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    Where do the most millionaires live in Mass.?

    Cast a line in Newton, Wellesley, Winchester, or Hingham, and you are likely to snag a millionaire. The chances drop markedly, though, in Avon, Ayer, and Chelsea.

    Those odds are courtesy of the state Department of Revenue, which recently released its latest figures on the number of Massachusetts taxpayers reporting incomes of $1 million or more.

    The numbers, which come from taxes filed for 2012, show that 15,499 people reported million-dollar incomes that year, with an average annual gross just shy of $3.6 million.

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    The state processed just over 3.3 million returns altogether that year, and the number of millionaires was up significantly from the previous year, when there were 13,074 millionaire filers, according to spokeswoman Maryann Merigan.

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    The 2012 figures show the state’s largest city, Boston, with the most millionaire taxpayers — 1,698 — in sheer numbers, followed by Newton with 1,136, Wellesley (767), Weston (529), Brookline (442), and Lexington (379).

    The Department of Revenue report, not surprisingly, found the largest number of suburban big earners in communities known for their wealth — with preponderance in the western suburbs where 15 communities each had more than 100 people reporting earnings of $1 million or more.

    Winchester, with 266 millionaire filers, topped the list among suburbs north of Boston, followed by Andover with 244, Marblehead (157), North Andover (114), and Manchester-by-the-Sea (100). Gritty Lawrence, with a population of 77,300 and a per capita income of less than $12,000, and Lynn, with more than 91,000 people and an average income of about $18,000, each had fewer than three millionaire taxpayers.

    South of Boston, Hingham — with a population of 22,500 and per capita income of $81,500 — had 288 millionaire filers, the most among south suburbs. Neighboring Cohasset counted 129 millionaire earners among its 8,195 residents.

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    The highest average income for millionaire taxpayers in one community was $10.9 million, reaped by the 15 mega earners in Norwood, according to the Department of Revenue report. Groton was a step down with an average income of $5.9 million reported by the 31 millionaire taxpayers living there. Sherborn’s 85 millionaires averaged $5.6 million, Wayland’s 199 averaged $5.5 million, and Weston’s 529 had an average income of $5.4 million.

    As might be expected, traditionally blue-collar towns had fewer millionaire earners. But Harvard Business School professor Michael Norton, a psychologist who has studied the correlation between wealth and satisfaction, said the high rollers who live in those communities are likely to be happier individuals.

    “If they grew up there or stayed there [after they got rich], research would suggest they absolutely are happier,” said Norton, who is coauthor of “Happy Money: The Science of Smarter Spending.”

    “It’s important who we compare ourselves to,” he said. “It turns out that if you have $100,000 and you lived in a neighborhood where everyone made $50,000, you’d [probably] be really happy. But if you lived in a neighborhood where everyone made $200,000, you wouldn’t be as happy.

    “As you make more money, you [tend to] move to a nicer neighborhood, so you’re never really feeling like you’re getting ahead. One of the best things you can do is change your lifestyle slowly so you appreciate it more,” he added.

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    Economists Thomas Stanley and William Danko, who wrote “The Millionaire Next Door: The Surprising Secrets of America’s Wealthy,” found that the bulk of the wealthy people they interviewed lived well below their means.

    “What are the three words that profile the affluent: frugal, frugal, frugal,” the book intones.

    Norton said research has found that spending money on other people, though, can make you happy — especially if you give to someone you know or with whom you are connected.

    “We found that giving makes you happier in many countries — in the US, Canada, India, Uganda, South Africa, and others as well,” he said. “It seems to be a very universal thing that giving leads to happiness.”

    Rob Hale, a millionaire from Hingham who heads Granite Telecommunications in Quincy and donates substantial amounts of money both personally and through his company, said he agrees “100 percent with the professor.”

    “I’ve never thought about it in context of giving away money makes you happy, but it does,” Hale said. “And if you can give in a targeted fashion, it’s much more personal and much more emotionally satisfying. What we focus on, as a family, are things that tug at our heartstrings.”

    For example, Hale has given about $10 million for pancreatic cancer research at Boston’s Dana-Farber Cancer Institute because his father died from the disease.

