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Posted at 11:25 AM ET, 11/12/2010

7 of nation's richest counties in D.C. area

By Washington Post editors

Seven of the nation's 10 richest counties are in the Washington region, according to a report from Newsweek.

Two Virginia counties take the top spots -- Loudoun and Fairfax. And two Maryland counties close out the top 10 -- Calvert and Charles.

The ranking is based on data from the 2009 Census.

Check out the complete list:

1. Loudoun County -- Median income $114,204

2. Fairfax County -- Median income $102,499

3. Howard County -- Median income $101,940

4. Morris County, N.J. -- Median income $96,787

5. Arlington County -- Median income $96,218

6. Montgomery County -- Median income $94,420

7. Nassau County, N.Y. -- Median Income $92,776

8. Somerset County, N.J. -- Median income $89,871

9. Calvert County -- Median income $89,289

10. Charles County -- Median income $89,115

By Washington Post editors  | November 12, 2010; 11:25 AM ET
Categories:  DC, Maryland, Virginia  
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Comments

Yeh, also the most militarized regions of the country. Coincidence? Guns, guns, guns. That's NRA country fer sher.

Posted by: Tess6 | November 12, 2010 12:07 PM | Report abuse

Huh? Too many drugs today Tess?

Posted by: tiger_caddy_31 | November 12, 2010 12:13 PM | Report abuse

Huh? Too many drugs today Tess?

Posted by: tiger_caddy_31 | November 12, 2010 12:15 PM | Report abuse

Huh? Too many drugs today Tess?

Posted by: tiger_caddy_31 | November 12, 2010 12:18 PM | Report abuse

How does the number of guns in a county have anything to do with it's median income?
I don't own any guns but I don't care how many other people own legally.

Posted by: BigDaddy651 | November 12, 2010 12:45 PM | Report abuse

How does the number of guns in a county have anything to do with it's median income?
I don't own any guns but I don't care how many other people own legally.

Posted by: BigDaddy651 | November 12, 2010 12:48 PM | Report abuse

I've lived in the top three counties over the past 20 years (Howard 89-91, FFX 92-02, Loudoun 02-present). And I'm still not rich!

Posted by: Observer691 | November 12, 2010 12:49 PM | Report abuse

How does the number of guns owned in a county have anything to do with it's median income.
While I don't personally own a gun I don't care how many people own legally.

Posted by: BigDaddy651 | November 12, 2010 12:50 PM | Report abuse

How does the number of guns owned in a county have anything to do with it's median income.
While I don't personally own a gun I don't care how many people own legally.

Posted by: BigDaddy651 | November 12, 2010 12:52 PM | Report abuse

Howard County is officially not part of the Washington Metropolitan Statistical Area, but we'll include it for this one.

Posted by: MACCHAMPS04 | November 12, 2010 1:04 PM | Report abuse

Blaming Obama in 3, 2, 1...

Posted by: stefano3 | November 12, 2010 1:16 PM | Report abuse

Howard County is officially part of the Washington-Baltimore-Northern Virginia CSA.

Posted by: smirkman | November 12, 2010 1:53 PM | Report abuse

Sorry for the multiple comments...server issues today.

Posted by: BigDaddy651 | November 12, 2010 3:08 PM | Report abuse

Why does the Post (and Newswek for that matter) insist on incorrectly referring to these counties as "rich" instead of "high-income"? having a high income does not necessarily make those residents rich.

Posted by: AMF70 | November 12, 2010 3:24 PM | Report abuse

@AMF70: "Rich" is 4 letters. "High Income" is 10 letters and an extra space.

That is probably why.

Posted by: oldtimehockey | November 12, 2010 3:52 PM | Report abuse

Let's see........federal employees make on average $120,000/year, twice what an average person in the private sector makes. The number of federal employees making over $150K has increased about 10 fold in the last 5 years. The head of the National Gallery goes to work in a limousine (I know bec. many people I know work there).

Gee, no wonder the seven richest counties in the US are in the DC area, and the NERVE these federal employees have, complaining how their transportation cost will not be heavily subsidized anymore.

You want to reduce the deficit in some way.......reduce salary of federal employees by 10-20% (thats including you guys/gals, politicians), no more fat perks/benefits/, and hiring freeze (or even better fire some of these lazy federal employees).

