Here’s what it costs to live in Georgia’s most expensive ZIP code

To live in most of America’s wealthiest ZIP codes, you’ll need at least six figures.

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That's according to analysts over at GOBankingRates, who studied the income concentrations in every state (plus Washington, D.C.) and compared costs for average mortgage, utilities, transportation, healthcare — and even groceries — to understand what it really costs to live in America's most expensive regions.

Data on median home values, mortgage and other components were culled from Zillow and the Bureau of Labor Statistics.

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Researchers used the 50-30-20 budget rule: to determine how much folks need to earn to live comfortably: 50 percent of your income for the necessities, 30 percent as discretionary income and 20 percent allocated to savings.

“America is a land of haves and have-nots, and plenty of people spend their days driving past swanky suburbs or palatial rural mansions wondering what it would take to have a similar lifestyle,” analysts wrote. “And, depending on where you live, the answer can vary greatly.”

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In Georgia, the most expensive ZIP code is 31561 in Sea Island, where a median home price goes for about $2.75 million, according to GOBankingRates. The state boasts one of the highest figures in the study.

To live comfortably in 31561, you’ll need a total income of $354,366.

How much it costs annually to live in 31561, based on the 50-30-20 budget rule:

  • Total cost of necessities: $177,183
  • Total cost of discretionary splurges: $106,310
  • Total annual savings: $70,873
  • Total income: $354,366

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Compare that to West Virginia, where residents of the state’s most expensive ZIP code, 26508, can live comfortable on a salary less than $80,000 a year. The median home price in West Virginia: $319,000.

And then there’s Sagaponack, New York, near Long Island, where median home prices are in excess of $7 million. You’ll need more than $850,000 per year to comfortably live within the 11962 ZIP code.

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According to Zillow's Home Value Index, the median home values in Sea Island's 31561 have gone up 4.6 percent over the past year — and analysts predict another 3.6 percent rise within the next year. The rate of 31561 homeowners failing to make their mortgage payment is at a low 0.0 percent, whereas Sea Island residents average 7.7 percent delinquent mortgages. The national rate is 1.6 percent.

Explore the full state-by-state analysis at