Interactive Map: Where the Wealth Is in New Jersey

Colleen O'Dea | February 22, 2013 | Map of the Week, Maps

The percentage of households having an income of at least $200,000 in 2011. Click on a county to see how that has changed over the last five years, as well as the median household income since 2007, in inflation-adjusted dollars.

Source: U.S. Census Bureau’s 1-year American Community Surveys

While some New Jerseyans still have not fully recovered financially from the recession, the state remains home to some of the wealthiest counties in the nation.

Data from the U.S. Census Bureau also shows that five New Jersey counties — Hunterdon, Somerset, Morris, Bergen, and Monmouth — have some of the largest concentrations of wealth in the United States, as defined by the percentage of households with an income of $200,000 or more. Four of five New Jersey counties also are among the ranks of those with the highest median household income.

Surprisingly, those two measures of wealth do not always overlap, at least not in New Jersey.

For instance, Sussex County made it into the ranks of the 25 wealthiest, at number 24, when measured by median household income. But it ranks 54th in the percentage of wealthy households.

Then again, Hunterdon and Somerset counties rank in the top 10 in both measures. With a median household income of just under $100,000, Hunterdon was the fourth-wealthiest county in the nation in 2011. The top three are all Virginia suburbs of Washington, D.C.: Loudon, Fairfax and Arlington counties. Those counties also were the three with the largest proportion of households having $200,000 or more in annual income. Hunterdon, where 16.5 percent of nearly 47,000 households were that wealthy, ranked fifth.

Earlier this month, the Census Bureau released a report on the geographic concentration of high-income households. By its measure, the top 5 percent of households in the country pulled in at least $191,469 per year between 2006 and 2011. The analysis found that, “like the general population, most high-income households live in high-population counties, especially along the coasts.” Further, it showed the greatest concentrations of wealth along the coasts and particularly in the Northeast, from southern Maine through northern Virginia, in Florida, and in California. Similarly, the greatest concentration of counties with the smallest proportion of wealthy households was in the Midwest.

While all New Jersey counties have higher-than-average concentrations of wealth, the latest census data shows that many have not fully recovered from the effects of the recession, which technically stretched from December 2007 through June 2009. The inflation-adjusted median household income in 11 counties was lower in 2011 than at the start of the recession five years earlier. Atlantic County saw the biggest drop, of nearly 9 percent, to just under $51,000. Median income is around 4 percent lower than peak 2008 levels of more than $100,000 in both Hunterdon and Somerset counties.

Hudson County, however, saw its median income rise nearly 10 percent since 2007, to almost $57,000 in 2011.

The map shows the concentration of the wealthiest households by county for 2011. Median income data is available, as well, by clicking on a county.

Census officials also released income estimates by town late last year. In order to provide the most accurate data for the smallest municipalities, the census provides estimates averaged over five years. The median household income by town for 2011, which is an average of information collected between 2007 and 2011, has also been mapped.