By David Rogers and Michele Dargan
Palm Beach Daily News Staff Writers
Palm Beach tops the list of the 10 richest ZIP codes in America, according to a new Bloomberg Businessweek.com report.
The publication reports that data company Gadberry Group of Little Rock, Ark., reviewed all ZIP codes in the country with more than 100 households and ranked them by average income and household net worth.
Rounding out the top 10 are: (from second to 10th) Old Westbury, N.Y.; Kenilworth, Ill.; Beverly Hills, Calif.; Portola Valley, Calif.; Los Angeles, Calif. (90077); Gladwyne, Pa.; Purchase, N.Y.; Los Altos, Calif.; and Santa Monica, Calif.
The survey’s focus on primary residences served to eliminate the Hamptons and Aspen, where many of the homes are second homes, according to the report. Although a number of Palm Beachers also live in Manhattan, that area did not make the list because it has a wider range of income earners, according to Businessweek.com. Estimates for Palm Beach include some part-year residents, the report says.
The high ranking of ZIP code 33480 does not surprise Laurel Baker, president of the Palm Beach Chamber of Commerce.
“I don’t think there are any communities in the country that have, within a three-block-wide area and a 14-mile stretch, the level of service and conveniences and beauty, and cultural amenities and fine dining you have in Palm Beach,” Baker said.
The availability of medical services in town, provided by a primary care physician, a dermatologist and rehabilitation center, is another reason Palm Beach is a highly desirable place to live, Baker said. The business climate and community safety are also key factors, Baker said.
Mayor Gail Coniglio agrees.
“It doesn’t surprise me because of what the island is and what the island offers,” Coniglio said. “It’s the quality of life, the beauty, the safety and security that draws a person here who’s reached the point in their life that they want to enjoy that same peaceful quality that’s our paradise. It’s a magnificent place to live. We’re lucky to attract those people who’ve been so successful in their life. Our residents are the most giving, generous and most sharing of their time, talent and treasures in giving back to others less blessed — and they’re more than willing to give back.”
Town Council President David Rosow is skeptical of the findings.
“If their data is correct that’s really interesting news,” Rosow said. “However, Bloomberg has been known to make errors and recently claimed that the Federal Reserve lent banks $7.7 trillion, a figure that I believe has been widely disparaged. It’s difficult to include some second residences when I know some of these same people have homes in Aspen, the Hamptons and elsewhere. The publicity is only good for Palm Beach if it increases real estate values and helps eliminate the overhang of unsold homes and condominiums.”
Twenty-four Palm Beachers made this year’s Forbes list of the top 400 richest Americans. The only Palm Beacher to make the top 10 was industrialist David Koch, who tied at number four with his brother Charles, of Wichita, Kan., both having an estimated net worth of $25 billion.
To see the full report, visit: http://images.businessweek.com/slideshows/20111206/america-s-richest-zip-codes-2011/?campaign_id=lifestyle_related