Presumably because we just don’t have enough ways yet to isolate the super-rich from everyone else, the Washington Post has prepared an interactive map of the nation that identifies what it calls “Super Zips”—zip codes that rank in the 95th to 99th percentile for median income and education level.
Austin, Texas has eight Super Zips. Not at all surprisingly, they are all west of I-35. In fact, with the exception of a small sliver of 78749, they are all west of Mopac. (Fun fact: I lived in that sliver of ’46 for just over three years! In an apartment. Trust me, the Super Zip-ness comes from the west side of the highway.) The highest overall score, a 99, goes to 78746, which includes West Lake Hills and Rollingwood, and should not be a surprise either. The highest median income, however, is in 78739 ($132,552 to the ’46’s $129,188).
The lowest score in Austin, from my cursory review of the map, is east Austin’s 78742 zip code. It ranks in the 10th percentile, with a median income of $21,071 and 14% college graduate rate. It also doesn’t seem to have much in the way of buildings.
Just for fun, I thought I’d look at all of the zip codes where I have lived in my 14 years in Austin:
- 78705: 48th percentile, median income of $11,910 (although it’s worth noting that this zip code is probably mostly college students);
- 78751: 57th percentile, median income of $37,521;
- 78749: 90th percentile, median income of $79,712 (especially now that I’m not there to drag it down);
- 78704: 66th percentile, median income of $47,336 (damn hippies);
- 78751 (I moved back here for a while); and
- 78723: 43rd percentile, median income of $41,839 (interesting that it has a higher median income than ’51, but it only has 28% college graduates to ’51’s 64%).
Also interesting: the zip code where I grew up, 78209 in San Antonio, is famous for its “old money” excess, but it only ranks in the 79th percentile these days. Still impressive, but it’s clear that the real concentrations of wealth have moved further northwest (check out 78248, 78257, 78258, and 78015 for the big bucks). I bet the ’09 still has an edge in snobbery, though!