a regional hub for all Wells Fargo’s East Coast operations. (Wells is based out of San Francisco, California.) The Charlotte Metropolitan Area is home to six Fortune 500 companies: Bank of America, Lowe’s, Duke Energy, Nucor, Sonic Automotive, and Sealed Air Corporation. The east coast headquarters for Microsoft is also based in Charlotte.

24. Nashville, Tennessee: more than $120,060

• How much money it takes to be in the top 1% in Tennessee: $308,834

• Median income in Nashville: $60,030

• Metro-area population: 1.9 million

Nashville is the Country Music Capitol of the World, and dominates the production and distribution of country music. Only New York City has produced more music than Nashville over the last half century. It is also home to offices for the Big Four record labels and a number of independent labels, mostly along Music Row in downtown Nashville. Gibson guitars has been headquartered in Nashville since the 1980s. The total economic output of Nashville’s music sector is estimated to be in excess of $6 billion annually, and maintains a workforce of 19,000 employees. With one of the fastest growing economies in the United States, and the hottest real estate market in the world (with 100 people moving to Nashville every day from other U.S. cities and around the world), Nashville has been booming in recent years.

23. Cincinnati, Ohio: more than $120,520

• How much money it takes to be in the top 1% in Ohio: $317,124

• Median income in Cincinnati: $60,260

• Metro-area population: 2.2 million

Located in the Southwest corner of the state of Ohio, Metropolitan Cincinnati boasts the twenty-eighth largest economy in America, and the seventh largest economy in the American Midwest, putting it in the company of Chicago, Minneapolis, Detroit, St. Louis, Indianapolis, and Cleveland. The city is experiencing high rates of economic expansion. It is currently the number one fastest growing city in the Midwest in terms of capitalization. In addition to the massive inflows of money, Cincinnati has a cost of living 8 percent lower than the national average, so employees there see their dollars stretching far, and the unemployment is also lower than the national average. There are several Fortune 500 corporations with headquarters in Cincinnati, including: Procter & Gamble, The Kroger Company, and Macy’s. The Global Operations Center for General Electric is also based in Cincinnati.

City Ohio Urban Columbus Skyscrapers Buildings

22. Columbus, Ohio: more than $120,588

• How much money it takes to be in the top 1% in Ohio: $317,124

• Median income in Columbus: $60,294

• Metro-area population: 2.0 million

Columbus is the capitol city of Ohio, and enjoys a diverse economy with solid fundamentals, with businesses in the education, insurance, banking, fashion, defense, aviation, food, logistics, steel, energy, medical research, health care, hospitality, retail, and technology sectors. The city has four Fortune 500 companies headquartered in its greater metro area: Nationwide Mutual Insurance Company, American Electric Power, L Brands, and Big Lots. Other sectors that power the Columbus economy include a number of universities (such as Ohio State University), hospitals, technology research and development (such as the Battelle Memorial Institute), big data companies (like OCLC and Chemical Abstracts), steel processing plants, and pressure cylinder manufacturing. There are many foreign companies with major divisions located in the city, including: Germany’s Siemens and Roxane Laboratories, Finland’s Vaisala, and Switzerland’s ABB Group.

21. Kansas City, Missouri: more than $122,770

• How much money it takes to be in the top 1% in Missouri: $351,497

• Median income in Kansas City: $61,385

• Metro-area population: 2.1 million

Although Kansas City is in the middle of the country on the border between Missouri and Kansas, the number one employer in the Kansas City metropolitan area is the United States federal government, with a whopping 146 federal agencies maintaining offices in the area. That’s because Kansas City is one of ten regional administrative office cities for the United States government. The Internal Revenue Service (IRS) runs a major 1,400,000 square foot administrative office in Kansas City employing nearly 2,700 workers full time there with a seasonal swell to 4,000 workers during tax season every spring, and this office is one of only two locations that process physical tax returns by U.S. tax payers. Honeywell employs nearly 2,700 workers at their Kansas City Plant, where the company produces and assembles 85% of the components of the United States Department of Defense’s nuclear arsenal.

