“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.
The nation’s second richest area is the nation’s capital and its suburbs. The Washington metro area – including northern Virginia and southern Maryland – is filled with lawyers, lobbyists and men and women with advanced degrees. According to Brookings, 24 percent of households reported income of at least $100,000.
In terms of raw numbers, the Washington area's 600,945 rich households comes second only to the New York Metro area, though New York – despite its nearly 1.4 million households making more than $100,000 – comes in 14th by percentage of filers.