Where do the top one percent live? Not actually possible, using IRS data, according to a Brookings Institution researcher. But his study did find out where the top three percent live.
Unsurprisingly they are predominantly found in metropolitan areas and even less surprising, a disproportionate number of them can be found in the exclusive enclaves in the canyons of Manhattan, New York, according to a Brookings study released Oct. 31.
The report states that, Internal Revenue Service data shows that the top 1 percent are largely executives, managers or financial professionals, while smaller numbers are doctors or lawyers. But because the IRS data suppresses the locations of many of the very highest-income households, it isn't actually possible to say where the top 1 percent live.
At the website managed by Howard Wial, a fellow for the Metropolitan Policy Program at the Brookings Institution, who directs the Brookings' Metropolitan Economy Initiative, a further drill-down on the data pinpoints the New York Metropolitian area as the one with the largest number of very high-income households, his report notes. Nearly 12 percent of top-income households live in the New York region, compared to about 7 percent of all households, he explains, adding that second place goes to Los Angeles, with about 5 percent of the very rich.
And that isn't even the very rich. The cutoff for the top three percent in 2008 was a meager $200,000 per tax-filer for adjusted gross income, which means all your income less educator expenses, business expenses, health savings account, moving expenses, half the self-employment tax, alimony--but not your mortgage interest, property taxes and charitable deductions. The cut-off for top 1 percent was $380,354 in 2008.
When you parse the data further, to the zip code level, here's what you find, he notes: The largest number of very rich households is 10023 on the Upper West Side of Manhattan, with 7,621 such households. That zip code, plus one other on the Upper West Side, one on the Upper East Side of Manhattan, and the Washington suburb of Potomac, Maryland, each have about 0.2 percent of all the nation's very high-income households.
Rounding out the 20 zip codes with the most very high-income households are several in Manhattan (on the Upper East and Upper West Sides, Midtown East, and Greenwich Village), the New York suburb of Scarsdale, Chicago's Lincoln Park, Cupertino in Silicon Valley, the Houston suburb of Sugar Land, part of Houston's west side, the Chicago suburb of Barrington, Princeton, a suburban area north of San Diego, and the Washington suburb of Bethesda, Maryland.
But not Wall Street, itself. Not enough of the uber-rich live where they work.