Shutterstock

San Francisco, Washington, D.C., and...Midland, Texas?

San Francisco, Washington, D.C., and...Midland, Texas? The Bureau of Economic Analysis released its personal income report for 2011, naming the richest metropolitan areas in the United States by personal income per capita, and the top two spots require some explanation.

one of the most unequal metropolitan areas in the country. Home to both Bridgeport, the struggling industrial city, and Greenwich, the home for hedge fund billionaires on the outskirts of New York City, the metropolitan area has the nation's highest share of income earned by the top fifth. This is case where averages tell you one thing -- there are some intensely rich people living in the Bridgeport MSA -- while the median would give you a typical household income figure closer to $30,000.

Meanwhile, it's boom times in the Permian Basin, the petroleum-rich swath of western Texas, where unemployment in Midland is 3 percent and one-quarter of the labor force works in mining. If Bridgeport's top spot is a statistical glitch, Midland's second-place finish is a geological one: The small city and its large are at the mercy of their natural resources and the globally-determined price of energy.

Further down the list, we have more cities like San Francisco, San Jose, Boston, and NYC, where wages are high because productive, innovative, and well-educated people work and live there.

MORE FROM THE ATLANTIC CITIES

Top image: San Francisco. Photo by Andy Z./Shutterstock

This post originally appeared on The Atlantic.

About the Author

Most Popular

  1. Equity

    The Side Pittsburgh Doesn't Want You to See

    Pittsburgh filmmaker Chris Ivey has spent over twelve years documenting the lives of the people displaced so that the city can achieve its “cool” status.  

  2. Maggie Gyllenhaal walks the mean streets of 1971 New York City in HBO's "The Deuce," created by David Simon.
    Life

    David Simon Does Not Miss the Sleaziness

    The creator of HBO’s “The Deuce” talks about the rebirth of Times Square, other cities he loves, and why bureaucrats can be TV heroes, too.

  3. Construction workers build affordable housing units.
    Equity

    Why Is 'Affordable' Housing So Expensive to Build?

    As costs keep rising, it’s becoming harder and harder for governments to subsidize projects like they’ve done in the past.

  4. Transportation

    If You Drive Less Than 10,000 Miles a Year, You Probably Shouldn't Own a Car

    Up to one-quarter of all U.S. drivers might be better off using ride-sharing services instead.

  5. Equity

    Barcelona Mayor Calls for a Third Way to Solve Catalonia Crisis

    Ada Colau, a self-proclaimed “municipalist,” criticized threats from both Spanish nationalists and Catalonian independence seekers at CityLab Paris. She says city leaders are distinctly positioned to find compromise.