The day after Veterans Day the traffic was pretty light.
Why? Alot of these federal employees are taking a four day weekend. So, pathetic!

Posted by: bluebellknoll | November 12, 2010 4:03 PM | Report abuse

Although I have been in Arlington or Fairfax for 20 years now, I grew up in Morris County, New Jersey. Its wealth is not as well-distributed as it is around here. A few pockets of the ultra-rich bring their numbers up.

Posted by: kevincostello | November 12, 2010 4:03 PM | Report abuse

Let's see........federal employees make on average $120,000/year, twice what an average person in the private sector makes. The number of federal employees making over $150K has increased about 10 fold in the last 5 years. The head of the National Gallery goes to work in a limousine (I know bec. many people I know work there).

Gee, no wonder the seven richest counties in the US are in the DC area, and the NERVE these federal employees have, complaining how their transportation cost will not be heavily subsidized anymore.

You want to reduce the deficit in some way.......reduce salary of federal employees by 10-20% (thats including you guys/gals, politicians), no more fat perks/benefits/, and hiring freeze (or even better fire some of these lazy federal employees).

The day after Veterans Day the traffic was pretty light.
Why? Alot of these federal employees are taking a four day weekend. So, pathetic!

Posted by: bluebellknoll | November 12, 2010 4:05 PM | Report abuse

I'm completely down with the "high income" vs "rich" thread. I make slightly more than my home county (Fairfax) median, and I am by no means "rich." Comfortable: probably. But rich, No. That would be the folks in Great Falls/Langley/etc..

Here's one to ponder: if the Government pays its workers more when they work in "high cost of living areas", why doesn't freakin' income tax get treated the same way?!

If someone is making $150K a year in Kansas, they're rolling in piles of cash. Someone making $150K in the DC area may be just getting by...

Posted by: AnonPoster | November 12, 2010 4:13 PM | Report abuse

Only one person pointed out the source of the region's wealth? As a former resident of this government labor camp, I can confidently state it wasn't created by the creative genius and hard work of its residents.

Posted by: slim21 | November 12, 2010 4:16 PM | Report abuse

Bluebellknoll, what on earth is pathetic about someone using one of their vacation days to turn Veteran's Day into a four day weekend? Why shouldn't any employee, federal or private, have the freedom to use their own earned vacation as they see fit?
You think the average salary is $120,000 for feds? Ridiculous. What's your source?
All I can say is that when my husband left the government for a private company a few years ago, the private company offered slightly higher pay and slightly better benefits, including the amount of vacation, and this has been true for others we know. Government pay is okay, but it is not nearly as generous as you seem to think, and it is not above private sector pay.

Posted by: novamama | November 12, 2010 4:22 PM | Report abuse

All the more reason to let all Bush tax cuts expire and then proprse a new middle class tax cut as well as Reduce everyone’s Social Security tax from current 6.2% to 4% by expanding income contribution to all Millionaires and Billionaires income. As more people have gotten wealthy, wealth has been shielded from the Social Security Tax as it has not kept up with inflation.

http://politics.usnews.com/opinion/articles/2010/09/20/cutting-benefits-isnt-the-way-to-save-social-security.html

“Cutting Benefits Isn't the Way to Save Social Security: The answer isn't raising the retirement age; it's making the rich pay a fair share. Most people don't know that someone making $300,000 or even $30 million a year pays no more in Social Security taxes than someone earning roughly $107,000. In 1983, 90 percent of wage and salary income was taxed, but today it's less than 84 percent. That's a huge windfall for the rich and a serious shortfall for Social Security.”

The Hijacked Commission

http://www.nytimes.com/2010/11/12/opinion/12krugman.html?nl=todaysheadlines&emc=a212

“(The deficit commission proposes) …a mixture of tax cuts and tax increases — tax cuts for the wealthy, tax increases for the middle class.”

Posted by: Airborne82 | November 12, 2010 4:22 PM | Report abuse

bluebellknoll...where do you get your information from? the average federal salary is nowhere near $120k and there are many occupations in which the average private-sector salary is higher than the federal version

"Overall, federal workers earned an average salary of $67,691 in 2008 for occupations that exist both in government and the private sector, according to Bureau of Labor Statistics data. The average pay for the same mix of jobs in the private sector was $60,046 in 2008, the most recent data available. "

not that it should be more in gov than private, but it's not that much different.

and...who really cares how someone gets to work? i knew a professor at the university of maryland who took a lincoln town car to and from work. so what? it's his money.

and...calling someone pathetic if they take a vacation day? what?

no real arguement so you need to make stuff up.

