Tuesday, November 29, 2011

the 1% where I live

I spent some time today trying to answer a question that's been on my mind. I live in Fairfax County, VA. This is one of the highest-income counties in the US. Third to Falls Church city (where my mom and dad and sister and brother in law live..about 5 miles from me) and Loudoun County, our direct neighbor to the West.


So, my question is, what constitutes the 1% here? The number I've heard tossed around is $250,000, which I suppose represents nation-wide. Okay, fine. That is a lot of money, even in New York.  New York and San Francisco, maybe Boston, are pretty much the only cities you'll find that cost more than DC. But it's not the 1% here. Can't be. So I went on a search. I haven't found my answer yet, but I found some pretty jaw-dropping facts.

Here's a whole site dedicated to economic and demographic information in Fairfax.

Unemployment is 4.5%, and that is historically super high. Lower only than last year.

39% of households bring in more than $150,000 a year. That's the highest that table goes.

Here's a major jaw-dropper. Using salary.com, I found out the cost of living difference between here and Indianapolis..

The cost of living in Washington, DC is 71.3% higher than in Indianapolis, IN . Therefore, you would have to earn a salary of $428,217 to maintain your current standard of living.

And here's where I say whoa...

Employers in Washington, DC typically pay 11.0% more than employers in Indianapolis, IN . Therefore, if you take the same type of job in the same type of company in Washington, DC you are likely to earn $277,495 .

So, you're telling me that the cost of living is 71.3% higher, and we only pay 11.0% more?

This tempts me to think we are hosed. The other numbers, they remind me that I'm very fortunate to live here in an area of great opportunity.

So no, I don't think the 1% is quite the same in my DC suburb. I'm still allowed to be against the death of the middle class, right?

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