California Is Nation’s Wealthiest State, But Net Worth Varies Widely Across ZIP Codes: Report

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Credit: California Legislative Analyst's Office
Credit: California Legislative Analyst’s Office

With more than $6 trillion in net worth, California is easily the wealthiest state in the U.S. But affluence is concentrated along the coasts, according to a state analysis released Thursday.

While the $6 trillion averages out to a net worth of about $160,000 per resident, the average Bay Area ZIP code has a net worth of more than $450,000 per resident, while in the San Joaquin Valley that figure sits at just $60,000 per resident, the state Legislative Analyst’s Office report says.

In fact, the net worth in the San Joaquin Valley’s wealthiest ZIP code — $320,000 per resident — is well below that of an average Bay Area ZIP code.

Also among the wealthiest areas are Los Angeles, Orange and San Diego counties.

More than two-thirds of California’s wealth is held in the 300 wealthiest ZIP codes, while the 30 wealthiest account for 20% of the net worth but only 2% of the population.

Credit: California Legislative Analyst's Office
Credit: California Legislative Analyst’s Office

Of the state’s 1,650 ZIP codes, the 30 wealthiest have the same net worth as the 1,200 least wealthy.

While the higher value of homes in coastal areas does contribute to their higher net worth, the analysis found most of the wealth is in those areas is held in assets like stocks, bonds and rental real estate.

Disparity can be seen even within the most wealthy areas. While net worth per resident exceeds $1.5 million in 11 Bay Area ZIP codes, it falls below $50,000 per resident in about 15% of the region’s ZIP codes.

The report also found that high-wealth tend to cluster together, as do low-wealth ZIP codes.

The analysis is based on data from 2014 to 2016.

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