Lower Merion Near the Top of CNN Money's Top-Earning Communities in America

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dmuth's picture
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"Money is the new catnip!"

Got this in an email from the township today. That's one scary number for the median family income here in Lower Merion.

CNN Money, an online combination of CNN, Fortune Magazine and Money Magazine, has ranked Lower Merion Township near the top of its recently published "Top-earning Towns" list - part of its ongoing "Best Places to Live" series.

Next to a photo of a student entering Pembroke Hall on the campus of Bryn Mawr College, CNN Money puts Lower Merion's median family income at $153,309, and the Township's median home price at $553,498.

"Part of Pennsylvania's wealthy Main Line corridor that popped up along the rail line of the same name, Lower Merion got its start when railroad executives built massive summer homes here," the online newsmagazine wrote. "Today, it's an elite suburb of Philadelphia and dotted with colleges, including women's liberal arts school Bryn Mawr, which is also one of the township's largest employers."

Overall, Lower Merion is ranked 5th among the 25 national locations listed.

"We have a terrific community here in Lower Merion, and a wonderful quality of life," said Lower Merion Township Manager Doug Cleland. "Our residents already know that, of course, but it is nice to see the national recognition."

Ranked first in the survey was Bethesda, Md., an unincorporated community just outside Washington D.C.

"Residents bring lawn chairs and blankets to twilight concerts at the Bryn Mawr Gazebo all summer long and enjoy their pick of sledding hills in the winter months," CNN Money wrote about the Township. "The area's 682 acres of parkland and top-rated schools in the state form a well-rounded nest for well-heeled Pennsylvanians."

Lower Merion is the only Pennsylvania community ranked among the top 25. Ranking 2nd, 3rd and 4th, respectively, are the towns of Greenwich, Conn., Palo Alto, Calif. and Newport Beach, Calif.

Are these numbers a good thing or a bad thing? Discuss!

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LexoTime5's picture
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Can one of the more mathy inclined people explain a bit about what "median household income" means?  It's not the average, I understand. And it can't be the exact middle between the highest earning family and the lowest earning family.. or can it?  I'm unclear on what that number means. Thanks in advance.

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LMT Observer's picture
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http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Median

In statistics and probability theory, median is described as the numerical value separating the higher half of a sample, a population, or a probability distribution, from the lower half. The median of a finite list of numbers can be found by arranging all the observations from lowest value to highest value and picking the middle one. If there is an even number of observations, then there is no single middle value; the median is then usually defined to be the mean of the two middle values.

The median value statistically is the "middle" value for the group being considered.   So, if Lower Merion Township had 11 households, then the median household income would be the income of the sixth household when all 11 were listed from lowest income to highest. 

 

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dmuth's picture
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To give a better example of the difference between median and average, consider this data set:

[$10000, $10000, $100000]

The total of those values is $120,000.

The average of those values is $40,000. ($120K / 3)

The median of those values is $10,000.

 

The reason why knowing both the median and the average of any set of data is important is because it add a whole new dimension to the analysis of that data.  By the set of numbers above, just looking at the average suggests that people are earning around $40,000, which is reasonable.  But when you look at the median, it tells a different story: at least half of the incomes are under the poverty line, and the average is skewed by a small number of high earners.

 

Hope that helps.

 

 

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politeia's picture
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Just further demonstrates what I have always said.

It's the People of Lower Merion who make the township what it is with their backgrounds, education, careers, charitable work, etc.

And, it's not all about money. I know many people who make wonderful contributions to the quality of life in Lower Merion who are well below that median income.

However, the wealth and business base goes a long way to provide for what makes LM a great place to live despite its warts, which all places have.

Me personally, I also feel LM has done great in spite of our local government that tends to serve itself and special interests before the citizens of Lower Merion.

The citizens of Lower Merion make this a great place to live. Lower Merion government does its best to keep up with the high standards the citizens of Lower Merion set, and in some areas LM government holds its own, and in others it falls short.

=================

Brotherhood of Thieves ~ As we must account for every idle word, so must we account for every idle silence.

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LexoTime5's picture
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Thanks for the explanation about median income. It looks like the household income bar is set very high around here. I would worry about those at the lower end of the spectrum being priced out.

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