For the first time in more than a decade, Darien is back on top as the richest town in Connecticut.
Despite a slight decline in median family income, which dropped from $187,581 in 2009 to $185,619 in 2010, Darien moved up from third to first in Fairfield County – and therefore the state.
The town replaces Weston at the top, which dropped from $190,636 in 2009 to $180,321 in 2010 in median income. Weston is now third in the county and state, behind Darien and second-place New Canaan at $180,434. The last time Darien was at the top in median family income was 2000.
The figures were compiled by the Connecticut Economic Resource Center Inc. in Rocky Hill, a nonprofit agency that researches and provides economic data used by the state.
Darien First Selectman Dave Campbell said the new ranking does not surprise him. "Despite the economic downturn, our community is a very thriving place with a lot of families and executives who moved here in recent years from New York City," Campbell said. "We also have the highest percentage of residents under 18 in the state — 37 percent compared to the 22 percent state average.
"I think our location as a coastal town with beaches and other amenities, such as our close proximity to New York, draw a lot of families," he said. "Our school population continues to grow, now at about 4,700, which is up 13 percent from five years ago."
But, Campbell said, the top ranking is "not nearly as important as the fact that we have been able to weather the economic downtown that has hit a lot of communities across the state and country."
Alissa DeJonge, director of research for the Connecticut Economic Resource Center, said despite declines in every town except Greenwich and Westport, Fairfield County continues to have the highest family median income of any county in the state. She said the county's median income dropped from $82,184 in 2009 to $77,620 in 2010.
"The numbers vary a little from town to town based on a combination of demographics and a community's industrial growth or decline," she said.
"But even in affluent places the median income declined because companies have downsized and people have taken positions that pay less," DeJonge said. "Executives who stayed with their companies did not receive the large bonuses they have in the past."
Do you feel like you live in the richest community in the state? Is this the best time for Darien in a decade? Leave a comment below.