Society & Culture

This is the richest town in Vermont

by Samuel Stebbins, 24/7 Wall St., via The Center Square

With a $23.3 trillion economy – accounting for nearly a quarter of global economic output in 2021 – the United States is the wealthiest country in the world by a wide margin. But despite its economic strength, the U.S. is also home to some of the world’s highest levels of income inequality. According to the World Bank, the wealth gap between the rich and poor in the U.S. is more pronounced than in China, Russia, or any highly developed European country with available data.

The latest available figures from the U.S. Census Bureau show that more than 41 million Americans live below the poverty line, which for a single household, for example, means (in most of the country) living on an annual income of $14,580 or less. Meanwhile, at the other end of the spectrum, nearly 12.5 million American households earn more than $200,000 a year, and over 23% of all income in the U.S. is controlled by the top 5% of households by earnings.

Not only concentrated in the hands of a relative few, wealth is also geographically concentrated in the United States. Across the country, there are communities defined, at least in part, by their affluence – wealthy enclaves where incomes far exceed that of the average American household.

Of all places in Vermont with populations between 1,000 and 25,000, Woodstock ranks as the wealthiest. The average household income in the town stands at $127,822, about $38,000 more than the statewide average.

Wikipedia says of Woodstock:

“The Woodstock Railroad opened to White River Junction on September 29, 1875, carrying freight and tourists. The Woodstock Inn [second building of that name, in photo above) opened in 1892.

“The Industrial Revolution helped the town grow prosperous. The economy is now largely driven by tourism. Woodstock has the 20th highest per-capita income of Vermont towns as reported by the United States Census, and a high percentage of homes owned by non-residents. The town’s central square, called the Green, is bordered by restored late Georgian, Federal Style, and Greek Revival houses.

The cost of real estate in the district adjoining the Green is among the highest in the state. The seasonal presence of wealthy second-home owners from cities such as Boston and New York has contributed to the town’s economic vitality and livelihood, while at the same time diminished its accessibility to native Vermonters.”

All data in this story are five-year estimates from the U.S. Census Bureau’s 2021 American Community Survey. For the purposes of this story, all places covered by the census with populations between 1,000 and 25,000 were considered towns. 

Richest town by stateAvg. household income in town ($)Avg. household income in state ($)Median home value in town ($)Median home value in state ($)
Alabama: Mountain Brook249,81876,150697,800157,100
Alaska: Steele Creek151,203103,258274,900282,800
Arizona: Paradise Valley359,52289,6931,778,000265,600
Arkansas: Goshen192,35973,346447,300142,100
California: Atherton539,944119,1492,000,000+573,200
Colorado: Cherry Hills Village464,068107,4462,000,000+397,500
Connecticut: Tokeneke611,239120,6702,000,000+286,700
Delaware: Rehoboth Beach255,75597,0811,186,900269,700
Florida: Palm Beach332,76488,2671,523,100248,700
Georgia: Druid Hills209,78591,082698,000206,700
Hawaii: Kaanapali223,037113,3101,317,100662,100
Idaho: Hidden Spring180,78383,777523,400266,500
Illinois: Winnetka417,007100,7191,123,700212,600
Indiana: Meridian Hills278,87881,703554,900158,500
Iowa: Kent Estates172,59084,948314,700160,700
Kansas: Mission Hills444,34687,033963,400164,800
Kentucky: Anchorage305,11876,511707,100155,100
Louisiana: Des Allemands139,76177,025122,800174,000
Maine: Falmouth Foreside204,66983,914581,300212,100
Maryland: Chevy Chase Village489,515120,2341,938,800338,500
Massachusetts: Dover432,571123,1741,020,700424,700
Michigan: Orchard Lake Village355,00885,727727,100172,100
Minnesota: Orono306,372102,691766,700250,200
Mississippi: Pleasant Hill187,02968,636269,500133,000
Missouri: Ladue384,81583,152844,700171,800
Montana: Helena Valley Northeast142,82582,237373,500263,700
Nebraska: Hickman119,08187,815224,500174,100
Nevada: Incline Village198,21489,5621,042,700315,900
New Hampshire: Hanover184,742108,061610,900288,700
New Jersey: Short Hills428,352124,6261,389,900355,700
New Mexico: Las Campanas246,73774,3631,075,900184,800
New York: Brookville617,173111,5832,000,000+340,600
North Carolina: Biltmore Forest317,80284,8881,074,500197,500
North Dakota: Horace188,25589,443378,700209,900
Ohio: Coldstream371,20983,820623,000159,900
Oklahoma: Nichols Hills337,25778,040740,200150,800
Oregon: Dunthorpe428,60194,0341,347,400362,200
Pennsylvania: Messiah College390,36392,849N/A197,300
Rhode Island: Charlestown134,74097,908425,700292,600
South Carolina: Kiawah Island366,39281,1421,442,000181,800
South Dakota: Dakota Dunes166,30483,175376,900187,800
Tennessee: Belle Meade434,84882,0121,662,100193,700
Texas: Hunters Creek Village477,85294,1151,846,200202,600
Utah: East Basin281,879101,412839,500339,700
Vermont: Woodstock127,82289,820480,400240,600
Virginia: Great Falls353,259111,0131,134,900295,500
Washington: Yarrow Point410,703111,4312,000,000+397,600
West Virginia: Shenandoah Junction169,13569,436162,400128,800
Wisconsin: River Hills283,36987,733637,900200,400
Wyoming: Hoback195,16187,786930,700237,900

Samuel Stebbins is the assistant managing editor for 24/7 Wall St. and is based in New York City. He has been a data journalist since 2015, primarily covering news and finance.

