DC Area Has Highest Average Salary in US

So Wait, We're All Rich Now?

By Carissa DiMargo
|  Wednesday, Oct 19, 2011  |  Updated 3:23 PM EDT
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Put on your diamond-encrusted sweater, grab your solid gold iPad, and check this out:

"The U.S. capital has swapped top spots with Silicon Valley, according to recent Census Bureau figures, with the typical household in the Washington metro area earning $84,523 last year," Bloomberg reports. "The national median income for 2010 was $50,046."

That's right, it turns out we're all rich! 

Bloomberg is associating a lot of the regional wealth with all the federal employees, government contractors, lawyers and lobbyists milling around here.

"Total compensation for federal workers, including health care and other benefits, last year averaged $126,369, compared with $122,697 in 2009," Bloomberg reports.

But remember, that's including healthcare, which is not actually counted as one's take-home salary. So your mileage, and your five-car garages, may vary -- especially because the poverty rate in the District is 19.9 percent, Poverty & Policy reported.

The area's apparent largess actually illustrates a widening gap between the haves and the have-nots, whether those have-nots are actually right here in D.C. or not.

"There’s a gap that's isolating Washington from the reality of the rest of the country," Kevin Zeese, director of Balitmore-based advocacy group Prosperity Agenda, told Bloomberg. "They just get more and more out of touch."

On the flip side, government salaries have helped the region cope with the financial slump better than many other areas.

Not only are many people here making more money, but they also tend to have jobs in general -- any jobs. In August, the Metro area's unemployment rate was 6.1 percent, Bloomberg reports. It was 3 percent higher nationwide.

So, folks, we hope you have a great time on that cruise to Tahiti, and don't forget to tip your butlers on the way out.
 


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