There's certainly been a lot of talk about the 1%  – the top 1% of earners – but do you know how much it takes to join that club? Depending on where you live, your magic number is different, sometimes stunningly different. Some families could join the 1% club simply by moving to a different city. (For more, see College Degrees of the 1%.)  

5 Places Where It’s Hard to Join the 1% Club

The Economic Policy Institute published a study examining income inequality across United States cities and found the five cities where it will cost you the most to join the 1%. Only the richest need apply.

  • Jackson, Wyo.  Here, you have to earn $1.65 million to be part of the 1%. Christy Walton, heiress to the Walmart fortune worth an estimated $5.4 billion, is a Jackson resident. 
  • Bridgeport-Stamford-Norwalk, Conn. In this region of the Northeast you must earn $1.39 million to be part of the 1%. With 18% of households earning enough to put them in the top 5% of wage earners in the country, it’s no wonder the area is known as the Gold Coast.
  • Summit Park, Utah  You’ve probably never heard of Summit Park, a city with only about 2,200 homes, where you need to earn $1.2 million to join the club. Even the median income is over $88,000. 
  • Williston, N.D. You’ll need to bring in at least $1.06 million to be part of the club here. Williston is in the hotbed of the Bakken shale, where people are bringing in big money drilling for oil. However, lower oil prices have put a damper on the easy money in the area. 
  • San Jose-Sunnyvale-Santa Clara, Calif. The good news is that in this region you can earn a mere six figures and be in the 1% club. The bad news is that it still takes just over $964,000 to get an invite to the lavish parties. 

Below is a chart detailing the above plus an additional 20 cities where joining the club costs the most..

On the flip side, there are places where you could earn far less and still be considered high society. One of those is Fitzgerald, Ga., where you only need to earn $145,130. With a population of just over 9,000, you’re likely to know a lot of people in the town, and with your high income people will likely want to know you. 

The Bottom Line

If you’re looking to be part of the 1% club, you can do it with an income not far above $100,000. But doing it in the richest cities in America will cost more. A Lot more. (For more, see How Much Income Puts You in the Top 1%, 5%, 10%?)





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