Posted by: nihil1318 | November 12, 2010 4:30 PM | Report abuse

Civil Service salaries are posted on the Office of Personnel Management's website in the General Schedule salary table. http://www.opm.gov/oca/10tables/html/gs.asp
2010 salaries (base pay) range from $17,803 per year to $129,517 per year
And, yes, I make more money in my non-Federal job than I did in my Civil Service job.

Posted by: formerfed3 | November 12, 2010 4:49 PM | Report abuse

For all those questioning...... fed employees making 2x....

http://www.politifact.com/truth-o-meter/statements/2010/nov/11/rand-paul/rand-paul-says-federal-workers-paid-120000-private/

Posted by: bluebellknoll | November 12, 2010 4:50 PM | Report abuse

For all those questioning...... fed employees making 2x (Salary + Benefits)....hard to believe, but it's true.

http://www.politifact.com/truth-o-meter/statements/2010/nov/11/rand-paul/rand-paul-says-federal-workers-paid-120000-private/

Posted by: bluebellknoll | November 12, 2010 4:51 PM | Report abuse

Let's see........federal employees make on average $120,000/year, twice what an average person in the private sector makes. The number of federal employees making over $150K has increased about 10 fold in the last 5 years. The head of the National Gallery goes to work in a limousine (I know bec. many people I know work there).

Gee, no wonder the seven richest counties in the US are in the DC area, and the NERVE these federal employees have, complaining how their transportation cost will not be heavily subsidized anymore.

You want to reduce the deficit in some way.......reduce salary of federal employees by 10-20% (thats including you guys/gals, politicians), no more fat perks/benefits/, and hiring freeze (or even better fire some of these lazy federal employees).

The day after Veterans Day the traffic was pretty light.
Why? Alot of these federal employees are taking a four day weekend. So, pathetic!

Posted by: bluebellknoll | November 12, 2010 4:52 PM | Report abuse

Fairfax County! Yee hah. Stay where y'all are. Don't ruin my county. We got the best cops. Highly educated folks all over the county. We rule!

Posted by: TaxiDriver | November 12, 2010 5:32 PM | Report abuse

Fairfax County! Yee hah. Stay where y'all are. Don't ruin my county. We got the best cops. Highly educated folks all over the county. We rule!

Posted by: TaxiDriver | November 12, 2010 5:33 PM | Report abuse

What do you mean by "the 2009 Census?" There was no Census in 2009. Do you mean the American Community Survey?

Posted by: davanden | November 12, 2010 5:38 PM | Report abuse

What do you mean by "the 2009 Census?" There was no Census in 2009. Do you mean the American Community Survey?

Posted by: davanden | November 12, 2010 5:39 PM | Report abuse

What are people complaining about? Is it that hard to correlate with how much Fed employees are making with how rich these counties are in DC area? Fed employees already make more in salary compared to people in the private sector, add on the lush benefits they receive, it's not very surprising, at least to me, the huge gap.

Posted by: bluebellknoll | November 12, 2010 5:43 PM | Report abuse

Um, Bluebellknoll, the Politifact website you link to says the claim that Fed workers make twice what private workers make is FALSE.

Posted by: novamama | November 12, 2010 5:44 PM | Report abuse

Not true? Salary + Benefits.....Fed employees=$120,000
Private sector+$60,000. Politifact doesn't dispute that.
Read the article again.
What is benefit? Shouldn't that count? Benefit is still money.

A person in the private sector has to pay more or all on health insurance, transportation cost, etc., compared to someone in the Fed. That person has extra cost that is subtracted from his salary, while the someone in the Fed, actually, has those extra benefits added on his/her salary, because along with their higher salary they get lush benefits added on, NOT taken out of their salary. If they do pay part of it, it is MUCH, MUCH LESS. I have alot of friends in the Fed, and they do not pay anything or have any of their salary taken out for health insurance, etc., and they even get subsidies for transportation, while I have to pay 100% of my transportation cost and over 50% of my health insurance.

