LOCATION, LOCATION, LOCATION:  What Your Zip Code Says About You by Hampton Rhodes

What Your Zip Code Says About You

Let’s face it, we are all judged by the company we keep. Whether its judgments about our professional, intellectual, political, educational, or other such ‘bragging-rights,’ where we live – the zip code of our address – is a key identifying factor in who we are and what we aspire to be.

Luxury Housing

According to a 2016 businessinsider.com article, the most expensive zip code for median home sales price is none other than 11962. It’s the ultra-chic Long Island New York Hamptons’ Sagaponack neighborhood currently with a median home sales price of $8.5 million and a median income of $209,125.

Sagaponack bested the 2015 Forbes study showing that 94027 Atherton, California median sales price of a home during that year was $10,564,038.

Seems the folks that live in the Sagaponack neighborhood are pretty well-heeled, and anyone aspiring to be known for their real estate holdings would do well to invest here or nearby in other Hamptons New York properties. And isn’t that what we are seeing from bankers, celebrities, billionaires and other, new-moneyed CEO’s? It is the place to be seen! And make note that a lot of these houses are 2nd, 3rd or 4th homes of the economic elite!

Lowest Income

According to mongabay.com’s wealth data article listing the 100 lowest income zip codes in the United States calculated from income tax filing data, the 05501 Andover, Massachusetts has the lowest income averaging $2,000 per year.

Interestingly enough, and according to the same data resource, that income is lower than the rate of income that’s in the zip code for San Quentin, California, home of one of the largest and most notorious prisons in America – where the prisoners only make pennies on the hour if any income at all.

But conflicting data within Wikipedia, citing 2008-12 American Community Surveys, shows that Blackwater Arizona with a population of 1,062 had a median household income for the entire community of just $9,491 per year. It should also be noted that this community is primarily Native American (72.1%) and Latino (22.1%) leading the reader to believe that this is a Native American Reservation land. Without greater employment context and data, I’m not sure exactly what this means, but I recognize that it is very sad! 

Highest Income

CNN Money recently published an article of the highest six-figure income percentages of zip codes within the U.S. In their study, Kenilworth, IL posted the highest percentage of households with income greater than $100,000 with a whopping 82.92%! Following closely were Fairfax Station, VA (79.20%), Great Falls, VA (78.66%), Danville, CA (78.24%) and Atherton, CA (78.04%).

I find it compelling that 2 of the top 5 zip codes are within commutable distance of Washington, DC – the political hub of America; and 2 of the others are within close proximity to San Francisco, CA – the recognized tech incubator and venture capital hubs of America!

Political Affiliation

Open Secrets.org published a list of the top zip codes producing the highest campaign contributions to Democrats, Liberals, Conservatives, Republicans and other (no party affiliation) contributions during the 2016 election cycle.

The top zip code, with the most contributions to any political campaigns or political action committees, was the 94104 San Francisco, CA zip code giving $93.1 million to their candidates’ campaigns, $91 million going to the Democrats and Liberals while only $300 thousand in contributions were made to the Conservative, Republican and non-affiliated party campaigns. Not sure where the other $1.8 million went!

On the other hand, the highest contributing zip code to the Republican and Conservative political coffers was the 89109 Las Vegas, NV zip code with over $46 million going to the Republicans and Conservatives, and only $452 thousand going to liberal campaigns.

This provided fascinating information, but there was no real surprise for me as regards California. What did surprise me was Las Vegas as a moneyed Conservative capital. I may have been naive, but this was quite the eye-opener for me.

Highest Level of Education

According to the 2016 study published by WalletHub, Ann Arbor, MI ranked highest in education with an outstanding score of 94.89 on their measurement scale. Following were (in rank) Washington-Arlington-Alexandria, DC-VA-MD-WV (79.18), San Jose-Sunnyvale-Santa Clara, CA (77.39), Durham-Chapel Hill, NC (77.03) and Madison, WI (73.46).

WalletHub cites the 2013 Economic Policy Institute research in saying, “…with more schooling, educated workers not only have access to better job opportunities and bigger salaries, but they also fill their cities’ coffers with the most tax dollars over time.”

Perhaps it’s the date of the survey, or the attraction of intellectuals to previous governmental opportunities, but I had held a fully recognized unsubstantiated belief that education and politics did not necessarily go together. I was not surprised by the NC Tech Triangle draw, nor the Michigan education connection, but the DC attraction was an admitted surprise.

So you can see, birds of a feather stick together in many more ways than Plato first described back in 380BC. People of like minds and accomplishments (as well as aspirations,) still form communities together – even within this new digitally connected cyber world that we now live in. Hollywood remains the hub of entertainment; Detroit for automobiles and transportation; New York for banks and villains; Silicon Valley for tech innovation and globalization; and of course, Washington, DC for politics.


American Community Survey
American Enterprise Institute
Business Insider
CNN Money
Economic Policy Institute
Open Secrets.org
United States Census Bureau

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