20. Houston, Texas: more than $123,416

• How much money it takes to be in the top 1% in Texas: $424,507

• Median income in Houston: $61,708

• Metro-area population: 6.8 million

The U.S. Bureau of Statistics reported in 2013 that Houston was the leading job creating city in the United States, after finding that the city was the first major metro in America to create new jobs to replace all the ones lots during the Great Recession that started in 2007, but the city went even further than that: It added over two jobs for every one that had been lost during the recession. Houston is a global leader in energy production because of the vast reserves of oil and natural gas in Texas, extracted and processed by prominent energy companies based in Houston, but the city is also a leader in biomedical research and development, as well as for the aeronautics industry. Increasingly, alternative energy companies working in wind and solar are making up a greater share of Houston’s energy industry.

19. Virginia Beach, Virginia: more than $123,610

• How much money it takes to be in the top 1% in Virginia: $406,412

• Median income in Virginia Beach: $61,805

• Metro-area population: 1.7 million

Virginia Beach is a renowned tourist destination, and the beaches, hotels, and associated hospitality businesses power a major portion of the Virginia Beach economy. Nearly 15,000 jobs in the city cater to the annual influx of over 2 million vistors, generating $857 million and creating $73 million in local city revenues. A number of hotels line the beachfront and occupy many spaces throughout the city. Restaurant and entertainment also make a business out of serving tourists on holiday. Virginia Beach christened a brand new convention center in 2005 to host large conferences and events. Because of its coastal location, Virginia Beach is also an international center of commerce, with nearly 200 foreign companies with locations or North American headquarters in Virginia Beach, companies such as: STIHL, Busch, IMS Gear, and Sanjo Corte Fino.

18. Providence, Rhode Island: more than $123,896

• How much money it takes to be in the top 1% in Rhode Island: $336,625

• Median income in Providence: $61,948

• Metro-area population: 1.6 million

Providence is a major American leader for the design and manufacture of jewelry, silverware, metals, machinery, and textiles. The service industry is also a large share of the Rhode Island city’s bustling economy, specifically in the areas of education, health care, and finance. Providence is also the location for a United States Postal Service “sectional center facility” (or SCF), which is a regional hub for postal mail. As the capitol of the state of Rhode Island, Providence is the seat of the state government and the state’s departments and offices make up a sizeable portion of the city’s economy. Over a third of the Providence economy is made up of trade, transportation, utilities, education, and health care services. Providence has two Fortune 500 corporations: Textron and United Natural Foods.

Downtown Atlanta skyline at dusk

17. Atlanta, Georgia: more than $125,226

• How much money it takes to be in the top 1% in Georgia: $345,876

• Median income in Atlanta: $62,613

• Metro-area population: 5.8 million

It’s the New York of the South. Boasting an annual GDP in excess of $300 billion, the Greater Atlanta metropolitan area economy is the eight strongest in the country and the 17th largest in the entire world, in addition to claiming the lion’s share of corporate headquarters for Fortune 500 companies, with the third largest share in America. Global headquarters for companies like The Coca-Cola Company, The Home Depot, Delta Air Lines, AT&T Mobility, Chick-fil-A, and UPS generate billions of dollars of revenue for Atlanta’s powerhouse economy. Atlanta has a highly educated workforce with 45 percent of adults over the age of 25 holding a four year college degree (the national average is 28 percent). No overview of Atlanta’s economy would do without mention of CNN and the Turner Broadcasting System, which are headquartered in the city.

Dallas city skyline, Dallas, Texas, the Dallas part of the Dallas/FortWorth Metroplex

16. Dallas, Texas: more than $127,624

• How much money it takes to be in the top 1% in Texas: $424,507

• Median income in Dallas: $63,812

• Metro-area population: 7.2 million

Dallas is home to seventeen billionaires and a number of Fortune 500 companies. In 2008 AT&T (the largest telecom company in the world and ninth largest company in America by revenue) relocated their corporate headquarters to Downtown Dallas. Other Fortune 500s in Dallas include: Energy Transfer Equity, Tenet Healthcare, Southwest Airlines, Texas Instruments, Jacobs Engineering, HollyFrontier, Dean Foods, and Builders FirstSource. Irving, a city within Dallas County and the greater Dallas metro area has six Fortune 500 companies headquartered there: ExxonMobil (the world’s leading oil company and America’s fourth largest corporation by revenue), Fluor, Kimberly-Clark, Celanese, Michaels Companies, and Vistra Energy. Plano has 4 Fortune 500 companies: J.C. Penney, Alliance Data Systems, Yum China Holdings, and Dr. Pepper Snapple. Ft. Worth has two Fortune 500 companies: American Airlines and D.R. Horton.

