Fairfax’s wealthy are moving on up — and out

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Prince George’s Hispanic immigrant population has swelled, and its black families are pushing further from the city, with more than 3,600 families moving to the quieter outposts of Anne Arundel and Charles counties in 2009.

Montgomery County, the figures show, was no longer the destination for wealthy families that it once was. The average family moving to Montgomery made $56,000, while the family leaving made $66,000. Montgomery had a net loss of 11,000 families to other jurisdictions over the most recent five-year period, with an earnings deficit of $2 billion.

Resurgent District

For the first time, wages earned by professionals moving to the District in 2009 outweighed those lost by families leaving it. The famously transient city expanded its tax base by attracting increasing numbers of young, single workers despite the fact that those workers earned less than the growing families they replaced.

While Washingtonians were still more likely to move from downtown to its suburbs than the reverse, the city was a powerful magnet attracting migrants from New York, Chicago, Los Angeles — which saw the greatest exodus nationally — and rural Virginia.

But Arlington was most transient, with one-fifth of its population turning over every year. Singles and couples arrive making $59,000 and depart not long after making $72,000.

In some cases, apparent losses were a testament to the region’s ability to serve as a steppingstone to prosperity, a stop on the road between scarce jobs and low wages and a waterfront piece of the pie.

In 2009, 174 Montgomery County residents earning a combined $80 million retired to the sunny shores of Palm Beach, Fla. The 198 Floridians it traded to the Maryland suburb earned a collective $8 million.

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