    Alan McKim, another Hingham millionaire and founder of the Norwell-based Clean Harbors hazardous waste cleanup company, also has given away large chunks of cash. His $30 million gift to Northeastern University landed McKim on the Chronicle of Philanthropy’s list of 50 largest charitable donors in 2012.

    Richard D’Amore, an Everett native and cofounder of North Bridge Venture Partners in Waltham, also was on the list. He matched McKim’s gift to Northeastern, which led to the D’Amore-McKim School of Business being named after them.

    McKim and D’Amore, who both dropped out of Northeastern before returning to get degrees, said they hoped going public with their donations would encourage other alumni to give back to the school.

    Millionaire Albert Stone would rather no one notices the money he gives away — which includes an estimated $20 million to the small town of Townsend for a new library, senior center, and meeting hall. The donation came with the caveat that none of the municipal buildings bear his name.

    Stone is chairman of the board of Sterilite, the self-described “largest plastic housewares company in North America,” which moved to Townsend in 1968. He grew up in Haverhill and lives in Groton in a home the local assessors value at $465,600.

    “I don’t talk about it,” Stone said of his philanthropy, in a recent attempt at a telephone interview. “I don’t care to.”

    Norton said the research he and others are doing in the Behavioral Insights Group at Harvard could eventually affect public policy and taxes.

    “We’re looking at how to make people more happy,” he said. “We can think about how to structure taxes so people feel satisfied about paying their taxes, instead of hating it.”

    Million-dollar incomes in Massachusetts

    Do you live near a millionaire? The likelihood depends on your location, according to state Department of Revenue. Its recent report of tax data from 2012 shows 15,499 filers reporting an Adjusted Gross Income of more than $1 million.

