Richest Counties in California

By PropertyClub Team
Nov 20th 2023
California is one of the wealthiest states in the United States and home to some of the most affluent counties in the country. These counties have high median household incomes, high home values, and strong economies. They are also home to some of the most desirable places to live, with stunning scenery, vibrant cultures, and world-class amenities. Read on to learn more about California's ten richest counties and what they offer.

hash-mark10 Richest Counties in California

  1. Santa Clara County
  2. San Mateo County
  3. Marin County
  4. San Francisco County
  5. Alameda County
  6. Contra Costa County
  7. Orange County
  8. Placer County
  9. Napa County
  10. Santa Cruz County

hash-mark1. Santa Clara County: $140,258 Median Household Income

Santa Clara County is the wealthiest county in California, with a median household income of $140,258 and a median home value of over $1.4 million. Located in the heart of Silicon Valley, Santa Clara is home to cities like Cupertino, Palo Alto, and San Jose, hosting industry giants like Apple, Google, and Meta. Steve Jobs and Steve Wozniak, co-founders of Apple, have called this area home. Beyond the bustling tech scene, Santa Clara offers a diverse cultural experience, excellent schools, and a Mediterranean climate. You can explore the lush vineyards of the Santa Clara Valley Wine Trail or visit the iconic Winchester Mystery House when visiting or living in Santa Clara County.

hash-mark2. San Mateo County: $136,837 Median Household Income

San Mateo County is the second richest in California, with a median household income of $136,837 and an average home value of over $1.5 million. Boasting several tech companies, including Oracle and YouTube, scenic coastal areas like the town of Half Moon Bay, and excellent schools, San Mateo County is home to several affluent communities, including Palo Alto, Menlo Park, and Atherton. Wealthy residents enjoy the proximity to Silicon Valley and the Pacific Ocean, where you’ll find stunning views along Highway 1. Seven-time Super Bowl-winning quarterback Tom Brady was born and raised in San Mateo.

hash-mark3. Marin County: $131,008 Median Household Income

Just north of San Francisco, Marin County is known for its natural beauty, with rugged coastlines and lush forests. This county offers a laid-back yet sophisticated lifestyle, focusing on the outdoors and eco-friendly living. Average home values are just over $1.4 million, and the median income is $131,008 per household. Marin County is also home to a number of wealthy residents, including celebrities and tech entrepreneurs. Renowned filmmaker George Lucas and rock legend Jerry Garcia have called Marin County home, where you can hike at Muir Woods National Monument or take in the stunning vistas from Mount Tamalpais.

hash-mark4. San Francisco County: $126,187 Median Household Income

San Francisco, also known as "The City by the Bay," lies within San Francisco County, California. This county is a cultural and economic hub, renowned for its diverse population, iconic landmarks like the Golden Gate Bridge, and thriving arts scene. Median home prices in San Francisco hover around $1.3 million. With a median household income of $126,187, it’s the fourth-richest county in California. Film legend Clint Eastwood and voice actor extraordinaire Mel Blanc were born in San Francisco.

hash-mark5. Alameda County: $112,017 Median Household Income

Alameda County is the fifth wealthiest county in California, with a median household income of $112,017 and an average home value of just over $1 million. Located across the bay from San Francisco, Alameda County encompasses cities like Oakland, Berkeley, and Fremont. Alameda County offers a diverse cultural scene, world-class universities, and a mix of urban and suburban living that draws wealthy residents. Actor Ben Affleck, actress Zendaya, and basketball legend Gary Payton are among the many celebrities who hail from this county. Popular attractions in Alameda County include the Sea, Air, and Space Museum and the Oakland Zoo.

hash-mark6. Contra Costa County: $110,455 Median Household Income

With a median household income of $110,455 and a median home value of over $800,000, Contra Costa County is the sixth California county on our list of the richest. East of San Francisco, Contra Costa encompasses Walnut Creek, Concord, and Richmond. This county has urban amenities and natural beauty, with abundant parks, a thriving arts community, and a number of businesses and industries, including technology, healthcare, and financial services. Baseball legend Joe DiMaggio and actor Tom Hanks have roots in Contra Costa County. You can visit Mount Diablo State Park for stunning views or explore the vibrant downtown area of Walnut Creek.

hash-mark7. Orange County: $100,485 Median Household Income

Orange County in southern California boasts cities like Irvine, Newport Beach, and Anaheim. Known for its stunning beaches, affluent communities, and family-friendly atmosphere, Orange County offers a high quality of life and is the seventh wealthiest county in the state. The median household income is $100,485. The average home value is just over $1 million. Orange County is a major tourist destination, home to Disneyland, Universal Studios Hollywood, and Knott's Berry Farm. It's also home to a number of businesses and industries, including aerospace, tourism, and technology. Former President Richard Nixon and the one-and-only Walt Disney had connections to Orange County.

hash-mark8. Placer County: $99,734 Median Household Income

Placer County, in the Sierra Nevada foothills, is known for its high quality of life and affluent communities. The average home value is almost $700,000, and the median household income is $99,734. This county combines a peaceful, suburban atmosphere with access to outdoor adventures like hiking and skiing. While not as star-studded as some other counties, Placer County has been home to notable figures in various fields. You can explore the Gold Country history in Auburn or take in the natural beauty of Lake Tahoe when visiting or living in Placer County.

hash-mark9. Napa County: $97,498 Median Household Income

Napa County is the ninth-richest county in California, with a median household income of $97,498. With its world-class wine, picturesque landscapes, and upscale amenities, life in Napa is certainly luxurious. The median home value is approximately $900,000. Napa County is synonymous with world-class wineries and vineyards. The city of Napa, as well as towns like Yountville and St. Helena, offer an upscale wine-country experience. Wealthy residents enjoy the gastronomy, beautiful scenery, and luxury estates. Napa County is home to a number of wealthy residents, including celebrities and winemakers. Robert Redford and his wife have a home in Napa Valley.

hash-mark10. Santa Cruz County: $96,093 Median Household Income

Last on our list of the top 10 wealthiest counties in California is a county on the central coast known for its stunning beaches, redwood forests, and vibrant arts scene. The median household income in Santa Cruz is $96,093. The median home value is over $1.1 million, reflecting the stunning homes throughout the area. Santa Cruz County combines a relaxed beach town vibe with proximity to Silicon Valley. Residents appreciate the beach lifestyle and distinctive surf culture. Santa Cruz and Aptos are popular areas among the affluent. Several universities are in the county, including the University of California, Santa Cruz. 

hash-markRichest Counties in California Bottom Line

These ten counties are the most affluent and desirable areas to live in California. Whether you're drawn to the tech-centric lifestyle of Santa Clara, the laid-back coastal charm of Marin, or the tranquil beauty and fine wines of Napa, each of these counties offers a luxurious lifestyle. They not only provide a high standard of living but also access to thriving job markets, cultural attractions, and natural wonders. While the cost of living is undoubtedly high, their reputations and amenities make them some of the most coveted places in California to call home.