D.C. area ranks 2nd nationwide for wealth creation

WASHINGTON — The D.C. metro area can be an expensive place to live, but it’s also been ranked as the second-best area for building wealth in the country.

Bankrate.com surveyed 18 metropolitan areas on how conducive they are to making and saving money, ranking them for savable income after taxes and household expenses; the job market; residents’ debt; human capital; access to financial services; and the housing market. The D.C. metro area came in second to Houston, ranking best in the nation in savable income, access to financial services and debt; Cleveland, Detroit and New York City rounded out the top five.

“Many of the cities that ranked high in the study may not be synonymous with wealth in the public mind, but they do a better overall job of creating an environment for typical households to get ahead financially,” said Bankrate.com banking analyst Claes Bell in a statement.

San Diego came in last. Phoenix, Los Angeles, Philadelphia and Atlanta rounded out the bottom five.

“Just because a city ranks at the bottom doesn’t mean it’s a bad place to live, or that you can’t make a good living there,” Bell says.

“The best city for a particular person to build wealth is going to depend a lot on their walk of life, occupation, education and a whole host of other factors.”

Indeed, as Bankrate says, if, for example, you don’t want a house, the fact that Detroit has the nation’s best housing market isn’t going to matter to you.

Still, it’s important to remember, they say, that the traditional question “How much money do you make?” isn’t necessarily the key indicator of how well you’re really doing. For example, 80 percent of Americans go through some kind of financial hardship in their lives, and the amount of wealth they’ve got stacked up make a big difference in how they come out of it.

The whole study is here.

Rick Massimo

Rick Massimo came to WTOP, and to Washington, in 2013 after having lived in Providence, R.I., since he was a child. He's the author of "A Walking Tour of the Georgetown Set" and "I Got a Song: A History of the Newport Folk Festival."

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