Daily Management Review

An Island near Miami, US, Where Every Resident is a Millionaire


Fisher Island, an oasis of tropical landscaping and Mediterranean architecture just 3 miles from the shores of Miami is a largely unknown even to those living in the metro area in South Florida.
This island that measures well under a square mile is home to about 700 families who reside along a private shoreline and around a golf course. There are no roads or bridges leading to the island. The only way to reach the island is on a a heavily-secured ferry that is forbidden to outsiders.
But why is this relatively little known island so special? This is so because according to the US 2010 census, it is America’s richest zip code, with median incomes just north of $1 million.
The island came into existence in 1906 when the government cut a canal called Government Cut that separating the land from South Beach. Dana Dorsey—southern Florida’s first black millionaire owned the island for some time until it was sold to real estate mogul Carl Fisher in 1919. Fisher sold the island to William Vanderbilt II for a large boat and $10 who owned Fisher Island for the next two decades. Vanderbilt built several large homes, an airplane landing dock and an ornate mansion that is still the highlight of the island. Since Vanderbilt’s death in 1944, ownership has changed several times, with the company Fisher Island Club standing in since 1987.

There is a 9-hole golf course, a small bird-watching area, and 18 tennis courts, some with the Wimbledon surface, others with the exact clay surface found at the French Open on the small island. There are several high end restaurants and steakhouses. A mile long beach with sand imported from Bermuda is for the private use of the 700 families living on the island and each morning, workers rake it anew.
This island, barely a kilometer long, has a small bank, a post office and a grocery store that may offer 10% of a typical Miami-area Publix. However there are no pharmacies, fast-casual dining or other everyday retail to speak of.
Kids of the families living there have access to jungle gyms, basketball hoops and sports fields. There is even on-site emergency medical staff for island residents and workers.
One of the best things about the island is its safety since it can hardly be reached except for an exclusive ferry ride.
While only a fraction of the families are there at any given time on the island among the roughly 700 families who own homes or apartments on Fisher Island. Most of the residents come to the island for spending vacations or a few months there annually.
Nearly half of the residents are from the U.S., from cities such as New York City and Chicago. The profile of the owners comprises mostly of financiers and CEOs, although a few celebrities like Oprah Winfrey have lived there. The rest of the residents are foreigners from 45 countries such as Russia and China.