The Most Successful City In Each State

by Kathy Morris
Study - 11 months ago

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What is success?

When you close your eyes and picture success, you probably see a lot of the traditional trappings: nice house, new car, a well-paying job, or maybe you picture walking across the stage at a college graduation. For better or worse, most people’s status revolves around their job and how much they have in their bank account. Of course, finances are heavily impacted by where you live.

It made us wonder: What are the most successful cities in each state? So, we decided for the second year running to measure the city best for success in each state.

Further down we explain how we quantified success and have a breakdown of all 50 states.

First, let’s check out the 10 most successful cities in the US.

  1. Floris, VA
  2. Glencoe, IL
  3. Ladue, MO
  4. West University Place, TX
  5. Cochituate, MA
  6. South Kensington, MD
  7. The Village of Indian Hill, OH
  8. Old Greenwich, CT
  9. Forest Hills, TN
  10. Mill Valley, CA

If success is contagious, these are the 10 best cities to catch it. Your state not in the top? Scroll down to see where the most successful city in your state is.

Curious how your city didn’t (or didn’t!) get a spot in the hallowed top 10? Read on to see our process.


We used data from the Census’ 2013-2017 American Community Survey PUMS dataset to pull data for cities in all 50 states.

Each city was then ranked in three categories:

  • Median income
  • Unemployment rate
  • Education rate (percent of residents over age of 25 with a bachelor’s degree)

Each city was ranked on a scale of 1 to the number of cities in each state. We then averaged the three areas to produce an individual index. The lower the score the better.
The top 10 was produced from among the 50 states. For example, because Glencoe, IL was number #1 for its state, no other city from Illinois could make the top 10.

Here is a detailed breakdown of the triumphant 10.


Median income: $198,068
Unemployment rate:0.8%
Education rate: 83.1%
Floris is the #1 most successful city in the nation. The Virginian city is a suburb within an hour’s drive to the nation’s capital Washington, D.C, making it a great location for those who dig city living or rural life.

Floris was #2 last year, but jumped this year to the #1 spot.

With a median income just short of $200k and unemployment in decimals, it’s no surprise that Floris is topping the list.

2. Glencoe, IL

Median income: $203,235
Unemployment rate: 1.2%
Education rate: 86.8%

Another suburb of a large city, Glencoe comes in at #2.

The city may have dropped from last year’s crown spot, but life in Glencoe is still good. With a median income over $200k, we doubt any tears are being shed over the drop.

Glencoe is a prime location for those seeking proximity to Chicago with all the trappings of an affluent suburban life.


Median income: $203,250
Unemployment rate: 1.2%
Education rate: 83.1%
Ladue is another affluent suburb, just a hop away from a major city.

Ladue is just 30 minutes outside of St. Louis, one of the major centers of industry in the midwest.

With a high median income and a large percentage of highly educated adults, Ladue is the perfect home for commuters.

4. West University Place, TX


Source:Wikipedia User WhisperToMe

Median income: $243,226
Unemployment rate: 2.2%
Education rate: 86.5%
A thrown stone away from Houston, West University Place comes in at #4.

West University Place has the highest median income in the top 10, making it an especially sweet spot for success.

5. Cochituate, MA


Source:Wikipedia User John Phelan

Median income: $143,712
Unemployment rate: 1.4%
Education rate: 79.2%

The little town of Cochituate is a successful suburb of Boston.

A median income of $143,712, low unemployment of 1.4%, and a highly educated population, mean life is swell in Cochituate.

6. South Kensington, MD


Source: Wikipedia User Famartin

Median income: $160,303
Unemployment rate: 1.8%
Education rate: 77.9%

South Kensington is only 10 miles away from Washington, DC, making it the second DC suburb to make the list.

With a lower median income, South Kensington might be a great choice for those who can’t swing Floris.