15. Sacramento, California: more than $128,104

• How much money it takes to be in the top 1% in California: $453,772

• Median income in Sacramento: $64,052

• Metro-area population: 2.3 million

The entire greater Sacramento metropolitan area is the fifth largest by population in the state of California, and the 27th largest in the United States. Notable corporations with a base of operations in California’s capitol city of Sacramento include: Sutter Health, Blue Diamond Growers, Aerojet, Teichert, and The McClatchy Company. Sacramento’s economy has faced problems with the Port of Sacramento in bankruptcy after years of operating losses due in part to stiff competition from the Port of Stockton on the San Joaquin River, which enjoys the advantages of a bigger port and deeper channel in its river.

14. Los Angeles, California: more than $131,900

• How much money it takes to be in the top 1% in California: $453,772

• Median income in Los Angeles: $65,950

• Metro-area population: 13.3 million

Los Angeles is an iconic global city with a vast local economy driven by media and entertainment (including Hollywood motion pictures, television production, video games, a music recording industry, and production companies), international trade, aerospace, technology, petroleum, fashion, apparel, and international tourism. Other major industries in the City of Angels include finance, telecom, legal, health care, and transportation. Of the six major film studios in the United States, two are located within the city: Paramount Pictures and 20th Century Fox. Believe it or not, Los Angeles is also the number one manufacturing hub in the Western United States. Its ports make it the fifth busiest port city in the world and an integral center for Pacific Rim trade.

City Urban Philadelphia Cityscape Skyline

13. Philadelphia, Pennsylvania: more than $131,992

• How much money it takes to be in the top 1% in Pennsylvania: $360,343

• Median income in Philadelphia: $65,996

• Metro-area population: 6.1 million

Philadelphia is the capitol city of the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania and the anchor of economic activity in the state. The City of Brotherly Love has five Fortune 1000 corporations within its city limits and an annual gross domestic product in excess of $400 billion, making it the eight largest metro economy in America. Philadelphia has many productive sectors in its economy, including: financial services, health care, biotechnology, information technology, manufacturing, oil refinement, food processing, and tourism. The number one sector in Philadelphia by revenue and capitalization is its financial industry, but the city also boasts some of the largest local health, education, and research sectors in the United States. The Port of Philadelphia is one of the busiest ports by tonnage in the United States, and is expanding its facilities to accommodate even more shipping.

Illinois City Cityscape Urban Skyline Chicago

12. Chicago, Illinois: more than $132,040

• How much money it takes to be in the top 1% in Illinois: $416,319

• Median income in Chicago: $66,020

• Metro-area population: 9.5 million

In the United States, the city of Chicago ranks number three among metro areas for gross domestic product, with an annual GDP in excess of $670 billion. Its economy is highly robust and extremely diversified. In fact Chicago has been rated the “most balanced economy” in the United States due to its unusually high level of economy diversification. The city has also been named the fourth “most important business center” in the world according to the MasterCard Worldwide Centers of Commerce Index. Chicago also boasts a high number of new or recently expanded corporate facilities. The metro area has the third-largest science and engineering work force of any metro area in America. The city of Chicago is also home to 12 Fortune 500 companies and 17 Financial Times 500 companies. The city hosts two Dow 30 companies: aerospace titan Boeing (which moved its headquarters from Seattle to the Chicago in 2001) and Kraft Heinz.

11. Portland, Oregon: more than $137,352

• How much money it takes to be in the top 1% in Oregon: $312,839

• Median income in Portland: $68,676

• Metro-area population: 2.4 million

Portland is well-positioned geographically and has several other advantages do to its economic profile that make it a great place to do business for many industries. It has relatively low regional industrial energy costs, readily available natural resources, north-south and east-west Interstates, international air terminals, large ocean shipping facilities, and a hub for both West Coast intercontinental railroads. Portland’s marine shipping terminals process over 13 million tons of cargo annually, and has one of the largest commercial dry docks in the country, allowing it to be the third largest port by annual export tonnage on the American West Coast. Portland is the leading wheat shipper in the United States, and second largest wheat port in the world. The city has two Fortune 500 companies that call it home: Precision Castparts and Nike.

