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Key West Ranks As One Of Nation's Richest Small Towns

KeyWestSouthernHouse1.jpg
Andy Newman
/
Florida Keys News Service

The financial news service Bloomberg created a list of the 50 wealthiest small towns in America and only one is in Florida: Key West.

The southernmost city ranked 13th on the list. The index was created by measuring median income, percentage of households with income of more than $200,000, median home value and percentage of homes valued at more than $1 million.

Most of the top 20 are western ski resorts in Utah and Colorado. A few others are northeastern enclaves, like Vineyard Haven in Massachusetts.

The list measured "micropolitan areas" with populations of 10 to 50,000 people. Key West has a population of about 25,000.

With a booming tourism industry and high demand for the limited supply of real estate, Key West struggles to provide housing for professional and service-sector workers. According to the Bloomberg index, the median home value in Key West is $381,000 — with 11.3 percent of the homes valued at more than $1 million.

It's not the first time Key West has been a national leader in wealth. During the 19th century, when the island prospered from shipwreck salvaging and cigar manufacturing, it was also one of the country's wealthiest cities, per capita.

Nancy Klingener covers the Florida Keys for WLRN. Since moving to South Florida in 1989, she has worked for the Miami Herald, Solares Hill newspaper and the Monroe County Public Library.