Arlington Ranks as #11 ‘Top-Earning Town’ in U.S.

by ARLnow.com August 20, 2012 at 12:45 pm 6,767 58 Comments

Arlington is the 11th “top-earning town” in the nation, according to a new list compiled by CNN Money.

The ranking is based on Arlington’s $132,580 median family income. Arlington’s median home price is $485,000, according to CNN Money.

Two other D.C. suburbs ranked higher than Arlington. Bethesda, Md. was #1 with a median income of $184,606 and a median home price of $740,000. Ashburn, Va. is #6 with a median income of $146,093 and a median home price of $345,000.

As of 2010, the median annual household income in the U.S. was $50,221, and the median annual household income in Virginia was $59,330.

  • YTK

    PFLLLLT!!!! As the guy who runs Bronx Pizza what that means.

  • Chris M.

    It’s great what $16 Trillion in debt can buy. As long as it’s someone else money, why should I care, right?

    • Hollywood

      Yeah, I think they used the word “earning” a little loosely. More like #11 top-recipient of federal transfer payments.

      • Boom! Roasted


        • John

          Yeah, all those federal employees should just provide their goods and services for free! We shouldn’t have to pay any defense analyst in the Defense Dept or attorney enforcing laws at the Justice Dept. Damn employees not giving taxpayers handouts.

          • Chris M.

            What a ridiculous reply. Thank you for proving my point.

  • JimPB

    A median is the midpoint in a top to bottom ranking. So, half of ARLCO’s 90,426 housing units (according to the 2000 census) have a price of $485,000 or less. Where are these 45,000 plus homes? What do they offer ?

    • Ben

      1BR and Studio condos in Clarendon of course.

    • CondoMan

      They are all over. It’s just that they are 1 br condos not “homes.”

      • Jeff

        Plenty of 2br’s are under $485K as well. Though most are probably in S Arlington.

    • JohnB

      Some nits with your analysis/question:

      1 – Housing units have increased since 2000.
      2 – The definition of housing unit for the census may be different that homes for sale. The census probably counts rental units as housing units.
      3 – The median home price is only based on homes that sell. The article states that it’s for 2012, but does not give a source for its data. I would guess that it was based on 2011 sales data from the National Association of Realtors.

      So you real question should be, “Half of the 3,000ish housing units that sold in 2011 sold for under $485,000? Where are these 1500 homes and what do they offer?”

      Assuming that you actually want your question answered and aren’t just trying to be snarky, I would point you in the direction of http://franklymls.com/ which is a great source of data if you want to do some analysis. There are a lot of other sites out there as well like trulia and zillow and redfin that give you access to the mls data. This of course leads me to believe that you were just being snarky and attempting to express your opinion that housing is too expensive in Arlington because if you were actually intellectually curious about the question you posited you would have easily found these sources of data.

  • clarendon snob

    Damn South Arlington drags us down below Bethesda. The horror!

  • DarkHeart

    License plate is some variant of GR8, Ovie, Fatso, etc.

    • Elmer

      My bet is that it is Mike Green.

  • JM

    Ovie does not drive a Lamborghini.

    • Southeast Ben

      He also doesn’t live in Arlington any longer.

      • DarkHeart

        Did Kettler move to McLean as well?

        • Jackson

          No, but that’s not his care, DarkHeart, or should I call you by your real name, Sidney Crosby?

  • we’re poor

  • Justin Russo

    How can you trust that article when it says the Department of Homeland Security’s headquarters is in Arlington?

    • JohnB


      “Arlington contains the Pentagon, U.S. Justice Department, State Department and Department of Homeland Security within its borders.”

      How far you have fallen CNN.

    • JohnB2

      DHS has offices in Arlington (Ballston), but the HQ is downtown. They could be talking about TSA, which is a component of DHS, they have their HQ in Arlington.

      • GC_Now

        Not just Ballston. They also have office space in Crystal City, Rosslyn, and Courthouse. Roughly 1/2 of DHS personnel in the DC area are in Arlington. It’s become a major issue as DHS is trying to consolidate its personnel in Anacostia with the new Headquarters building.

    • Christopher Deedy is innocent

      State Department headquarters are in DC, I guess they must have found out about the ultra secret underground nuclear war resistant headquarters that are located under Obama re-election Headquarters on Columbia Pike.

      • DOS

        There are many State Department “Annexes” in Arlington. Some of them are huge.

        • Aaron

          Two or three very large ones in Rosslyn, at least, plus the NFATC on Arlington Blvd.

        • Christopher Deedy is innocent

          If you consider 9 many.

      • JohnB


    • Me ke

      Because it is

  • JimPB

    I just used a calculator for how much mortgage one could afford with the median income ($132,500), a $50,000 down payment, a 30 yr 4% loan, and
    modest car and credit card payments. The calculated amount was some $150,000 below the median home value. If this is correct, ouch!

    • Ben

      A person making 132k with 50k for a down payment could easily afford a 500k house. Assuming they were relatively debt free of course.

    • CW

      You cray. That would be leveraged by a factor of only 2.