    1 or fewer
    1-2
    2-4
    4-15
    More than 15 millionaires per 1,000 residents
    Numbers exclude towns with less than three million-dollar incomes
    Lynnfield
    5.52 millionaires per 1,000
    Towns with three or more millionaires in 2012
    Town Per 1,000 2012 millionaires 2012 pop.
    Abington 0.44 7 15,985
    Acton 4.01 88 21,924
    Acushnet 0.39 4 10,303
    Alford 6.07 3 494
    Amesbury 0.25 4 16,283
    Amherst 0.71 27 37,819
    Andover 7.35 244 33,201
    Arlington 1.47 63 42,844
    Ashburnham 0.66 4 6,081
    Ashland 1.15 19 16,593
    Attleboro 0.25 11 43,593
    Auburn 0.31 5 16,188
    Barnstable 2.06 93 45,193
    Bedford 3.15 42 13,320
    Belchertown 0.20 3 14,649
    Bellingham 0.43 7 16,332
    Belmont 9.14 226 24,729
    Berkley 0.62 4 6,411
    Berlin 1.74 5 2,866
    Beverly 2.40 95 39,502
    Billerica 0.37 15 40,243
    Bolton 3.06 15 4,897
    Boston 2.75 1698 617,594
    Bourne 0.81 16 19,754
    Boxborough 2.80 14 4,996
    Boxford 10.67 85 7,965
    Boylston 3.44 15 4,355
    Braintree 1.31 47 35,744
    Brewster 0.61 6 9,820
    Bridgewater 0.45 12 26,563
    Brimfield 0.83 3 3,609
    Brockton 0.07 7 93,810
    Brookline 7.53 442 58,732
    Burlington 1.35 33 24,498
    Cambridge 4.28 450 105,162
    Canton 3.66 79 21,561
    Carlisle 11.95 58 4,852
    Carver 0.43 5 11,509
    Charlton 0.54 7 12,981
    Chatham 3.92 24 6,125
    Chelmsford 1.12 38 33,802
    Chicopee 0.09 5 55,298
    Chilmark 6.93 6 866
    Cohasset 17.10 129 7,542
    Concord 17.15 303 17,668
    Conway 3.16 6 1,897
    Dalton 0.44 3 6,756
    Danvers 1.21 32 26,493
    Dartmouth 1.41 48 34,032
    Dedham 3.03 75 24,729
    Deerfield 1.76 9 5,125
    Dennis 1.20 17 14,207
    Dover 35.78 200 5,589
    Dracut 0.31 9 29,457
    Dudley 0.44 5 11,390
    Dunstable 1.57 5 3,179
    Duxbury 8.30 125 15,059
    East Bridgewater 0.22 3 13,794
    East Longmeadow 1.34 21 15,720
    Eastham 1.01 5 4,956
    Easthampton 0.19 3 16,053
    Easton 2.73 63 23,112
    Edgartown 2.70 11 4,067
    Egremont 4.08 5 1,225
    Essex 4.85 17 3,504
    Everett 0.12 5 41,667
    Fairhaven 0.76 12 15,873
    Falmouth 1.46 46 31,531
    Fitchburg 0.10 4 40,318
    Foxborough 2.31 39 16,865
    Framingham 0.81 55 68,318
    Franklin 1.71 54 31,635
    Freetown 0.79 7 8,870
    Georgetown 1.47 12 8,183
    Gloucester 1.63 47 28,789
    Gosnold 253.33 19 75
    Great Barrington 2.53 18 7,104
    Greenfield 0.23 4 17,456
    Groton 2.91 31 10,646
    Hamilton 9.40 73 7,764
    Hampden 1.56 8 5,139
    Hanover 2.74 38 13,879
    Hanson 0.29 3 10,209
    Harvard 5.06 33 6,520
    Harwich 0.90 11 12,243
    Haverhill 0.28 17 60,879
    Hingham 13.00 288 22,157
    Holden 0.35 6 17,346
    Holliston 2.44 33 13,547
    Holyoke 0.08 3 39,880
    Hopkinton 7.84 117 14,925
    Hudson 0.37 7 19,063
    Hull 1.65 17 10,293
    Ipswich 3.11 41 13,175
    Kingston 1.19 15 12,629
    Lakeville 1.04 11 10,602
    Lancaster 0.99 8 8,055
    Lenox 1.99 10 5,025
    Leominster 0.47 19 40,759
    Leverett 2.70 5 1,851
    Lexington 12.07 379 31,394
    Lincoln 21.85 139 6,362
    Littleton 1.34 12 8,924
    Longmeadow 6.53 103 15,784
    Lowell 0.15 16 106,519
    Ludlow 0.24 5 21,103
    Lunenburg 0.50 5 10,086
    Lynnfield 5.52 64 11,596
    Malden 0.13 8 59,450
    Manchester 19.47 100 5,136
    Mansfield 1.42 33 23,184
    Marblehead 7.93 157 19,808
    Marion 6.32 31 4,907
    Marlborough 0.65 25 38,499
    Marshfield 1.59 40 25,132
    Mashpee 1.29 18 14,006
    Mattapoisett 4.14 25 6,045
    Medfield 9.90 119 12,024
    Medford 0.30 17 56,173
