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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:

╔════╦╦════╗
║↑↑↑↑║║HHHH║
║↑↑↑↑║║HHHH║
║←←→→║║HHHH║
║←←→→╚╝HHHH║
║↓↓↓↓↓↓HHHH║
║↓↓↓↓↓↓HHHH║
╚══════════╝

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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4  
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

1 Answer 1

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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