Asking the question “Is West Palm Beach a rich area?” is essential if you plan to move or retire in the said city. Living in an affluent area is a good decision because you can enjoy certain benefits that you surely wouldn’t in a lesser wealthy place. However, there are also disadvantages to it, such as a good chance of a higher cost of living.
So, is West Palm Beach a rich area? Yes, it is a well-to-do city; in fact, West Palm Beach is one of the wealthiest cities in Palm Beach County, Florida. There are many reasons why it’s considered wealthy, but it’s mainly because the city meets specific economic growth and quality of life indices.
We’ll discuss some of the most important indices for you to understand better why the city has been making it to the list of the wealthiest cities for years. It will also ensure that you know what to expect when you decide to move to the area. We’ll also look into the cost of living in West Palm Beach, Florida.
Is West Palm Beach a Rich Area: The Top Reasons
West Palm Beach is among the most famous cities in the Palm Beach County of the Sunshine State. It’s also one of the oldest municipalities in South Florida and was soon incorporated as a city before the end of 1894.
Being a city for a long time, it has grown into the wealthy area that it is now. Some of the indicators that prove its wealthiness is the following:
West Palm Beach Economy
The economy of a specific area is the top indicator of whether it is wealthy or not. Most of you might think that West Palm Beach’s good economy is based on the tax it collects.
However, that isn’t always the case. A lot of factors determines every city’s economy, including but not limited to:
1. Population Growth Rate
Some might think that an increasing population isn’t a good thing, but it actually most of the time indicates economic growth. That is especially if the increase is due to the number of people moving to the city. It can mean that the city has a lot to offer, such as jobs and other benefits.
West Palm Beach is the 261st most populated city in the USA, while 19th in Florida, with a population of 113,749 in 2020 compared to 111,955 in 2019. The city has an estimated annual population growth of 0.79%.
2. Job Growth
As noted, as the population grows, there should also be an increase in job openings and a decrease in the unemployment rate to conclude that the city is wealthy. Excluding the pandemic situation, West Palm Beach has more than one percent annual job growth and a less than five percent unemployment rate.
3. Wage Growth
Likewise, the working population’s earnings must also be equal to or higher than the cost of living. Currently, the minimum wage in Florida is $8.65/hour, with a mandatory annual increase. Although this is in the mid-range, it’s still higher than the Federal minimum wage, which is $7.25/hour.
4. Worker Productivity
GMP or Gross Metropolitan Product measures worker productivity. Like GDP, it refers to the market value of the services and goods in a specific metropolitan area over a given period. The metro where West Palm Beach belongs ranks number 12 in terms of GMP, specifically forecasted at USD338.94 billion in 2021.
5. Median Household Income
The median household income is a better determiner of how rich a particular area is than the wage scale. That is because it helps define whether or not the population can afford the cost of living. It helps classify households belonging to the poor, middle, and rich classes.
The US has a median family income of $78,500 in 2020, while West Palm Beach closes at $81,826, a little higher than the nation’s number.
6. Business Growth
Business growth is one of the top factors in terms of economic growth and development. West Palm Beach had a lot of growing businesses in several industries during the past years.
More business owners come to the area to build their businesses, offering more careers or jobs for the city’s residents. That isn’t only because West Palm Beach has many potentials but also because the business cost isn’t too high.
West Palm Beach Quality of Life
Being able to grow a business, afford the minimum cost of living, and find a job isn’t enough to answer “Is West Palm Beach a rich area?” The government should also be able to provide good-quality life. Some of the determining factors are as follows:
The city’s amenities can make residents and tourists feel comfortable, and comfort is almost always equivalent to wealth. With the many businesses in the West Palm Beach area, there are undoubtedly many amenities available.
You’ll find various dining places, museums, parks, zoos, shopping centers, and more. Like in Destin, Florida, you can also enjoy the beach in West Palm Beach. There are also lakes for those who love outdoor adventures, such as camping and picnics.
