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The 11 richest small cities in America
There's a lot of California on this list...
 
Perhaps it comes as no surprise that Redondo Beach, California, is quite close to a yacht club.
Perhaps it comes as no surprise that Redondo Beach, California, is quite close to a yacht club. (Richard Cummins/Corbis)

These cities are on the small side, with fewer than 80,000 residents, but they're home to some of the wealthiest people in the country and are big providers of the amenities that the rich enjoy.

Bethesda, Maryland, a suburb of D.C., won the top spot as the richest small city in America, according to Movoto, a real estate brokerage company.

Bethesda residents — who include everyone from CNN's Wolf Blitzer to the NBA's Drew Gooden — have easy access to a polo field and to private jet facilities. They can also shop at some of the most expensive clothing retailers in the nation.

California is also the place to be for the one percent who like small city living, as six of the top cities were located there, including Palo Alto and Foster City in Silicon Valley and Redondo Beach near Los Angeles.

Back in the D.C., metro area, McLean, Virginia, topped the charts with the highest median household income at $179,066. The city also ranked first in super expensive clothing and jewelry stores.

Movoto started with a list of 950 cities with populations between 30,000 and 80,000, ranking them based on median household income and median home value. It then threw in nine additional categories to compose its final list.

Here are the categories used to rank America's richest small cities:

  • High-end fine dining establishments per capita
  • Designer clothing retailers per capita
  • Luxe jewelry stores per capita
  • Luxury car dealers per capita
  • Country clubs per capita
  • Cosmetic surgeons per capita
  • Distance to nearest polo field
  • Distance to nearest yacht club
  • Distance to nearest private airport

Movoto's list of the richest small cities in America actually includes 11 small cities, since there's a two-way tie for 10th place.

1. Bethesda, Maryland

Bethesda was first in terms of closest distance to a polo field (eight miles), second in distance to private jet facilities (six miles), and third in terms of really expensive clothing retailers per capita.

2. Palo Alto, California

Palo Alto came in first for its number of cosmetic surgeons per capita. The city also placed second for luxury car dealerships.

3. McLean, Virginia

McLean placed first in the luxe jewelry stores per capita category, which is a little disconcerting when you consider taxpayers pay the salaries of many of this city's residents.

4. Redondo Beach, California

In addition to placing first in terms of yacht club distance, Redondo Beach was fourth overall for both high-end clothing retailers per capita and distance to private jet facilities.

5. Menlo Park, California

Menlo Park's best finish was for high-end jewelry stores, where it placed second overall. Luxe fine dining was a close third, as was distance to the nearest yacht club.

6. Lexington, Massachusetts

At just five miles from the town center, Lexington placed first for distance to private jet facilities and came in second for high-end fine dining overall. It ranked 22nd for cosmetic surgeons.

7. Brentwood, Tennessee

Brentwood has more luxury car dealers per capita than anywhere else in our 25 wealthiest small cities — to the tune of one for every 6,176 people.

8. Foster City, California

Foster City's best rankings came in yacht club distance, proximity to private jet facilities, and luxury car dealers per capita.

9. Rancho Palos Verdes, California

Residents can spend their money on fine dining here as nowhere else, since Rancho Palos Verdes ranked first overall for hyper-expensive cuisine.

10 (tie). Laguna Niguel, California

Where Laguna Niguel fared best was in distance to the nearest polo field and a fifth-place finish for both its number of luxury car dealers per capita and distance to the nearest yacht club.

10 (tie). Hoboken, New Jersey

What pushed Hoboken into the top 10 was a generally great performance across the board: The city placed no lower than 12th in any single criterion.

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