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America's wealthiest counties: Six of top 10 richest counties in D.C. area

Wednesday - 4/2/2014, 3:02pm  ET

WASHINGTON -- The D.C. area is rich with history. Or just rich.

Six of the 10 wealthiest counties in the U.S. are in the D.C. metro area, according to Forbes.

Fall Church City, Va., ranked No. 1 on the 2014 list with a median household income of $121,250. Fall Church was incorporated as a city in 1948, giving it county-equivalent status. With a population of about 12,000, about half of its homeowners reside in houses valued at more than $500,000, according to Forbes.

In Virginia, any municipality that is incorporated as a city legally becomes independent of any county. Under the U.S. Census, they are considered county- equivalents.

It's no coincidence that Falls Church recently ranked as the most expensive housing market in the D.C. area.

Also on the top 10 list are Loudoun County, Va.; Howard County, Md.; Fairfax County, Va.; Arlington County, Va.; and Stafford County, Va.

This year, Falls Church took the top spot from nearby Loudoun County, where the median household income is $118,934, Forbes reports.

Some of the things that attract wealthy residents to the D.C. area counties are "plenty of lucrative jobs ... available in tech contracting and other professional services" and other big sources of employment such as the "local school systems and major federal agencies like the Department of Defense," Forbes reports.

Forbes calculates its list of wealthiest counties using the median household income data from the Census Bureau's Small Area Income and Poverty Estimates for 2012, the last full year for which data is available.

Also in the top 10 are Los Alamos, N.M.; Hunterdon County, N.J.; Douglas County, Colo.; and Somerset County, N.J.

Below is Forbes' 2014 list of the richest counties in America:

  1. Falls Church City, Va.

  2. Loudoun County, Va.

  3. Los Alamos County, N.M.

  4. Howard County, Md.

  5. Fairfax County, Va.

  6. Hunterdon County, N.J.

  7. Arlington County, Va.

  8. Douglas County, Colo.

  9. Stafford County, Va.

  10. Somerset County, N.J.

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This story was modified to clarify the status of Falls Church as a county- equivalent.

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