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

Aug 20, 2015

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

Key West has been one of the nation's wealthiest enclaves, on and off, since the 19th century. The Southernmost House was built for $250,000 in 1896.
Credit Andy Newman / Florida Keys News Service

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.