Here’s a quick treasure hunt for you: head southeast. Don’t stop until you hit the end of the continental U.S. That’s where you’ll find all the money.
At least according to a study from GOBankingRates that says Miami and the surrounding Florida Keys has the richest area code in the nation. The mean household income is almost half a million dollars.
GOBankingRates used the most recent Census data available to rank cities and took the average incomes of the highest- and lowest-earning cities in the area codes to determine how they fared. Clearly, some area codes are doing better than others. Two South Florida areas made the top 5 — Miami’s 305 at No. 1 and Palm Beach County, or 561, at No. 5. Long Island (516), San Francisco Bay Area (650), and the Maryland/D.C. metro area (301) were also in the Top 5.
“States away from the coast had the poorest area codes,” GOBankingRates says. “The discrepancy in income between the richest and the poorest area code is a whopping $470,354.”
The study shows that the poorest area codes are the ones that have limited resources in areas such as healthcare and education.
“Some of the area codes are home to formerly prosperous mining or railroad towns whose heyday has long faded, leaving jobs and other economic opportunities in short supply,” the study says. “Others are tucked in agricultural areas or cities where a once-thriving main industry is on the downturn.”
The 575 area code for rural New Mexico has a mean household income of $15,110. Area code 573 in eastern Missouri makes less than $17,000. South and West Oklahoma (580), West Virginia (304), and Northern Mississippi (662) are also among the poorest area codes in the country.
The 304 code in West Virginia covers the entire state. There, the mean household income is $17,637 and one town in particular, Pageton, has a median household income of $13,250. The top spot, 575, includes Rodeo, where a median household income is only $10,655. For reference, the median household income nationwide was $60,542 in 2016. That’s how poor Rodeo is.
The richest codes were coastal. Miami, San Francisco, Palm Beach — all of them are near water. Low-income Americans are being priced out of their homes in these areas, even if they’ve lived there all their lives. This means renters — who are taking a major chance by staying in apartments or homes for rent even as rent continues to rise. But it’s also homeowners (or potential homebuyers) who are watching home costs continue to rise that they may not get a home in their desired neighborhood or city because of sky-high prices.
There are some places where the cost of living is better, like Texas. There, cheap cost of living and great salary means you can save more money for retirement or an emergency. There’s also Mississippi, where most residents are able to save nearly half of their income. Most Southern states have really great options when it comes to cheaper living, but like those on the poor area code list, there are plenty of places that lack major resources. Check out more cheap places to live.