    Medway 1.18 15 12,752
    Melrose 1.07 29 26,983
    Mendon 1.20 7 5,839
    Methuen 0.21 10 47,255
    Middleborough 0.22 5 23,116
    Middleton 2.78 25 8,987
    Milford 0.43 12 27,999
    Millbury 0.23 3 13,261
    Millis 0.38 3 7,891
    Milton 4.48 121 27,003
    Nahant 4.69 16 3,410
    Nantucket 3.34 34 10,172
    Natick 2.76 91 33,006
    Needham 11.60 335 28,886
    New Bedford 0.09 9 95,072
    Newbury 3.75 25 6,666
    Newburyport 2.47 43 17,416
    Newton 13.34 1136 85,146
    Norfolk 2.40 27 11,227
    North Andover 4.02 114 28,352
    North Attleboro 1.08 31 28,712
    North Reading 2.01 30 14,892
    Northampton 0.67 19 28,549
    Northborough 1.55 22 14,155
    Northbridge 0.51 8 15,707
    Norton 0.37 7 19,031
    Norwell 8.66 91 10,506
    Norwood 0.52 15 28,602
    Orleans 2.55 15 5,890
    Otis 1.86 3 1,612
    Palmer 0.41 5 12,140
    Paxton 0.62 3 4,806
    Peabody 0.39 20 51,251
    Pembroke 0.90 16 17,837
    Pepperell 0.52 6 11,497
    Pittsfield 0.40 18 44,737
    Plainville 0.85 7 8,264
    Plymouth 0.62 35 56,468
    Princeton 2.05 7 3,413
    Provincetown 1.36 4 2,942
    Quincy 0.33 30 92,271
    Randolph 0.25 8 32,112
    Raynham 0.52 7 13,383
    Reading 2.14 53 24,747
    Rehoboth 1.55 18 11,608
    Revere 0.10 5 51,755
    Richmond 3.39 5 1,475
    Rochester 1.91 10 5,232
    Rockport 2.45 17 6,952
    Rowley 0.85 5 5,856
    Rutland 0.38 3 7,973
    Salem 0.29 12 41,340
    Salisbury 0.48 4 8,283
    Sandwich 0.58 12 20,675
    Saugus 0.23 6 26,628
    Scituate 3.31 60 18,133
    Seekonk 1.02 14 13,722
    Sharon 4.20 74 17,612
    Sheffield 0.92 3 3,257
    Sherborn 20.64 85 4,119
    Shrewsbury 1.66 59 35,608
    Somerset 0.50 9 18,165
    Somerville 0.40 30 75,754
    South Hadley 0.34 6 17,514
    Southampton 1.04 6 5,792
    Southborough 10.55 103 9,767
    Southbridge 0.36 6 16,719
    Southwick 1.26 12 9,502
    Springfield 0.07 10 153,060
    Sterling 1.02 8 7,808
    Stockbridge 2.05 4 1,947
    Stoneham 0.84 18 21,437
    Stoughton 0.15 4 26,962
    Stow 3.64 24 6,590
    Sturbridge 1.08 10 9,268
    Sudbury 12.74 225 17,659
    Sunderland 0.81 3 3,684
    Sutton 2.12 19 8,963
    Swampscott 5.80 80 13,787
    Swansea 0.38 6 15,865
    Taunton 0.11 6 55,874
    Tewksbury 0.55 16 28,961
    Tisbury 3.55 14 3,949
    Topsfield 6.08 37 6,085
    Townsend 0.34 3 8,926
    Truro 2.00 4 2,003
    Tyngsborough 1.06 12 11,292
    Upton 1.59 12 7,542
    Uxbridge 0.22 3 13,457
    Wakefield 0.88 22 24,932
    Walpole 2.37 57 24,070
    Waltham 0.58 35 60,632
    Wareham 0.37 8 21,822
    Watertown 1.25 40 31,915
    Wayland 15.31 199 12,994
    Webster 0.36 6 16,767
    Wellesley 27.41 767 27,982
    Wellfleet 1.09 3 2,750
    Wenham 8.41 41 4,875
    West Boylston 0.39 3 7,669
    West Bridgewater 0.72 5 6,916
    West Newbury 4.25 18 4,235
    West Springfield 0.63 18 28,391
    West Stockbridge 3.06 4 1,306
    West Tisbury 2.55 7 2,740
    Westborough 3.45 63 18,272
    Westfield 0.56 23 41,094
    Westford 2.23 49 21,951
    Westminster 1.10 8 7,277
    Weston 46.98 529 11,261
    Westport 0.90 14 15,532
    Westwood 12.31 180 14,618
    Weymouth 0.15 8 53,743
    Wilbraham 1.76 25 14,219
    Williamsburg 1.21 3 2,482
    Williamstown 1.81 14 7,754
    Wilmington 0.58 13 22,325
    Winchester 12.45 266 21,374
    Winthrop 0.63 11 17,497
    Woburn 0.50 19 38,120
    Worcester 0.31 57 181,045
    Wrentham 2.37 26 10,955
    Yarmouth 0.38 9 23,793

    SOURCES: Department of Revenue, US Census

    Luke Knox / Globe Staff

    Johanna Seltz can be reached at seltzjohanna@gmail.com.