10. San Diego, California: more than $141,648

• How much money it takes to be in the top 1% in California: $453,772

• Median income in San Diego: $70,824

• Metro-area population: 3.3 million

San Diego’s very diverse economy is comprised of U.S. national defense, tourism, international trade, research and development, and manufacturing. San Diego has been named by Forbes Magazine as the best city in America to start a small business or startup venture. The southern California city has made tremendous capital out of its deepwater port, which allows the city to host the only significant submarine and shipbuilding yards on the Pacific Coast. Multiple prominent private national defense contractors for the United States Department of Defense were founded and remain headquartered in the city. The commercial aspects of San Diego’s port and its geographic location on the Mexican border make it an important hub for international commerce and the city has federal authorization to act as a Foreign Trade Zone. Because of the city’s mild and pleasant climate, beaches, and attractions, tourism makes up a major part of San Diego’s economy.

The summer sun sets on Austin, TX on a humid August evening.

9. Austin, Texas: more than $142,000

• How much money it takes to be in the top 1% in Texas: $424,507

• Median income in Austin: $71,000

• Metro-area population: 2.1 million

Austin is one of the leading cities in high tech innovation. Each year the engineering and computer science schools of the University of Texas at Austin mint thousands of new graduates, feeding a steady stream of new employees to power the Texas city’s vast technology and defense contractor industries. High tech companies that operate in Austin include: 3M, Apple, Amazon, AMD, Apartment Ratings, Applied Materials, ARM Holdings, Bigcommerce, BioWare, Blizzard Entertainment, Buffalo Technology, Cirrus Logic, Cisco Systems, Dropbox, eBay, PayPal, Electronic Arts, Flextronics, Facebook, Google, Hewlett-Packard, Hoover’s, HomeAway, Hostgator, Intel Corporation, National Instruments, Nvidia, Oracle, Polycom, Qualcomm, Inc., Rackspace, RetailMeNot, Rooster Teeth, Samsung Group, Silicon Laboratories, Spansion, United Devices, Xerox, and Facebook. Like other major Texas metros, Austin also boasts a thriving biotech industry and many pharmaceutical companies– 85 in all.

8. New York City: more than $143,794

• How much money it takes to be in the top 1% in New York: $517,557

• Median income in New York City: $71,897

• Metro-area population: 20.2 million

The Big Apple. New York City is the largest in the United States by population and has the most powerful and influential economy in the world, leading America and the globe in finance, culture, and media. A global powerhouse of commerce, New York City is home to the world’s largest financial sector on Wall Street, as well as major retailing, global trade, transportation, tourism, real estate, media, marketing, law firms, accounting, insurance, theater, fashion, and the arts. As technology transforms commerce in the 21st century, New York City’s massive economy is being serviced by a rapidly expanding tech industry referred to as Silicon Alley. New York is also a major port city, which was originally a major part of its success as it historically developed into a world class Alpha city.

7. Denver, Colorado: more than $143,852

• How much money it takes to be in the top 1% in Colorado: $410,716

• Median income in Denver: $71,926

• Metro-area population: 2.9 million

The Greater Denver metropolitan statistical area boasts an annual gross domestic product in excess of $157 billion, making it the 18th largest metro economy in America. The Mile High City’s local economy draws much of its strength from its geographic location, serving as a hub for some of America’s major transportation systems, and a point of storage and distribution to other cities in the region. That is due in part also to the fact that Denver is the largest city in a 500 mile radius, so it is an ideal city to service the Mountain and Southwest states in close proximity, extending to all Western states in general. Almost exactly in the middle between the large metros of the American Midwest, and the major Pacific Rim cities (such as Los Angeles and San Francisco), Denver makes for a perfect connecting hub.

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6. Minneapolis, Minnesota: more than $146,462

• How much money it takes to be in the top 1% in Minnesota: $411,022

• Median income in Minneapolis: $73,231

• Metro-area population: 3.6 million

The Greater Minneapolis–St. Paul metropolitan area (referred to as the Twin Cities) is ranked number 3 for economy influence in the American Midwest, after Chicago and Detroit. As the area was being settled, the credit needs of wheat farmers in the area catalyzed the growth of a robust banking sector, and Minneapolis remains an important financial center today. Other prominent sectors in the Twin Cities economy include trade and distribution, rail and long haul trucking, health services, and various industrial concerns that create metal and automobile products, chemical and agriculture goods, electronic components, computers, medical instrumentation and devices, plastics, and industrial machinery. There are five Fortune 500 companies that call Minneapolis home: Target Stores, U.S. Bancorp, Xcel Energy, Ameriprise Financial, and Thrivent Financial.

