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Old 02-05-2014, 07:17 PM
 
Location: South Beach and DT Raleigh
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This would only be interesting to me if the incomes were normalized for costs of living among the various zip codes. Sure there are going to be higher incomes in DC and NYC but do they really mean as much as lesser incomes in other cities or are people just paid higher salaries to compensate for the costs of living?
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Old 02-05-2014, 09:30 PM
 
Location: Oakland, CA
27,165 posts, read 29,650,120 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by rnc2mbfl View Post
This would only be interesting to me if the incomes were normalized for costs of living among the various zip codes. Sure there are going to be higher incomes in DC and NYC but do they really mean as much as lesser incomes in other cities or are people just paid higher salaries to compensate for the costs of living?
The difference in these high cost metros, the super zip status is pretty precarious....
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Old 02-06-2014, 02:19 AM
 
56,531 posts, read 80,824,285 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by rnc2mbfl View Post
This would only be interesting to me if the incomes were normalized for costs of living among the various zip codes. Sure there are going to be higher incomes in DC and NYC but do they really mean as much as lesser incomes in other cities or are people just paid higher salaries to compensate for the costs of living?
I believe that is the case, as well as the educational attainment factor is taken into account too.
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Old 02-06-2014, 07:31 AM
 
Location: South Beach and DT Raleigh
11,810 posts, read 18,792,885 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by ckhthankgod View Post
I believe that is the case, as well as the educational attainment factor is taken into account too.
I didn't read anything in the article that said that income levels are normalized for costs of living.
Maybe I missed that?
Let me give you a comparison of two zips. One is a super zip and the other is not and they have to do with my family.
When I was a kid, we lived in zip 95030 (which was split and our side of it became 95032). In any case, both are super zips in the Silicon Valley. 95032 has an average income level of $118,713 and a college attainment level of 62%. The zip rating is 96%
We moved before I became a teen to zip code 27609 (which also was split and our area eventually became 27615). 27615 has an average income of $76,843 and a college attainment level of 61%. The zip rating is 89.

While the two zips have similar college attainment %'s (62 & 61) their income levels are vastly different. That said, I'd dare say that $76,843 buys you a much better lifestyle in 27615 than $118,713 buys you in 95032. Why do I say this???? Well, let's compare two homes in the area using the assistance of Zillow.
The home my parents owned in 95032 is now worth $946,257 (they bought it for $21,000). It's a cookie cutter home where every other home in the neighborhood is the same plan with a slightly different facade. It's 1769 SF and it's on a 6098 SF lot.

The home my parents bought and still own in 27615 is now worth $273,502. It's a 2176 SF house on a .29 acre lot in a two golf course country club neighborhood that includes home into the low millions. Of course, a home of the same value as the one they owned in 95032 is going to be 6,000 SF, on the golf course or a lake and have every bell and whistle you can imagine. The homes in the neighborhood are all custom built homes by many different builders and were constructed mostly in the 70s and 80s though recently released land has homes built in the last few years and there have been many tear downs on the best pieces of property in the neighborhood.

The home my parents own today can reasonably be purchased with the average income of their current zip code but I dare say that without an enormous downpayment or all cash, the house in 95032 can't be bought with its average salary.

Having experienced living in a variety of zip codes has shown me that this Super Zip methodology is pretty worthless without some normalization and adjustments.
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Old 02-06-2014, 10:42 AM
 
56,531 posts, read 80,824,285 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by rnc2mbfl View Post
I didn't read anything in the article that said that income levels are normalized for costs of living.
Maybe I missed that?
Let me give you a comparison of two zips. One is a super zip and the other is not and they have to do with my family.
When I was a kid, we lived in zip 95030 (which was split and our side of it became 95032). In any case, both are super zips in the Silicon Valley. 95032 has an average income level of $118,713 and a college attainment level of 62%. The zip rating is 96%
We moved before I became a teen to zip code 27609 (which also was split and our area eventually became 27615). 27615 has an average income of $76,843 and a college attainment level of 61%. The zip rating is 89.