Categories: Society & Culture

13 replies »

  1. You will not find a town in Vermont with more self righteous, authoritarian, leftist, progreSSIve Democrats than Woodstock, Vermont. The Ukraine, LGBTQP, BLM flags and Planned Parenthood lawn signs adorn every yard. The town in 99 percent white and super wealthy. The only people of color are waiting on the white overlords at the Woodstock Inn and Country Club. Of course there are the diminishing number of white serfs taking care of these pampered prima donnas in their second and third homes. Neither black or white serfs can afford to live in Woodstock unless it is in the flood zone trailer park by the river. Spend any amount of time in Woodstock and you will detect the pungent odor of hypocrisy. The strongest odor can be found emenating from home of Vermont State Senator Alison Clarkson(D) who lives in the most prestigious part if town.

    • Wasn’t the bill S39 introduced in the senate by none other than Alison Clarkson? This bill would increase her legislative salary to $1000/wk in 2025 to $1210/wk in 2027. Also health insurance perks and increased travel, meals and lodging perks. The town of Woodstock population has an average income of $127,822 per household and here is Alison Clarkson like Oliver Twist asking, “can I have more?” Many thanks to Ruth Hardy who also pushed S39. Will they ever get enough?

  2. I can’t believe this manipulation of numbers is up to the WSJ standard. What is the US poverty line after all the programs of support supplied as non cash, refund or subsidy – and not counted above.
    People around the world want to come here to take their chances to succeed and earn their little piece of Vermont or other desirable place to live.

    • Not the WSJ. He writes for another rag with “Wall St” in the name. And you’re right.

  3. Considering these figures were based on 2021 information, a lot of financial damage to the middle class pushes that poverty figure much higher now. The old saying, those with the most, stand the most to lose is about to get real for a lot of those folks in the high end bracket. The billionaires are now going after the millionaires. There is no honor among theives.

  4. I guess it all depends on what you consider wealth to be….I grew up for a time in a home that had an outhouse, I climbed a ladder to get to my bed, we cooked and heat our water for baths on a wood stove. After our barn choirs morning and night we sat down as a family around the table and thanked the lord for the food, no matter how meager we ate…I got my hair cut from my foster father who was no barber believe me. I usually cried when he was done because of all the bald spots I had after…and of course all the kids at school laughed at me…I usually went to school with cow manure on my clothes, cause after choirs and breakfast I was off to school with no second set of cloths…and you know what. I wouldn’t have changed any of it today if I had the chance to go back and do so…..Living poor or hand to mouth just makes you appreciate life more. I’ve never sought out wealth in a monetary form and I’ve never recieved it nor have I ever mourned the lack of it….Wealth is nothing more than a perspective. I have a roof over my head and the ability to grow food and if need be raise livestock…What more could a person want. Most of the world population has far less than I have and I don’t spend sleepless nights worrying about how to maintain or grow my bank account or stock portfolio-:)

  5. It’s sad when people don’t have a firm grasp of the English language!
    In the lead up to the article…it states that the “ median” property value is “$480,000” ?
    The median…is the halfway point between the highest and lowest amounts concerning a group of figures . With some properties being well over 8 million or such in Woodstock , the median would be over 4 MILLION !!!
    Know what words mean before you use them .

    • Before you criticize, you should check your information. Although sources vary somewhat, they all have Woodstock’s median home values between $450,000 and $550,000. What numbers are you using to get a median value of 4 million? any particular source?

  6. Not to be a pedant here, but the median is not the mid-way point between the highest and lowest. It’s a number where half of all samples are less than it and the other half of all samples are more than it. In a sparse dataset, it can wiggle a bit, but it’s a probabilistic tool.

  7. This is not news to any Vermonter over forty. Woodstock has been the richest town in the state for a long time. To state, as some commenters have, that the liberals, i.e., “authoritarian, leftist, progressive Democrats,” are to blame bespeaks a shallow understanding of the state’s social and political history. Most of the wealth possessed and displayed in Woodstock and elsewhere in Vermont was variously gotten (ill- or well-) by Republican businessmen, who were the power in the state ages before and since Woodstock yards sported their first Black Lives Matter signs. (Oh, yes; I love Vermont, not least because a neighbor of mine, a rock-ribbed Republican and fervid Trump supporter, flies a Trump 2024 banner right next to his Ukrainian flag. We aren’t bound to any foolish consistencies here (take THAT, Mr Ralph Waldo Emerson). Anyway, Democrats have wielded power in this state for a very short time. Phil Hoff was the first Democrat elected governor and that was fifty years ago—not an epoch by any means. (Also, on another tack: “median” does not mean “halfway.”) It’s quite apparent that there is still great prosperity in Woodstock and lots of other places in Our Fair State, and plenty of showplace properties and such (the Woodstock Inn, a notable stage set all by itself; Twin Farms in neighboring Barnard, which is, I believe, the most expensive hostelry in much of the USA, etc.) and there are also plenty of moderately-endowed folks and even (gasp) poor people . . . But to declare that because a town has rich people in it must mean that the whole town is a den of leftist iniquity seems like a reach. And to state, as if it were hot news, that there is actually inequity in Vermont (as in, I dunno, everywhere on the planet?) seems a tad disingenuous. But then, some folks need to vent about their particular bugbears and will do it given any opportunity, however slight.

    • Thank you Gina for explaining some of the history of Woodstock to the readers who are not informed and like to point fingers without knowledge.
      Most people don’t know the influence of the Rockefeller family in Woodstock and immediate area.
      John D Rockefeller (Republican capitalist and Industrial Revolution spearhead) and his descendants owned/own 72 properties in Woodstock including the Woodstock Inn and suicide six ski area.
      I was fortunate to have met John’s fourth son, Laurence Rockefeller, in Woodstock in the late 1990’s while working at one of their properties.
      Vermont has many “gold towns” no different than every other state in America.