Posted by: bluebellknoll | November 12, 2010 5:55 PM | Report abuse

"According to the Bureau of Economic Analysis, a federal statistics-gathering agency, federal worker compensation in 2009 averaged $123,049, which was double the private-sector average of $61,051. That's a gap of almost $62,000 -- and is pretty close to what Paul said on This Week."

Oh, no one mentioned about how secure fed jobs are, did we?
I'll just give one example. A person I know works in the FDA. After three years, that person cannot get laid off. It's guaranteed, unless that person does something outrageous, i.e. taking bribes and tampering with evidence. I know, i know......local, county job is not the same thing as a Fed job.

Posted by: bluebellknoll | November 12, 2010 6:24 PM | Report abuse

wow, I'm rich?

Posted by: eaglechik | November 12, 2010 6:32 PM | Report abuse

bluebellknoll, you still are not reading the Politfact article. The $120,000 vs $62,000 comparison is comparing apples to oranges. The $120,000 figure is for a college degree heavy, high seniority heavy, skilled job heavy work force in the government, vs a work force that has many unskilled, no-benefit, no-college degree required jobs. Most burger-flippers, gas station attendants and domestic workers don't get any benefits at all. I can make a very similar statement that is equally misleading: "The average private sector job at Smith, Smith and Brown Attorneys at Law makes $120,000 twice the average private sector job in the US" If you were to make an apples to apples comparison of benefit paying jobs in and out of government, you would find that the jobs would pay about the same.

Posted by: isitlogical | November 12, 2010 6:45 PM | Report abuse

I stand by my position. That average includes all federal employees vs. private sector employees. Yes, I agree that there are more educated people in the fed payroll, and I don't dispute that.
I'm just stating the fact that ON AVERAGE ALL federal employees make two fold more than ALL people in the private sector in total compensation.

OK, take out the benefits for the whiners, still ave. salary of ALL fed employees is still 30K higher (81k vs. 50K).

Let's face the fact, our government is bloated with waste. People in main street had to suffer alot recently; I just think people in government should not be exempt. I seriously doubt a smaller federal workforce will have any effect on how the country is run.

Posted by: bluebellknoll | November 12, 2010 6:56 PM | Report abuse

FYI - Howard County is a Baltimore region. Oops!

Posted by: ptmt961 | November 12, 2010 8:46 PM | Report abuse

The big incomes in the D.C. area are not going to federal employees, but to federal contractors and lobbyists. To get the deficit under control, we need to get the contracts under control. And tax the hell out of the lobbyists.

Posted by: vmax02rider | November 12, 2010 9:03 PM | Report abuse

The reason why the income numbers in these Washington suburbs are so high is because the Washington area has the highest percentage of people with graduate degrees and the highest percentage of two income families. Combine that with the fact there are no slum areas in these counties and you end up with a high median family income. There really aren't that many rich people, but there also aren't a lot of really poor people.

Posted by: buffysummers | November 12, 2010 10:25 PM | Report abuse

The reason why the income numbers in these Washington suburbs are so high is because the Washington area has the highest percentage of people with graduate degrees and the highest percentage of two income families. Combine that with the fact there are no slum areas in these counties and you end up with a high median family income. There really aren't that many rich people, but there also aren't a lot of really poor people.

Posted by: buffysummers | November 12, 2010 10:27 PM | Report abuse

Yeah, one problem with this article. IT IS WRONG. Prince William County, Virginia has a median household income of $89,785, which is higher than both #10 and #9, Charles and Calvert counties, Maryland. That would place it as #9, just behind Somerset County, NJ. How about doing some fact checking next time. It isn't that hard.

http://factfinder.census.gov/servlet/ADPTable?_bm=y&-geo_id=05000US51153&-qr_name=ACS_2009_1YR_G00_DP3&-context=adp&-ds_name=&-tree_id=309&-_lang=en&-redoLog=false&-format=

Posted by: JTR555 | November 12, 2010 10:51 PM | Report abuse

Are all the locals done with loving themselves yet?

Posted by: MRGB | November 12, 2010 11:45 PM | Report abuse

GOVERNMENT LEACHES

Posted by: pgr88 | November 13, 2010 2:05 AM | Report abuse

For Fairfax County, Va. demographics see the following:

http://www.fairfaxcounty.gov/demogrph/gendemo.htm#inc

To summarize:

The median 2009 "household income" in Fairfax County is $102,499 and the median "family income" is $122,651.