While the two zips have similar college attainment %'s (62 & 61) their income levels are vastly different. That said, I'd dare say that $76,843 buys you a much better lifestyle in 27615 than $118,713 buys you in 95032. Why do I say this???? Well, let's compare two homes in the area using the assistance of Zillow.
The home my parents owned in 95032 is now worth $946,257 (they bought it for $21,000). It's a cookie cutter home where every other home in the neighborhood is the same plan with a slightly different facade. It's 1769 SF and it's on a 6098 SF lot.

The home my parents bought and still own in 27615 is now worth $273,502. It's a 2176 SF house on a .29 acre lot in a two golf course country club neighborhood that includes home into the low millions. Of course, a home of the same value as the one they owned in 95032 is going to be 6,000 SF, on the golf course or a lake and have every bell and whistle you can imagine. The homes in the neighborhood are all custom built homes by many different builders and were constructed mostly in the 70s and 80s though recently released land has homes built in the last few years and there have been many tear downs on the best pieces of property in the neighborhood.

The home my parents own today can reasonably be purchased with the average income of their current zip code but I dare say that without an enormous downpayment or all cash, the house in 95032 can't be bought with its average salary.

Having experienced living in a variety of zip codes has shown me that this Super Zip methodology is pretty worthless without some normalization and adjustments.
I'm assuming that they take the national median income and the national percentage of people with a Bachelor's degrees, 25 and older. For the first, it is around 51-53k and the percentage is around 30%. For instance, the zip I grew up in(13215) was at $79,255 and 41% with a 82 rating. While zips can/do vary, all things considered, I can see how it got that rating. With that said, I don't think it is a be all, end all thing, as you could have an affluent neighborhood in a zip with an average rating, if not lower and vice versa.
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Old 02-06-2014, 01:31 PM
 
Location: North by Northwest
7,442 posts, read 9,875,598 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by rnc2mbfl View Post
I didn't read anything in the article that said that income levels are normalized for costs of living.
Maybe I missed that?
Let me give you a comparison of two zips. One is a super zip and the other is not and they have to do with my family.
When I was a kid, we lived in zip 95030 (which was split and our side of it became 95032). In any case, both are super zips in the Silicon Valley. 95032 has an average income level of $118,713 and a college attainment level of 62%. The zip rating is 96%
We moved before I became a teen to zip code 27609 (which also was split and our area eventually became 27615). 27615 has an average income of $76,843 and a college attainment level of 61%. The zip rating is 89.

While the two zips have similar college attainment %'s (62 & 61) their income levels are vastly different. That said, I'd dare say that $76,843 buys you a much better lifestyle in 27615 than $118,713 buys you in 95032. Why do I say this???? Well, let's compare two homes in the area using the assistance of Zillow.
The home my parents owned in 95032 is now worth $946,257 (they bought it for $21,000). It's a cookie cutter home where every other home in the neighborhood is the same plan with a slightly different facade. It's 1769 SF and it's on a 6098 SF lot.

The home my parents bought and still own in 27615 is now worth $273,502. It's a 2176 SF house on a .29 acre lot in a two golf course country club neighborhood that includes home into the low millions. Of course, a home of the same value as the one they owned in 95032 is going to be 6,000 SF, on the golf course or a lake and have every bell and whistle you can imagine. The homes in the neighborhood are all custom built homes by many different builders and were constructed mostly in the 70s and 80s though recently released land has homes built in the last few years and there have been many tear downs on the best pieces of property in the neighborhood.

The home my parents own today can reasonably be purchased with the average income of their current zip code but I dare say that without an enormous downpayment or all cash, the house in 95032 can't be bought with its average salary.

Having experienced living in a variety of zip codes has shown me that this Super Zip methodology is pretty worthless without some normalization and adjustments.
Obviously a methodology that combines aggregate educational advancement with median household income is going to paint a relatively simplistic picture, especially on the micro level. But it does seem fairly decent with regard to broad, "quick-and-dirty" comparisons. It's sort of like BMI in that regard.

