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Bankrate analysis: The top US cities for building wealth

Washington, D.C. © Sean Pavone/
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While it may be natural to focus on income as the measuring stick for financial well-being, household wealth — money that’s in the bank and in assets such as a home, a retirement account or stocks — is just as important. It can influence your ability to ride out financial bumps, educate younger members of your family and retire in comfort.

How easy it is to amass wealth can depend a lot on where you live — whether, for example, the local job market is strong enough for you to get full value for your labor, or whether local housing prices are rising and are helping households build home equity.

We ranked the 21 largest U.S. metro areas for wealth-building after scoring them on everything from how easy and cheap it is to access financial services to how much spare income households have after they meet their expenses. (For more on our methodology, see our related story.)

Here are the cities, going from worst to first.