THE AFFLUENT

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If there's any market that can be considered mass high-end, this is it: Members of the 10 million households that earn between $100,000 and $199,999. Although this is just a small sliver of all U.S. households, it's gigantic compared to the 2 million households in which earnings are $200,000 or more.

The nation's traditional money centers are home to a large share of the affluent. According to Census 2000, San Francisco led the way — 21 percent of households in the Bay Area had annual earnings between $100,000 and $199,999. These figures were helped by the large share of Asians who live in the Bay Area, and also were boosted by the dotcom bubble. In the wake of the dotcom collapse, whether San Francisco is still the top metro in this category remains to be seen.

Even though the affluent are a relatively smaller group, and are fairly homogenous demographically (the majority are white, and a large share are between the ages of 45 and 54), psychographic segmentation is even more critical here, says Catherine D'Azevedo, vice president and media director of The Leslie Agency, a Greenville, S.C.-marketing firm.

“In targeting the affluent, in particular, it's more important to find a message that resonates specifically with them,� D'Azevedo says. For one of her clients, the Cliffs Communities — an upscale real estate development near Greenville, where lots can run upwards of $500,000 — she tailored two campaigns to reach two distinct groups of affluent consumers. To reach what she calls “Range Rover Rustics,� affluent consumers who respond to images of nature and the concept of wellness, the agency created ads that played up the natural surroundings of the community and its on-site wellness center, running an effective campaign in Body and Soul magazine. To reach members of a group she calls “Captains of Industry,� who would be more inclined to buy property in the community because of its golf amenities, ads ran in Worth magazine and The Wall Street Journal. When it comes to million dollar homes, every sale counts.

TOP 50 METROS: $100,000 TO $199,999

The nation's largest metros are home to large shares of people earning between $100,000 and $199,999 annually. The San Francisco metro was home to the largest share of affluent households, according to Census 2000, but the dotcom crash may change that for the next census.

RANK METRO NUMBER PERCENT
1 San Francisco-Oakland-San Jose, CA CMSA 531,408 20.8%
2 Washington-Baltimore, DC-MD-VA-WV CMSA 511,051 17.8%
3 Anchorage, AK MSA 15,469 16.3%
4 New York-Long Island-Northern New Jersey, NY-NJ-CT-PA CMSA 1,212,604 15.7%
5 Honolulu, HI MSA 44,789 15.6%
6 Boston-Worcester-Lawrence, MA-NH-ME-CT CMSA 344,046 15.5%
7 Hartford, CT MSA 66,543 14.5%
8 Atlanta, GA MSA 213,319 14.2%
9 Chicago-Gary-Kenosha, IL-IN-WI CMSA 459,292 13.9%
10 Minneapolis-St. Paul, MN-WI MSA 157,976 13.9%
11 Denver-Boulder-Greeley, CO CMSA 136,434 13.6%
12 Detroit-Ann Arbor-Flint, MI CMSA 280,817 13.5%
13 Raleigh-Durham-Chapel Hill, NC MSA 61,558 13.3%
14 Santa Fe, NM MSA 7,845 13.1%
15 Los Angeles-Riverside-Orange County, CA CMSA 688,161 12.9%
16 Austin-San Marcos, TX MSA 60,423 12.8%
17 San Diego, CA MSA 126,897 12.7%
18 Philadelphia-Atlantic City-Wilmington, PA-NJ-DE-MD CMSA 294,922 12.7%
19 Seattle-Tacoma-Bremerton, WA CMSA 175,973 12.6%
20 Dallas-Fort Worth, TX CMSA 238,742 12.5%
21 Santa Barbara-Santa Maria-Lompoc, CA MSA 16,861 12.3%
22 Naples, FL MSA 12,693 12.3%
23 Houston-Galveston-Brazoria, TX CMSA 201,681 12.3%
24 Salinas, CA MSA 14,839 12.2%
25 Rochester, MN MSA 5,834 12.2%
26 Sacramento-Yolo, CA CMSA 79,027 11.9%
27 Bloomington-Normal, IL MSA 6,670 11.7%
28 Fort Collins-Loveland, CO MSA 11,374 11.7%
29 New London-Norwich, CT-RI MSA 13,338 11.7%
30 West Palm Beach-Boca Raton, FL MSA 55,082 11.6%
31 Richmond-Petersburg, VA MSA 42,711 11.0%
32 Madison, WI MSA 18,951 10.9%
33 Huntsville, AL MSA 14,418 10.7%
34 Salt Lake City-Ogden, UT MSA 45,731 10.6%
35 Corvallis, OR MSA 3,173 10.5%
36 Phoenix-Mesa, AZ MSA 124,960 10.5%
37 Charlotte-Gastonia-Rock Hill, NC-SC MSA 60,168 10.5%
38 Colorado Springs, CO MSA 20,060 10.4%
39 Indianapolis, IN MSA 65,548 10.4%
40 Charlottesville, VA MSA 6,400 10.4%
41 Cincinnati-Hamilton, OH-KY-IN CMSA 79,268 10.3%
42 Kansas City, MO-KS MSA 71,677 10.3%
43 Portland-Salem, OR-WA CMSA 89,391 10.3%
44 Columbus, OH MSA 62,256 10.2%
45 Reno, NV MSA 13,465 10.2%
46 Burlington, VT MSA 6,596 10.1%
47 Milwaukee-Racine, WI CMSA 66,640 10.1%
48 Barnstable-Yarmouth, MA MSA 6,943 10.0%
49 St. Louis, MO-IL MSA 101,011 10.0%
50 San Luis Obispo-Atascadero-Paso Robles, CA MSA 9,203 9.9%
Note: Statistical ties are due to rounding.
Source: American Demographics analysis of Census 2000 data

ASIAN ASCENSION

Whites are still more likely to be affluent than most minority groups, and most minority groups are underrepresented among the affluent. The exception: Asian Americans. They account for 5 percent of all households earning $100,000 to $199,999, though they make up just 3 percent of all households in the country.

RACE NUMBER PERCENT
White alone 9,003,449 86.0%
Black alone 596,162 5.7%
Native American alone 35,680 0.3%
Asian alone 510,768 4.9%
Multirace 143,461 1.4%
Hispanic 520,297 5.0%
Note: Does not add to 100 percent because chart includes Hispanics, who can be of any race, and excludes Native Hawaiians.
Source: American Demographics analysis of Census 2000 data
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