Access to healthcare and what healthcare services are available is one of the things to consider when looking into how wealthy and successful a city is. West Palm Beach in the Sunshine State has 35 hospitals as of writing. Most of them are top-rated, and they range from general care services to specialty care.
A city is considered wealthy if it has enough educational institutions for its population. It also remains wealthy and will grow more if they have a working population and if most of the younger generation stays to put up their own businesses and establish their career.
West Palm Beach, Florida, has established pre-school, elementary, middle school, and high school educational institutions. That is both public, district and charter, and private run.
Similarly, you’ll find vocational institutions and universities for those who want to obtain a college degree. Although there are only three colleges at the moment, residents can opt to enroll in colleges near the city.
4. Public Transportation
A wealthy city should be able to cope with its growing population’s needs, and transportation is one of them.
West Palm Beach has several train stations, affordable bus rides, and taxis available for residents and tourists. Those who only need a ride within downtown West Palm Beach can take advantage of the trolleys.
Additionally, tourists who would love to go around the city more conveniently can rent a vehicle. Just note that you would need to spend more on the rental fee and when you pass by tollways.
5. Public Safety
Maintaining public safety requires sufficient funds for proper program creation and implementation. In West Palm Beach, they have many police and firefighters and a good emergency plan for floods and hurricanes.
Is West Palm Beach Expensive to Live: The Average Costs
You’ll expect that as the city becomes rich, the cost of living also increases. That said, it always doesn’t mean that one can’t afford to live in the area. As noted earlier, when we’re trying to answer “Is West Palm Beach a rich area?” the wage in West Palm Beach increases yearly and is higher than most of the cities in the country.
Generally, the cost of living in West Palm Beach city is 3% to 4% higher than the country’s average cost of living. That said, not everything in the area is costly. Let’s look at some of the basic expenses you need to prepare for:
The essential utilities are among the regular expenses you need to note when moving to a specific area. The total cost of basic utilities in West Palm Beach is 2% lower than the nation’s average.
Like any other city, wealthy or not, finding the right place to buy your essential goods is the key to getting by living in the area. West Palm Beach has farmer’s markets that offer affordable fresh vegetables and fruits. Some local stores also sell basic goods at a more affordable price.
Similarly, the cost of eating in restaurants, hanging out in bars, and the like will also depend on where you eat and drink.
Most residents in the area prefer to rent than purchase their property. The rent cost ranges from mid-priced to expensive, but most of the time, the fee already includes the utility cost.
Like any other city, the rental fee will depend on the number of bedrooms and bathrooms and where the place is located. Of course, it’s more expensive in the downtown or central business district. You’ll find apartments with a rental fee ranging from lower than 800 dollars to as high as $1,500 per month.
The real estate property cost in West Palm Beach is high and similar to rental fees but depends on the property’s location. Plus, the property tax in the city is high and continues to increase annually. How high the tax is will, of course, depend on the size of your property and whether it’s a lot only or a house and lot.
That said, it’s a good investment because the value increases over time. Thus, you’ll surely profit from it once you decide to sell the property or even when you rent it out.
As part of Florida, you don’t need to pay an income tax in West Palm Beach, which is a great thing. If you’re not exempted, the corporate tax rate isn’t as high, specifically around 5.5%.
Independent Living or Assisted Living
For retirees, you’ll find several independent living and assisted living communities that will work best for your needs and budgets. Although there are states with cheaper rates, West Palm Beach communities have a mid-range price. Again, the price will depend on the exact location in the city.
Nevertheless, the number of amenities the city offers will more than make up for the amount you’ll most likely save when you choose to live in a more affordable city.
Is West Palm Beach a Rich Area: In Conclusion
West Palm Beach is a wealthy city in the Sunshine State thanks to the number of growing businesses and people moving to the area and the higher wage, median household income, and GMP. The quality of life in the area is also excellent.
In terms of the cost of living, it isn’t too low or too high, which isn’t common in most wealthy cities like West Palm Beach. That means you can afford to live in the city as long as you make the right choices or how well you manage your income. After all, the wage you earn will match your expenses, especially since there’s no income tax.