5. Seattle, Washington: more than $157,224

• How much money it takes to be in the top 1% in Washington: $387,854

• Median income in Seattle: $78,612

• Metro-area population: 3.8 million

World famous for its iconic “Space Needle,” Seattle is a city with continued strong ties to its economic past even as it looks forward to the economy of the future. With a diverse mix of classic industry and Internet / information technology companies, the greater metro area’s annual gross domestic product tops $230 billion annually, which puts it at number 11 out of all metropolitan economies in the United States for wealth creation. The city’s economy is largely comprised of major corporations, including five Fortune 500 companies: Amazon (which has made its founder Jeff Bezos the richest man in the world), Starbucks, Nordstrom, Expeditors International of Washington, and Weyerhaeuser.

4. Boston, Massachusetts: more than $164,760

• How much money it takes to be in the top 1% in Massachusetts: $539,055

• Median income in Boston: $82,380

• Metro-area population: 4.8 million

The capitol city of the Commonwealth of Massachusetts, and a second-tier global city ranked among the top 30 most powerful metros in the entire world, Boston boasts the sixth largest economy in the United States and the 12th largest for any metro area internationally, with an annual gross domestic product in excess of $360 billion annually. The cities dozens of prominent universities and colleges are highly sought after institutions of higher learning that attract a third of a million students from around the world every year, bringing nearly $5 billion USD with them to contribute to the local economy. Boston’s tech schools and companies make the city a global leader in science, technology, and engineering, including economic and social sciences as well as highly technical and applied sciences.

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3. Washington, DC: more than $191,686

• How much money it takes to be in the top 1% in Washington, DC: $544,719

• Median income in DC: $95,843

• Metro-area population: 6.1 million

Washington DC is the seat of the federal government of the United States of America, and resides within a special federal district under the jurisdiction of the U.S. Congress, so it does not belong to any U.S. state. The many functions of the federal government and the private contracting industry that services its many departments make up a recession proof local industry that carries on even during national and global economic downturns. Many defense and civilian contractors, law firms, non-profits, lobbyists, trade associations, and professional groups comprise this unique local economy and have their headquarters in Washington DC. Annually the gross domestic product of the greater Washington metropolitan area exceeds $430 billion, which makes it the sixth-largest metro by GDP in the United States.

2. San Francisco, California: more than $193,354

• How much money it takes to be in the top 1% in California: $453,772

• Median income in San Francisco: $96,677

• Metro-area population: 4.7 million

Currently an Alpha world city, San Francisco is a historic American city which came to prominence in the United States during the California gold rush of the late 1840s and early 1850s. At that time it established itself as an enduring financial powerhouse of the West Coast, with many calling Montgomery Street in its financial district “the Wall Street of the West.” Technology has been the greatest driver of economic growth in San Francisco in recent years, with high tech jobs making up only 1 percent of San Francisco’s job market in 1990, quadrupling to 4 percent over the next two decades by 2010, and rapidly doubling to 8 percent of the city’s economy by 2013. The San Francisco Bay Area is the global epicenter of Internet start-ups, dot coms, and social media giants.

1. San Jose, California: More than $220,080

• How much money it takes to be in the top 1% in California: $453,772

• Median income in San Jose: $110,040

• Metro-area population: 2 million

It takes a lot of money to be considered rich in San Jose by the rest of the country’s standards, and this extremely affluent American city has some of the highest costs of living in the state of California and the entire nation, driven primarily by the exorbitant real estate prices and rents in the area, which soar above the national average and cater to households with the largest average disposable income of any city in the United States of half a million residents or more. San Jose is home to the headquarters of: Adobe, Altera, Brocade Communications Systems, Cadence Design Systems, Cisco Systems, eBay, Lee’s Sandwiches, Lumileds, PayPal, Rosendin Electric, Sanmina-SCI, and Xilinx.