But even if the super zip methodology were more comprehensive, you are right that it still wouldn't take into account individual, subjective wants/needs that may make a "non-super zip" a preferable alternative for those who could otherwise afford living in a top 5% postal code.
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Old 02-07-2014, 06:02 PM
 
1,879 posts, read 1,861,777 times
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I didn't grow up in or live in a "Super Zip" or rather "Super Postcode" although the suburb of Sydney Australia that I lived in was comfortably middle class. We were probably among the poorer residents, we lived in a 3 bedroom flat (2 adults, 4 children).

Most capital cities in Australia have "Super postcodes" - in Melbourne, it is around Toorak, Camberwell etc. In Sydney, it is Upper North Shore, Inner East, much of the Hills District/Dural and around Palm Beach/Whale Beach.

The town where I live now (midway between Brisbane and Sydney) has its affluent areas (there is a canal area where one wouldn't get much change of $1 million) and doesn't really have a "poor" area as such (those on low incomes live in apartments so the "poorer" areas would be where the apartments are concentrated).
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Old 02-11-2014, 02:56 PM
 
Location: Crooklyn, New York
28,250 posts, read 26,220,119 times
Reputation: 11706
Quote:
Originally Posted by rnc2mbfl View Post
This would only be interesting to me if the incomes were normalized for costs of living among the various zip codes. Sure there are going to be higher incomes in DC and NYC but do they really mean as much as lesser incomes in other cities or are people just paid higher salaries to compensate for the costs of living?
The point of the site is to show how the upper middle class in America is becoming increasingly insular. It would have been helpful if the site had data from the 1990 Census for comparative purposes. But one of the specific examples Charles Murray cites is Bethesda, Maryland where the median income went from around $87,000 (adjusted for inflation) in 1990 to $187,000 in 2008.

As far as DC and NYC are specifically concerned, I'd say the people earning big bucks in those Super Zips are probably considerably better off than most people living in a lower cost zip in a city like Phoenix. It's hard to make the money in Denver as an I-Banker that you could in NYC, which is a big part of what attracts so many people to NYC. Not only are the base salaries in select industries higher, but the bonus structure is much more generous. Your bonus alone can be in the high six-figures, which is completely abnormal in other markets. Given the huge disparity in pay, any disparity in COL becomes an afterthought (at least for the people in the Super Zips).

And I really don't think these firms are paying more simply because the cities are more expensive. The firms pay more because they have they have the biggest, most powerful and profitable clients who in turn demand the best accountants, lawyers, portfolio managers, etc. And the best talent comes at a premium. You can't expect to hire Brendan Sullivan for the same rate as some hot shot attorney in a medium-sized market.
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Old 02-11-2014, 04:14 PM
 
Location: North by Northwest
7,442 posts, read 9,875,598 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by BajanYankee View Post
The point of the site is to show how the upper middle class in America is becoming increasingly insular. It would have been helpful if the site had data from the 1990 Census for comparative purposes. But one of the specific examples Charles Murray cites is Bethesda, Maryland where the median income went from around $87,000 (adjusted for inflation) in 1990 to $187,000 in 2008.
In 1989, the Bethesda CDP had a median household, median family, and per capita income of $65,889, $84,410, and $38,976. Adjusted to 2012 dollars, that's $121,998, $156,291, and $72,167, which is still significantly lower than the $141,817 (+16.2%), $192,292 (+23.0%), and $84,870 (+17.6%) shown in the 2008-2012 American Community Survey--a noteable increase to be sure, but nowhere near Murray's extremely exaggerated numbers.

(Source: Social Explorer)

Last edited by ElijahAstin; 02-11-2014 at 04:26 PM..
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Old 02-11-2014, 04:17 PM
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Location: Long Island / NYC
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North Philly has a zip with a "0"! Didn't see any others; even Camden bottomed out at 1. Queens is a bastion of middle of the road zips, a lot hovering around 50.
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