America's wealthiest areas have large concentrations of professionals such as lawyers, government workers, or doctors. It helps to have a university around but it’s not necessary for a metro area to sparkle. Possibly more important is a good commuter transportation system or an area that has a top educational rating. And, for the most part, the rich live in blue states, although the city or town they live in may not have voted with the rest of the state.
“One of the most important elements in wealthy metro areas is high education levels,” says Elizabeth Kneebone, a fellow at the Brookings Institution Metropolitan Policy Program. “A high share of the residents tend to have a bachelor's degree or higher.”
What communities are likely to feel the effects of the higher taxes the most?
The nation’s richest metro area, measured by percentage of filers who report more than $100,000 of income, is the San Jose, Calif., metro area. Some 25.5 percent of the 763,916 tax filers crossed the $100,000 threshold in 2010. “Silicon Valley has a high concentration of high skilled employment and human capital,” says Ms. Kneebone.