Clarence is No. 1 in new affluence rankings of WNY towns and cities

June 19, 2013 Updated Jun 19, 2013 at 7:13 AM EDT

By G. Scott Thomas, Projects Editor- Business First

...

Clarence is No. 1 in new affluence rankings of WNY towns and cities

June 19, 2013 Updated Jun 19, 2013 at 7:13 AM EDT

Clarence is far and away the most affluent town in Western New York, according to comprehensive rankings released this morning.

Business First analyzed 109 towns and cities in 12 different categories, and Clarence's cumulative score is the best of the bunch.

Rounding out the top five in the affluence rankings are Orchard Park, Aurora, Amherst and Grand Island.

The rankings are based on the latest data from the U.S. Census Bureau for all Western New York towns and cities that have at least 2,000 residents. The study does not include villages, which are subdivisions of towns.

Clarence leads the entire region in several key categories:

• Its median household income of $84,657 is almost $4,000 ahead of the runner-up, Pendleton, at $80,761. A median is a midpoint, with half of all households within a given community earning more and half earning less.

• Clarence's per capita income (PCI) of $40,586 is also tops in the region, followed by Orchard Park at $38,733. PCI is calculated by dividing the combined incomes of all town residents by the town's population.

• One-fifth (20.6 percent) of all households in Clarence have annual incomes of $150,000 or more. The runner-up is Orchard Park at 16.4 percent.

• The typical owner-occupied home in Clarence is valued at $232,300. That's $37,000 ahead of the No. 2 community in the category, Elma, with a median of $195,300.

Business First developed a 12-part formula to rate the relative affluence of the 109 Western New York towns and cities that have populations of 2,000 or more.

All raw statistics were collected by the Census Bureau as part of the five-year version of its 2011 American Community Survey, the latest source of federal data at the local level. All percentages and rates were calculated by Business First.

These are the factors that were evaluated:

1. Median household income.

2. Per capita income. This is defined as the average amount of money received by each resident of a given place in a given year. It encompasses such diverse sources of income as salaries, interest payments, dividends, rental income and government checks.

3. Percentage of households with annual incomes of $150,000 or more.

4. Percentage of households that derive income from interest payments, dividends or rental property.

5. Poverty rate for families. The federal government uses a sliding scale to determine whether a given household is below the poverty line, based on total income and the number of inhabitants.

6. Upper quartile house value. This is the price that is higher than 75 percent of all home values within a community, but lower than the top 25 percent.

7. Median house value.

8. Percentage of houses that have nine or more rooms.

9. Percentage of employed adults whose households have access to three or more motor vehicles.

10. Percentage of employed adults whose jobs are classified as management or professional occupations.

11. Percentage of adults (25 or older) who hold bachelor's degrees.

12. Percentage of adults (25 or older) who also hold advanced degrees, whether master's, professional or doctoral degrees.

Each community's statistics were compared against the study group's averages in all 12 categories. Above-average dollar figures or percentages received positive scores, while below-average results received negative scores. Each community's category scores were totaled to determine its overall rank. Final scores ranged from 26.929 points for Clarence to minus-11.975 points for Friendship.

You can get the full report at: http://www.bizjournals.com/buffalo/news/2013/06/19/clarence-is-no-1-in-new-affluence.html.

To submit a comment on this article, your email address is required. We respect your privacy and your email will not be visible to others nor will it be added to any email lists.