The US Office of Management and Budget defines a Metropolitan Statistical Area (MSA), or Metropolitan Area, as being among those areas with at least one urban center with a population of no less than 50,000 people. In addition, the adjoining regions therein must be highly integrated socially and economically. Simplified, Gross Domestic Product (GDP) is either the total value of goods and services produced in a region or the total incomes produced by all the residents and organizations in a particular year in the region. To determine the earning power and the living standards of residents of a region, the GDP is shared among the people living in that particular metropolitan area or country, called per capita real GDP, which is total GDP of a region divided by its relevant populace.
10. Portland-Vancouver-Hillsboro, Oregon MSA - $31,377
9. Denver-Aurora-Lakewood, Colorado MSA - $32,999
The Denver metropolitan area is defined by the United States Office of Management and Budget as the Denver-Aurora-Lakewood, CO Metropolitan Statistical Area. Its population is around 2.8 million, and its per capita income is $32,999. The city of Denver benefits from its located, which is in proximity to the southwestern and western United States. This location means that Denver is a natural spot for the exchange and shipping of goods across the country.
8. Hartford, Connecticut MSA - $34,310
Greater Hartford is located in Connecticut, surrounding the city of Hartford, which is the state capital. The metropolitan area has a population of around 1.2, according to the U.S. Census Bureau. Its per capita income is $34,310. The economy of Hartford's metropolitan area is mainly driven by industry. However, there are also a number of companies headquartered in the city. The city is also home to a number of community colleges and universities, including the University of Connecticut and Central Connecticut State University.
7. Minneapolis-St. Paul-Bloomington, Minnesota MSA - $35,388
The Minneapolis-St.Paul-Bloomington metropolitan area is found in central Minnesota, surrounding the city of Minneapolis. The area designated by the United States Census Bureau has a population of around 3.5 million, and a per capita income of $35,388. The metro area is home to a number of Fortune 500 companies, including Target, General Mills, Ecolab, and Patterson. The economy of the area is among the 15th largest in the entire United States, and is the largest in the Midwestern region after Chicago.
6. Honolulu, Hawaii MSA - $36,339
The city of Honolulu is not only the state capital of Hawaii, but also its largest urban area. The United States Census Bureau designates Honolulu and its surrounding area as the Urban Honolulu, HI Metropolitan Statistical Area. Located on the island of O'ahu, Honolulu is a major hub for business activity. Tourism alone contributes millions of dollars to Honolulu's economy every year. However, despite an average of high incomes, cost of living in Hawaii is very high, particularly when it comes to housing.
5. Boston-Worcester-Lawrence, Massachusetts-New Hampshire-Maine-Connecticut CMSA - $37,311
Occupying the seventh position of the top ten richest metro areas with a per capita GDP of $37,311, the Boston-Cambridge-Newton metro area, spanning Massachusetts, New Hampshire, Maine, and Connecticut is regarded as an education and health center for all of New England. Arguably, the metro is also the focal point of major tourist attractions in the region. The Boston-Cambridge-Newton area has experienced steady overall economic growth over the last twenty years. Indeed, the recorded average annual GDP growth for the metro has been 3.79%. Hailed as a biotech stronghold, technologies, health, and education alike have contributed importantly to its growth.
4. San Francisco-Oakland-Hayward, CA - $38,355 USD
Among the most populous metros in the country, California's San Francisco-Oakland-Hayward MSA has also seen tremendous growth in its per capita income. Just like in the rest of the top per capita income metros, San Francisco-Oakland-Hayward boasts a low unemployment rate of 3.2%, as well as an employment growth rate of 0.69%, commensurate with the per capita income’s steady growth. Ranked among the fastest growing economies with an annual increase of 7.4 percent in size, the San Francisco-Oakland-Hayward economy relies heavily on professional and business services industries.
3. Seattle-Tacoma-Bellevue, Washington MSA - $39,322
Third in the ranking, with a per capita GDP of $39,322 Washington's Seattle-Tacoma-Bellevue MSA has experienced steady economic growth over several years. The technological aspect of the Seattle-Tacoma-Bellevue economy has played a great role in the steady economic growth the metro has experienced over the years. In fact, Seattle, a major player in the MSA’s social and economic areas, has experienced a 45% growth increase in tech industry employment, and close to 20% growth in science, technology, engineering, and math (STEM) occupations. Seattle has also been named in the list of “Top 10 Internet Cities in the World”. A major indicator of the MSA’s positive economic performance is the earning power of its residents, which was found to be increasing by an annual average of $4,320 increments, according to a 2013 Gallup Poll. Indeed, Forbes experts have projected that 54 percent of new jobs in the area are expected to be high-paying.
2. San Jose-Sunnyvale-Santa Clara, CA - $40,392
California's San Jose-Sunnyvale-Santa Clara metropolitan area has seen impressive growth since the 2009 recession, which can be attributed to technology, innovation, and entrepreneurship. Indeed, “Silicon Valley”, as the area is popularly known, was voted as the “Most High-Tech Region” in 2009. Its employment rate, a good indicator of economic growth, has been growing over time. In November 2017, the unemployment rate of the metro area was only 2.7 percent.
1. Washington-Arlington-Alexandria, DC-VA-MD-WV - $47,411
Covering Washington DC, Maryland, Virginia, and a small part of West Virginia, the Washington-Arlington-Alexandria MSA is among the most populous metropolitan areas in the country with a population of around 5.9 million. It is also the most educated region in the US, likely contributing to its high level of affluence. In 2009, the Washington-Arlington-Alexandria MSA was voted among the US’s “Most High-Tech Centers”, second only to the San Jose-Sunnyvale-Santa Clara MSA, and ahead of Boston-Cambridge-Newton. Hailed as the highest employer in the high-tech sector, the MSA has enjoyed a 20% growth in tech employment since 2001, and a 20.8% growth rate in science technology, engineering and mathematics jobs.