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Playing SimCity 4 with a tiny experimental city today, I noticed something interesting.

Say I have a residential area that looks like this:

interior 6 blocks high, 10 blocks wide
each housing lot is two blocks deep

(It's connected to a small amount of medium-density industrial and low-density commercial, enough for the residential to fill up.)

Now if this area completely fills up with low-wealth housing, for a total of 26 houses, I'll make a certain amount of tax revenue per month. Now let's say I surround this block with the various items necessary for higher-wealth housing, e.g.:

  • elementary school
  • high school
  • clinic or hospital
  • water
  • police station

The houses start to turn into medium-wealth or even high-wealth houses. But as they do so, they get larger. A single high-wealth house can grow to take up the entire right side of the block:


No matter how much of this block turns into medium- or high-wealth housing, I get essentially the same amount of revenue every month. It's as if, even though a single medium- or high-wealth house produces more revenue, I lose out because there are comparatively so few of them.

Previously I've always striven to make as much of my city high-wealth as possible. Now that I see that this has no effect on residential tax revenue, what good does it do?

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That's some pretty good research you're doing. Haven't a clue what the answer is, but have an upvote. – Frank Feb 5 '13 at 4:35
You left out a pretty important detail - what sort of tax structure are you using here, a proportional (default I believe), regressive or progressive tax system? – Private Pansy Feb 6 '13 at 7:16
This is just with the out-of-the-box 9% on everything. – Kyralessa Feb 6 '13 at 16:31

If you're looking purely at tax revenue, remember that residential taxes are just one part of the equation. Residential wealth, as you pointed out already, is strongly associated with education, healthcare and high land value.

What is more important though is that high levels of education and wealth is also associated with high value $$$I (hi-tech) and $$$C (High end commercial and retail) jobs. In most cities, industrial and commercial tax revenue is usually significantly higher than residential ones, so by attracting rich Sims you also bring in high value jobs which should give you additional tax revenue.

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Just to bump something long dead, I've done extensive research on different tax levels of residential lots. I build my city entirely with 2x1 size lots, so that just puts things in perspective.

From my research, low wealth residents always build one lot properties, medium wealth residents build one lot properties 95% of the time (building two lot properties 5% of the time), and high wealth residents build six lot properties 95% of the time (building 4 lot properties 5% of the time). Low wealth properties have occupancies of 12 80% of the time, medium wealth properties have occupancies of 12 60% of the time, and high wealth properties have occupancies of 20 95% of the time.

Assuming the out of the box proportional tax rate where everything is taxed at 9%: I've found that low wealth properties generate 3.8 simoleions per building, medium wealth properties generate 4.5 simoleions per building, and high wealth properties generate 3.3 simoleions per building. From this data, there's conclusive evidence to state that if you leave the tax rate unchanged you actually generate more income without high wealth properties than you do with those properties.

The solution to this (if you want to have a benefit from high wealth properties) is to raise the tax rate on high wealth properties. Sim City is (obviously) a sandbox game, so you're free to do whatever you wish, but for every 1% increase from 9% that you raise the tax on high wealth properties, you gain an addition 0.37 simoleions from them.

I use a system with 9% tax on low and medium wealth properties, and 13.5% on high wealth, that way I get 5 simoleions per high wealth property. Then I also don't worry about the high tax deterring them from moving in, because if I lowered the tax rate they'd provide no benefit to me anyhow.

I hope this helps! Keep on building your cities!

NOTE All values provided above are per month (obviously) and I play on hard difficulty. Your values will be higher if you play on medium difficulty, and higher still if you play on easy. Also, all values are based on statistical averages with the original un-modded game, and therefore will be true for the entire city in an un-modded game, but may not be true for cities with less than 750 people or for cities with mods.

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