Area’s Most Affluent Zip Code Goes to Houlton


G. Scott Thomas is a projects editor for Buffalo Business First, part of the fleet of publications operated by American City Business Journals. To say that Mr. Thomas is a numbers guy is akin to saying Richard Leinenkugel knows a little bit about beer. I like Mr. Thomas and I like the 150 years the Leinenkugel family has devoted to their trade. Exhaustive work on both fronts.

Thomas released his 2017 affluence ratings in early July. He employed a 12-part formula to establish a ranking system for America’s 22,568 zip codes. Factors like per capita income, median household income, workers with earnings of $100,000 or more, and adults with bachelor’s degrees and advanced degrees were used. Statistics are valid. They were obtained from the five-year version of the Census Bureau’s 2015 American Community Survey.

Is this a surprise? Houlton, Wisconsin, the unincorporated area in the Town of St. Joseph (St. Croix County) and holder of zip code 54082, is the area’s most affluent. Oh, Houlton ranks #7 among Wisconsin’s 628 zips, placing it near the top one percent and finishing ahead of better-known Middleton (#8), Delafield (#10), and Brookfield (#11). Nationally, Houlton ranked #1,465 against the 22,500+ zip codes, placing in the top 6.5 percent.

Going west across the river to our golden gopher neighbors, the cities of Mahtomedi and Plymouth, Minnesota have similar affluence scores compared to Houlton.

For the record, the 12-part formula reveals 41.8 percent of Houlton’s residents are workers in management, business, science or arts occupations and 24.1 percent of Houlton’s adults have advanced degrees. An estimated 19.7% of workers in Houlton report earnings of $100,000 or more, and the median family income is estimated at $94,893.

Houlton’s secret is out, thanks to G. Scott Thomas.

With the new river crossing open, the region will discover Houlton’s best too.

Go little Houlton, Go.