Bellaire & West U among top-earning towns in U.S.

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HOUSTON, TX – What’s the difference between you and the richest folks in the city? They’ve moved to smaller towns.

MONEY magazine put out their list of the top-earning towns in the country and out of the top 20, only one’s a population over 30,000 — most are 20,000 or less.

Bellaire and West U both made the list. Though some folks think of them as Houston neighborhoods, they’re actually smaller cities within Houston. They have their own police forces, taxes and utilities.

“You feel like you’re close to your government,” explains Mayor Bob Fry whose West University Place landed at #8 on MONEY’s list, “You feel like your government works for you better than a big anonymous big city.”

But Mayor Phil Nauert of #13 ranked Bellaire explains  it’s more than that, “We’ve got the Medical Center. We’ve got Rice University. We’ve got all of the cultural activities of the fourth largest city in the nation. But this is still a town where you wave to your neighbors, and you wave to the police man when he drives by, and you know the neighbors’ kids who play baseball, so you’ve got the best of both. You’ve got the small town world in the big town culture. And you can’t find that just anywhere.”

Unfortunately, changing your financial future is not as simple as picking up and moving. The median priced home in West University will run you $620,000. Sounds like a lot until you learn median family income there is $198,000.

Anne Marie Thompson and her family recently moved to West U from Montrose. “The neighbors that we’ve met seem to have the same mindset as we do,” she explains, “which is being close to one another, enjoying what we think of as the olden days– kids playing in the streets, a safe environment, lots of parks.”

Nearby Bellaire will actually cost you a bit more for a home ($737,500 Median Price), but income there’s just slightly higher ($226,311 Median Family Income).

Hannah Bacol Busch runs an art gallery and has been a Bellaire resident since 2000, “It’s not pretentious. The people here are just real, and I think that’s important.”

Here are the top 5 cities on MONEY’s list. Notice the populations… rather exclusive clubs, huh?

  1. SCARSDALE, NY       17,336 (Population)
  2. WESTON, CT            10,388
  3. HILLSBOROUGH, CA  11,101
  4. POTOMAC, MD          46,387
  5. NEW CANAAN, CT     20,140

Seems now, when folks earn big bucks in the city, they wanna ditch the riff-raff and start growing small-town roots.