President Barack Obama's plan to have the wealthy pay more in taxes would likely affect San Mateo County residents more than those in any other part of the Bay Area. Eight of the region's 10 richest neighborhoods are in San Mateo County, a Bay Citizen analysis of income statistics released last month by the Census Bureau shows.
The president used his State of the Union message Tuesday night to call on America's wealthiest residents to pay more in taxes, trumpeting a "Buffett rule," named after financier Warren Buffett, designed to prevent the rich from paying taxes at a lower rate than middle class residents.
“We can either settle for a country where a shrinking number of people do really well, while a growing number of Americans barely get by," Obama told a joint session of Congress, "or we can restore an economy where everyone gets a fair shot, and everyone does their fair share, and everyone plays by the same set of rules."
Wealthy residents of a Menlo Park neighborhood just north of Sand Hill Road, where many Silicon Valley venture capital firms are located, had the highest incomes in the Bay Area. The richest 5 percent of households in that neighborhood made $1.8 million a year on average.
That was followed by an Atherton census tract west of El Camino Real; a neighborhood in Saratoga; a section of Woodside above Interstate 280; and a neighborhood in Hillsborough. In each of those areas, the richest 5 percent of households took in roughly $1.7 million a year.
The next-wealthiest areas were San Francisco's Presidio Heights, where the richest 5 percent had an average annual income of $1.47 million; San Mateo County's Hillsborough Heights; a section of Woodside below 280; and western Burlingame, where the richest 5 percent of households made $1.4 million a year.
The wooded San Mateo County enclave of Portola Valley rounded out the top 10, with the richest 5 percent of households making $1.35 million a year.
The median household income in California is $60,000 a year. Click on the map below to see the average income for each area, how much the richest 5 percent in that area make, and the median income for the surrounding county. Zoom out to see information for the entire state.
Map and analysis are based on the Census Bureau's American Community Survey five-year estimates, 2005-2010. Earnings of the richest 5 percent are the mean income of the wealthiest 5 percent of households in each tract. The richest 5 percent's share of income refers to the share of all income in each census tract earned by the top 5 percent of households.
This map was created using data from tables B19082, B19081, B19013 and P1 retrieved through the U.S. Census Bureau's FactFinder utility. Because some census tracts had no data in tables B19081 or B19082, not all tracts are featured on the map. You can view the complete data set here.