The Philly Region Is Home to a Surprising Number of Six-Figure Earners

A new study shows that the metro area ranks high for the number of people earning at least $100,000 in income. Meanwhile, the city has one of the country’s biggest income gaps.

Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, USA downtown city skyline. Sean Pavone | iStock

The Philadelphia metro area ranks high nationwide for its number of six-figure earners, according to a new study from the financial technology company SmartAsset.

The study analyzed IRS data from 2016 to find the places with the most six-figure earners. Researchers specifically looked at the number of tax returns with income greater than $100,000 and compared that figure to the total number of tax returns.

The total number of tax returns with six-figure incomes in the Philadelphia-Camden-Wilmington metro area is 618,670 of 2,910,020 total returns, or, about 21.2 percent of tax returns from the region had six-figure incomes.

The Philadelphia region ranked 14th just behind the New York-Newark-Jersey City metro area, where 21.6 percent of tax returns had six-figure incomes. And just behind Philadelphia is the Austin-Round Rock metro area where 21.1 percent of tax returns had six-figure incomes.

The top 12 regions with the most six-figure earners and their percentage of tax returns with six-figure incomes are:

1. San Jose-Sunnyvale-Santa Clara, CA | 34.6
2. San Francisco-Oakland-Hayward, CA | 30.9
3. Bridgeport-Stamford-Norwalk, CT | 28.9
4. Washington-Arlington-Alexandria, DC-VA-MD-WV | 27.8
5. Seattle-Tacoma-Bellevue, WA | 26
6. Boston-Cambridge-Newton, MA-NH | 25.5
7. Raleigh, NC | 23
8. Hartford-West Hartford-East Hartford, CT | 22.9
9. Baltimore-Columbia-Towson, MD | 22.6
10. Minneapolis-St. Paul-Bloomington, MN-WI | 22.5
11. Oxnard-Thousand Oaks-Ventura, CA | 21.96
12. Denver-Aurora-Lakewood, CO | 21.7

The study concluded that money is still on the coasts. Only one centrally located metro area — Minneapolis — is in the top ten. In addition, the study’s results show “you have to spend money to make money,” researchers wrote. “Earning six figures in San Jose, California is not the same as earning six figures somewhere more affordable. All the places that rank in this top 10 can be considered high-cost-of living areas.”

As Philly ranks high for its number of six-figure earners, it also has the country’s third worse income gap, where the average household in Philly’s top five percent had $319,400 in income, about eight times that of the city’s median household income of $39,800. More on that here.

To see the complete SmartAsset study, click here.