Winnetka’s average family income pegged at $363,000
Updated: September 10, 2012 12:29PM
WINNETKA — Writers and Realtors trying to describe Winnetka to an outside audience often use an adjective like “affluent” to make it clear they are speaking of a rarefied community.
But just how affluent is this town of 12,000?
Very, according to the latest figures from the U.S. Census Bureau’s rolling American Community Survey. The survey pegged Winnetka’s average family income at around $363,776, which places the village a few thousand dollars ahead of its upscale neighbor to the south, the Village of Kenilworth.
And that’s saying something since a Forbes story in 2011 tagged Kenilworth, with 2,500 residents, “the most exclusive neighborhood in the Midwest” and the second most affluent neighborhood in the nation. The magazine used another measure from the census bureau, median household income, to make those declarations.
Median household income is the midpoint among all households, including people living alone, while family income considers only related people living under the same roof.
On median household income, Kenilworth’s $225,000 figure trumped Winnetka’s $208,000, according to the latest five-year survey. The survey covered the period between the start of 2006 and the end of 2010, and adjusted the figures to 2010 levels to take inflation into account.
Winnetka also edged out Kenilworth in per capita income.
Local Realtor Jean Wright said Winnetka’s real appeal is that it is packed with amenities for a town of its size.
“This little village has three train stops: Indian Hill, Winnetka and Hubbard Woods,” she said. “Look at how big Wilmette is and it has one. Evanston has two, but look at how big it is. Lake Forest is a nice community, but you spend twice as long getting there.
“New Trier sends more students to our most competitive colleges and you don’t have to go to a private school; you have it right here,” said Wright, a 54-year Winnetka resident who also pointed to the five public parks along the village’s lakefront.
Winnetka often makes lists such as CNN Money Magazine’s “25 Top Earning Towns,” depending on what population criteria is being used that year. Last year, the village ranked seventh in the nation.
The census bureau in the past decade changed its method of keeping tabs on socioeconomic, housing and employment trends in communities. In the past, the nation’s head counters took a snapshot every 10 years at the time the 10-year census was conducted. One in every six households received a longer census form that included questions about income, home values, employment and other factors.
With the American Community Survey, the bureau continually surveys a smaller number of households to derive estimates that in some cases can have large margins of error, due to the small size of the sample.