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Colorado Is the Best State for Rich People, Study Says

Colorado Is the Best State for Rich People, Study Says
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A new study ranks Colorado as the top state in the country for high earners and affluent families, also known as rich people.

The analysis was conducted by RewardExpert, which describes itself as "a free service that helps users take full advantage of credit card and travel rewards." And while its rankings pertain to the wealthiest among us, the firm has made an effort to include information of help to folks who are merely well off, too.

The top 1 percent of earners were actually excluded from the data used for the study in favor of those whose individual or household incomes fall within the 2-25 percent range. That roughly covers individuals who make between $125,000 and $250,000 per annum and families whose household incomes fall within the $200,000-$500,000 range.

Why did Colorado wind up in the number-one position? According to RewardExpert communications director Kaja Olcott, corresponding via email, a key factor was the state's "lowest-in-the-nation property tax assessment ratios for residential property. This, in conjunction with low income tax rates and high average wages makes the state particularly hospitable to high earners."


Has the flood of new residents to Colorado over the past couple of years played a part in the high ranking? "This is unclear," Olcott maintains. "But rising property values due to the population influx led to favorable policies, and with tax revenues increasing due to legalized recreational marijuana, it looks like these policies are sustainable."

Olcott acknowledges that "housing prices have skyrocketed across the state, from the Front Range and Denver through the Colorado Springs corridor. But in the high plains, property values are still quite low. If you can afford the price, Colorado is a bargain due to low yearly tax bills."

The rich aren't the only ones likely to get a boost from the Colorado economy, in Olcott's view. She believes "an expanding tax base could allow the benefits to work their way down to lower earners." If things turn sour, though, "lower income residents could easily be priced out of the market, leading to labor shortages and other employment related woes."

Not that Olcott is downbeat about the future of Colorado for those with significant means. The factors that make the state the most attractive current destination for the well-heeled "appear to be built to last for at least the near term," she allows, "as long as revenues from taxes can meet the need of sustainable development."

Continue to count down the ten states considered the best for high earners and affluent families, with bullet points from the original study, followed by the methodology, complete with source links.
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Michael Roberts has written for Westword since October 1990, serving stints as music editor and media columnist. He currently covers everything from breaking news and politics to sports and stories that defy categorization.
Contact: Michael Roberts