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Invasion of the Rich People: Colorado's Wealthiest Counties

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Recent research reveals that Colorado is among the most popular states in the country for big-bucks transplants — and plenty of them are relocating to the Mile High City. But when it comes to overall wealth, the counties that make up metro Denver continue to trail well behind mountain-resort areas that have long attracted the rich and fabulous from beyond the state's borders.

That's among the results of a new study from the financial website SmartAsset that aims to identify the wealthiest counties in the U.S., as well as in each individual state. The findings, based on 2022 data, reveal that Pitkin County, anchored by Aspen, not only bests the competition in the state by a considerable margin, but finishes as the fourth-richest in all of America, behind only Teton in Wyoming; New York, New York; and San Mateo in California.

These stats build on an earlier SmartAsset report about the states where high-earning households are relocating. Among destinations for individuals on the move with incomes of $200,000-plus (a bracket occupied by only about 7 percent of tax filers), Colorado finished seventh in the nation, with a net gain of 2,624 people in this category during 2020, the latest year for which numbers were available.

But this phenomenon continues, according to an August story in Bloomberg headlined "Denver Draws Rich Financiers With $12 Million Lofts, $175 Sushi Menus: Colorado’s capital has transformed from a city in decline into a magnet for the affluent."

To determine the wealthiest counties in these United States, SmartAsset uses three main metrics: per capita investment income, median home value and per capita income. Pitkin bests all other Colorado counties by each of these measures, so it's no surprise that it does so when they're combined. And while the assorted rosters shift a bit from category to category, counties consistently close to the top of the lists include Eagle, home to Vail; San Miguel, where Telluride is located; Routt, distinguished by Steamboat Springs; and Summit, renowned for Breckenridge and other ski towns.

As for the metro area, Boulder County lands in sixth place for wealth as a whole in Colorado, followed by Douglas County. Only then does Denver County register, with Broomfield and Ouray close behind.

Continue to see the figures for Colorado's ten wealthiest counties, complete with figures for per capita investment income, median home value and per capita income.

Pitkin County
Per capita investment income: $102,439
Median home value: $782,357
Per capita income: $155,067

Eagle County
Per capita investment income: $42,623
Median home value: $714,270
Per capita income: $87,872

San Miguel County
Per capita investment income: $40,373
Median home value: $608,838
Per capita income: $93,954

Routt County
Per capita investment income: $35,213
Median home value: $679,973
Per capita income: $85,836

Summit County
Per capita investment income: $24,537
Median home value: $736,246
Per capita income: $77,754

Boulder County
Per capita investment income: $25,592
Median home value: $715,517
Per capita income: $79,649

Douglas County
Per capita investment income: $15,981
Median home value: $659,319
Per capita income: $78,980

Denver County
Per capita investment income: $24,262
Median home value: $563,924
Per capita income: $85,411

Broomfield County
Per capita investment income: $12,124
Median home value: $606,140
Per capita income: $67,495

Ouray County
Per capita investment income: $16,774
Median home value: $570,349
Per capita income: $67,263
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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

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