7. The Village of Indian Hill, OH

Median income: $215,679
Unemployment rate: 2.6%
Education rate: 86.7%

Indian Hill is a prosperous Cincinnati suburb.

The word village gives you the right feel for Indian Hill, this cozy city has a small town feel that surely appeals to its residents.

8. Old Greenwich, CT


Source:Wikipedia User Jerry Dougherty

Median income: $236,250
Unemployment rate: 2.7%
Education rate: 79.1%
The New York city suburb offers its residents a dense suburban feel and more affordable cost of living than NYC.

Old Greenwich’s (mostly) working residents pull in $236,250 a year. That’s nice.

9. Forest Hills, TN


Source:Wikipedia User Skye Marthaler

Median income: $193,281
Unemployment rate: 2.7%
Education rate: 79.3%
If you like country music and success, Forest Hills is a great place to be.

Forest Hills’ residents enjoy a high quality of living and close proximity to the heart of Nashville.

10. Mill Valley, CA


Source: Wikipedia User Frank Schulenburg

Median income: $141,698
Unemployment rate: 2.3%
Education rate: 75.7%

Mill Valley is the perfect home for commuting into San Francisco. Only 14 miles and the Golden Gate Bridge away, a nice chunk of Mill Valley residents commute to the Bay City.

Regardless of which city they work in, on average, the highly educated residents are doing pretty good.

Summary Of Our Findings

There you have it- the ten most successful cities in the US. They all have one glaring thing in common, close proximity to a large metro area. If you want to “catch” success, living within sneezing distance of major city may give you an edge. Success is a complicated term and can’t only be summed up by career standing. However, residents of these cities have a nice income, education to weather economic circumstances, and low unemployment rates- which is a great place to be in for financial success.

Check out the full list below to see the most successful city in your state:

State City Median Income Education Rate (%)
Alabama Mountain Brook $132,825 85
Alaska Chena Ridge $97,464 56
Arizona Paradise Valley $175,673 73
Arkansas Bentonville $79,259 50
California Mill Valley $141,698 76
Colorado Cherry Hills Village $238,750 81
Connecticut Old Greenwich $236,250 79
Delaware North Star $141,618 68
Florida Pelican Bay $127,361 69
Georgia Druid Hills $94,141 84
Hawaii East Honolulu $120,233 57
Idaho Eagle $81,909 45
Illinois Glencoe $203,235 87
Indiana Zionsville $127,152 70
Iowa Waukee $91,875 54
Kansas Leawood $151,446 76
Kentucky Edgewood $93,958 53
Louisiana Oak Hills Place $85,457 64
Maine North Windham $71,223 33
Maryland South Kensington $160,303 78
Massachusetts Cochituate $143,712 79
Michigan Huntington Woods $125,873 80
Minnesota Medina $138,125 63
Mississippi Madison $103,121 65
Missouri Ladue $203,250 83
Montana Helena Valley West Central $73,239 31
Nebraska Gretna $76,548 43
Nevada Incline Village $81,717 55
New Hampshire Hanover $97,422 82
New Jersey Woodcliff Lake $161,250 73
New Mexico Los Alamos $101,399 66
New York Lawrence $129,609 75
North Carolina Weddington $133,262 62
North Dakota West Fargo $76,925 40
Ohio The Village of Indian Hill $215,679 87
Oklahoma Piedmont $85,577 46
Oregon Bull Mountain $108,324 52
Pennsylvania Upper St. Clair $116,701 69
Rhode Island Cumberland Hill $83,168 38
South Carolina Five Forks $109,781 62
South Dakota Harrisburg $80,648 46
Tennessee Forest Hills $193,281 79
Texas West University Place $243,226 87
Utah Park City $104,182 65
Vermont South Burlington $66,197 54
Virginia Floris $198,068 83
Washington Bothell East $122,039 59
West Virginia Cheat Lake $87,125 53
Wisconsin Fox Point $118,281 76
Wyoming Jackson $75,406 50
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