South

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.