    • Aaron

      I would dare say that most of the people owning those $485k+ homes probably bought them at 20-50% of their current value. This is an amazing place to live if you bought your home before the boom in ~2002.

  • SomeGuy

    Why must we stroke the ego of this car’s owner again?

    Comment generation I presume. And I’m now guilty of participating.

    • Josh S

      Assumes he/she reads ARLNow……otherwise, no ego stroking.

      • SomeGuy

        Correction for Josh S:
        If the driver of this vehicle is alive and of sound mind, and if said driver learns that his car has been featured twice on ArlNow.com and commented upon by envious commenters, I believe the result will be an increase in his satisfaction, assuming said owner has the capability to feel satisfaction. Furthermore, said owner, if capable of having his ego stroked, will likely (but not certainly) feel that sensation.

        I do not endorse giving said driver these sensations, so I question the need to feature his/her vehicle a second time on ArlNow.com. I understand that my opinion is not necessarily representative of the entire Arlnow community, and I also understand that the relevance of my comment may be reduced if any of my aforementioned assumptions, or even those not aforementioned, do not hold true.

        • SomeGuy

          Oh, and my use of masculine pronouns is not indicative of an assumption that the vehicle’s owner is male.

        • Greg

          I’d venture a guess that the driver is less douchy than your comment. I mean, who talks like that?

    • Persian that wears too much cologne

      Oh my car yeah I was just passing through A-Town on the way to George Town.


      Persian that wears too much cologne

      • Greg

        You must have gotten lost because you seemed to keep going up and down Clarendon/Wilson. Make the left on North Lynn to get to Georgetown. Also, you may have a throttle issue the way the engine keeps revving at stop lights. Should probably get that checked.

        No thanks necessary.

        • CW

          He should make that appointment for a new clutch too; he rides that thing half in all day. If it’s been the same one for the whole two years that I’ve been seeing him do it then that is really a testament to the durability of Lambo parts.

          • JamesE

            He was just celebrating 8/17 redline your car for freedom day.

          • SomeGuy

            Never forget.

          • WLO

            I think you might be mistaking the sound of a Lambo engine for what riding the clutch sounds like in your Honda.

          • CW

            Don’t own a Honda, and generally in cars with fixed gear ratios engine RPM is correlated pretty linearly to speed so when you hear a lot of blipping of throttle and riding up to near redline without a commensurate increase in speed that means the clutch is paritally in.

        • Persian that wears too much cologne


          I like you. You are the kind of assistant I need in my life.

          You wanna go for a spin so we can talk business? I figured we could do some laps around Wilson Blvd and Clarendon Blvd make sure people see I am interviewing my soon to be personal assistant.


          Persian that wears too much cologne

          • Greg

            Well played.

  • CW

    I think the definition of “home” needs to be revisited. Bethesda is mostly SFHs. Arlington has Colonial Village, Fairlington, etc. Compare apples to apples and it’s probably a dead heat.

  • Ronan

    I make less than the Median income. I am a loser.

    But it sounds like a lot to my friends in smaller towns and cities.

  • Maybe a Silly-Question-Asker

    Is annual family income the same as annual household income? If so, the difference between the VA median and the Arlington median is astounding, but they use different terms…

  • Flawed Data

    This entire CNN article and follow up report is flawed. For one, family and household median incomes are not the same thing. Family is 2+ people joined by marriage or blood, whereas household is based on the income supporting a person or joined incomes supporting more than one person. So while the median family income is high, the median household income for Arlington is way less (Wiki: According to a 2007 estimate, the median income for a household in the county was $94,876, and the median income for a family was $127,179.[36] Males had a median income of $51,011 versus $41,552 for females.)

    So, the CNN article picked the top-earning cities based on two incomes, not the actual top-earning cities based on people. For a county like Arlington with so many recent, single grads (70% single in 2009), they basically negated 3/4 of the population. And since VA didn’t recognize gay marriages at the time of the article, whereas other cities in other states may have, the data is again flawed when it comes to the “family income”.

    So, in the end, this just shows the cities that have top-earning spouses, which makes sense with the housing prices/school info/family-type info in the article. But, it doesn’t actually show the true top-earning cities…

  • Elmer

    All that dough (the money kind) accounts for the new bars and restaurants in this county.
    People who can afford to drink and eat out ad infinitum and then complain how they are part of the 99% which is so oppressed by the 1%.

  • Buckingham Bandit

    Virginia’s unique political boundary system whereby all of VA is either a county or “independent city” makes these sort of cross-state comparisons tricky. (Anyone who has had to use FIPS codes with Virginia data knows what I’m talking about.)

    Of course Bethesda will have a higher median income than Arlington County; Bethesda is the highest-earning area of Montgomery County. I am sure that a 1:1 comparison of Arlington County to Montgomery County would yield more different results.

    • Greg

      You sure Potomac isn’t? The poorest person I know in Potomac makes more than 200.

  • Not my car

    This is great news, I woke up feeling below median.

  • Lamborghini? really? asshat clown!

  • arlvarunner

    And yet here we are with sub-par roads…still.


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