Dr Charles Murray, in his excellent book “Coming Apart: The State of White America 1960-2010” talks about “super zips” where the “cognitive elite” are congregating. These zip codes have both the highest median incomes and the highest amount of college graduates. Earlier this week, the Washington Post published a map with every zip code in the nation, based on Dr. Murray’s information, broken down by income and college education and is an excellent demonstration of our increasing bifurcating society. The DC area of course has the highest cluster of these “super zips”. (We have previously discussed why on this website)

In short, a Zip ranking between 0 and 99 represents the average of a zip code’s percentile ranks in college education and income.  A ranking of 95 and higher qualifies the zip code as a “Super Zip”.

For example, the ranking for 20148 (Brambleton area) is 99.

20197 (Waterford), 20152 (South Riding) ranked 98

20147 (Ashburn/Broadlands area) and 20165 (Cascades area of Sterling) both ranked 97

20105 (Aldie) ranked 96

20132 (Purcellville), 20158 (Hamilton) 20141 (Round Hill) 20166 (Dulles area of Sterling) all ranked 95 (yes, parts of Sterling are “super zips”)

A few Loudoun zip codes just missed “super zip” status:

20175, 20176 (both Leesburg), 20177 (Middleburg) all ranked 94

Now, consider the fact that this is just Loudoun County that we are speaking of (Fairfax County for example has several as well) and that hundreds of other territories across the union don’t even have ONE. Also consider that 20032 (South East DC’s Anancostia area) scored a 13 and 21223 in West Baltimore (of ‘The Wire’ fame) scored a 4 (yes, Four). Some inner city areas in other states scored a flat ZERO.

Click here to see the map and enter a zip code to see how it is broken down.

This is from the Washington Post:

Yet many who live in these rapidly evolving communities do not think of themselves as rich or elite. The cost of living, particularly for housing, eats up a large chunk of the two incomes it typically takes to afford a comfortable home in a good school district.

Life surrounded by affluence can also breed worries that might seem absurd to people who do not live in Super Zips — such as whether to hire a professional tennis coach to help a child make the school team, or get an iPhone for a child in elementary school. Some question whether their children can achieve the same level of comfort as adults they know now.

So do the children themselves.

“My parents set me up with something great,” said Heather Burns, 23, adding that she grew up hearing her Loudoun home town of Ashburn described as “Cashburn” — as in “cash to burn.”

Burns said being raised in an area with good schools gave her a foundation to succeed. Even so, she said she may soon move away: “I can’t afford to keep up their lifestyle.”

Indeed, and when/if the gov’t spigot gets turned down significantly, neither will a lot of other people…