The median Single family detached unit is $550,167 and the median single family attached unit is $341,626.

Bottom line, a salary $100K in Fairfax county puts you in smack dab in the middle class. You would think $100K is a good salary but no so in Fairfax County. You're just an average schmuck if you earn $100K in Fairfax Co.

Please note the subtle distinction between "median" and "average". The median salary is the middle of a histogram of annual salaries. In other words, there just as many people earning less than the median salary as there are earning more. The average of course, is simply the sum total of all incomes divided by the number of incomes which can give you a skewed picture of reality.

So, in summary, there are a heck of a lot "families" in Fairfax County who earn substantially more than the median income of $122,651. Also, a half way decent house is going to cost you about $550K in Fairfax County.

Posted by: montana123 | November 13, 2010 7:24 AM | Report abuse

Without the federal government how many well-off, talented individuals would choose to live in this climate? Granted, it's slightly better than Philadelphia or Boston with its better climate and natural landforms while still being within driving distance of New York.

But let's call a spade a spade. We're rich because DC has expanded power at the expense of the rest of the country. So powerful in fact that the scraps that fall off the table into professional or hospitality services are very attractive to the world's best and brightest.

Posted by: cprferry | November 13, 2010 1:31 PM | Report abuse

Hey TaxiDriver, what do you rule, the Socialist Republic of Maryland or one of those middle Virginia counties that the folks in Fairfax, Arlington and Loudoun subsidize through our tax payments to Richmond.

Wherever you live, stay there. We already have an abundance of rude cab drivers in Northern Virginia.

Posted by: hodgensr | November 13, 2010 1:35 PM | Report abuse

Hey TaxiDriver, are you enjoying those welfare checks (tax payments) that Northern Virginians send to the roach motel in Richmond (the money goes in but never comes out)?

Posted by: hodgensr | November 13, 2010 2:17 PM | Report abuse

bluebellknoll,

You are wrong. A government manager doesn't get stock options and other perks that his counterpart in the private sector gets. And the salaries are not even close. A VP or Program Manager in the private sector gets far higher compensation compared to a GS13-15 or even SES.

Remember, you get what you pay for. Reduce government salaries and the only ones who will apply are those who can't cut it in the private sector.

Is that what you want?

Posted by: bushido11 | November 13, 2010 4:32 PM | Report abuse

Government contractors have been on a gravy train. Federal jobs outsourced and trillions of dollars spent during the last 9 years on two wars can be seen in the income levels of counties surrounding Washington, DC.

Posted by: JBinVA1 | November 13, 2010 8:48 PM | Report abuse

No town in the US has a more heavily socialized economy than DC, where everyone has a government job. They pay higher, sure, but what do they really do to earn it? This just makes the DC region more expensive than most large cities, keeping most citizens out. That's sad.

Posted by: AU_student | November 13, 2010 9:28 PM | Report abuse

bushido11,

Of course, many talented private sector employees can receive significant benefits for growing the business and pushing profits. However, that doesn't eliminate the problems that exist in the federal work force. In the federal work force you have incredible base salaries and lavish benefits. And a light work load, or at least no real incentive to get things done on time or on budget. Slack off long enough and you may even find your department has created an assistant or clerk position under you. No one's going to fire you for doing just enough. In the private sector you'd be on your butt if you failed to meet your marks. In government you're excused.

If you're trying to attract the best with salary and benefits the culture is turning them into free loaders. You hear all the time from government workers about how boring their jobs have become, how lazy others have become, how this or that process is stopping them, how this department doesn't cooperate, how there's no accountability, how it's choking their joy and will away. But they don't want to leave their jobs because they're safe.

And now multiply that effect times the millions in the federal work force (and also account for the lower skilled positions that do pay well over market average).

Basically you end up with 1.5-2 times the staff you really need paying at slightly at or above market rates.

Posted by: cprferry | November 15, 2010 7:38 PM | Report abuse

And the conclusion of the Politifact article being references so much here: The statement is false!

What would be great is if our polititions actually spent some time improving things rather than just complaining. Look up your favorite politition and check out how many Bills they put before the congress addressing any issue they raise.

Posted by: mynewsaccount | November 17, 2010 6:59 AM | Report abuse

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