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. Environment

    How City Failures Affect Trust in Climate Planning

    Cities may struggle to gain support for climate action plans because they haven’t dealt with infrastructure issues that regularly afflict residents.

  2. a map comparing the sizes of several cities
    Maps

    The Commuting Principle That Shaped Urban History

    From ancient Rome to modern Atlanta, the shape of cities has been defined by the technologies that allow commuters to get to work in about 30 minutes.

  3. a photo of a woman on a SkyTrain car its way to the airport in Vancouver, British Columbia.
    Transportation

    In the City That Ride-Hailing Forgot, Change Is Coming

    Fears of congestion and a powerful taxi lobby have long kept ride-hailing apps out of transit-friendly Vancouver, British Columbia. That’s about to change.  

  4. Groups of people look at their phones while sitting in Washington Square Park in Manhattan.
    Life

    How Socially Integrated Is Your City? Ask Twitter.

    Using geotagged tweets, researchers found four types of social connectedness in big U.S. cities, exemplified by New York, San Francisco, Detroit, and Miami.

  5. Life

    American Migration Patterns Should Terrify the GOP

    Millennial movers have hastened the growth of left-leaning metros in southern red states such as Texas, Arizona, and Georgia. It could be the biggest political story of the 2020s.

×