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Cities Where Americans Earn the Most

Kathy Kristof

Many people aspire to earn a six-figure income, but only about one-fifth of the nation's households succeed. And, according to recent research, those six-figure families tend to congregate in a handful of cities, such as San Ramon, Calif., where 63.5 percent of the population clears the $100,000 threshold and a full one-quarter earn $200,000 or more.

Where should you go to hang-out with the well-heeled? According to a new analysis of Census data by NerdWallet, there are 16 U.S. cities where more than 50 percent of the households earn six-figure incomes. These are the top 10.

1. San Ramon, Calif.

San Ramon, Calif., home to companies ranging from Chevron Corp. to 24-Hour Fitness, is one of several U.S. cities that have been indirect beneficiaries of the technology boom that has fueled the economic growth of the San Francisco Bay area. Now, with 63.5 percent of the city's households boasting annual income exceeding $100,000 -- and one-quarter earning $200,000 or more, it's America's top-earning city.

2. Flower Mound, Texas

Flower Mound, Texas, a Dallas suburb, has the second-lowest crime rate in the U.S., according to the FBI's latest crime report. And CNN Money recently ranked it in its listing of 100 best places to live in the U.S.. It certainly ranks well among cities where residents earn the most, with 62.8 percent of households taking home more than $100,000 and 18.6 percent earning $200,000 or more.

3. Pleasanton, Calif.

Pleasanton, Calif., home to Safeway and Ross Stores, maintains a small-town feel with big-town wages. Just south of San Ramon, some 59.8 percent of its residents earn over $100,000 and 22.3 percent earn more than $200,000.

4. Yorba Linda, Calif.

Yorba Linda is among four California cities on the top earners list and it's the only one not located in the San Francisco Bay area. This Southern California bedroom community is known for large lots and horse trails and frequently has been ranked among the best places to live in the U.S. The birthplace of former president Richard Nixon, Yorba Linda now brags that 58.8 percent of its residents earn upwards of $100,000 and 18.6 percent earn $200,000 or more.

5. Carmel, Ind.

Carmel, Ind., just a short commute to Indianapolis, ranked first in Money Magazine's best places to live in the U.S. With wide bike lanes and friendly residents, it's also got a lower-than-average unemployment rate and better-than-average earnings, with 58.4 percent of households earning over $100,000 and 23.2% earning over $200,000.

6. Palo Alto, Calif.

Palo Alto, Calif., home to Facebook, Hewlett-Packard and Stanford University, is where technophiles come to live, learn and launch new businesses. Thanks to rising wages for engineers and stock-millionaires, the city brags that 57.8 percent of its households take home more than $100,000 and 28.2 percent earn more than $200,000.

7. Newton, Mass.

Newton, Mass., a suburb just outside of Boston that's set up like a series of villages -- several lining scenic lakes and ponds, is not only one of the cities where residents are likely to earn the most, its real estate is also among the most costly in the nation, with the average home selling for more than $1.2 million, according to real estate site Trulia.com. As for wages, some 55.4 percent of Newton households earn over $100,000 and 25.7 percent pocket more than $200,000 annually.

8. Naperville, Ill.

Naperville, a Chicago, Ill.-suburb has had many brushes with fame. Named the second-best place to live by Money Magazine in 2006, it was also cited as one of the wealthiest towns in the nation in 2010. Now, it ranks eighth among America's city for the percentage of households earning six-figures, with 54.8 percent over $100,000 and 22.8 percent taking home more than $200,000.

9. Frisco, Texas

Frisco, Texas, some 20 miles north of Dallas, brags four professional sports teams, 150 outdoor sculptures, plenty of luxury hotels and restaurants - as well as average incomes that make this city of 131,510 residents among the nation's richest towns. Some 53.7 percent of Frisco residents earn $100,000 or more and 13.3 percent take home upwards of $200,000.

10. The Woodlands, Texas

A master-planned community founded by Texas oilman George P. Mitchell in the early 1970s, was designed to be such an attractive bedroom community that it "would entice city slickers" to move there. Now home to corporate campuses for Chevron, McKesson Corp. and Hewitt, the tiny Texas community with some 55,000 residents is among the nation's wealthiest cities, with 53.4 percent of the population earning more than $100,000 and 15.3 percent of the population earning upwards of $200,000.

For the rest of the listing, check out NerdWallet's city data here.