Now Farley and her husband, Michael, who was raised on a farm and went to college on a ROTC scholarship, work for defense contractors. Their combined income affords them a spacious five-bedroom house with 3.5 baths. Two of their three daughters have left for college, so it’s just the three of them now.
“I’ve come a long way,” said Farley, 46, pondering her path from a refugee camp to one of the country’s most affluent and educated Zip codes. “This is a wonderful area. I’m not sure all the people who live [here] recognize that. If all you’ve ever known is an upper-middle-class life, it’s hard to see how nice we have it.”
Farley resides in Clarksville, Md., a bedroom community midway between Washington and Baltimore where the median household income tops $181,000, more than triple the national average.
An astonishing 98 percent of River Hill High School’s graduates head to college. Volvos, Mercedes-Benzes and BMWs are scattered throughout the student parking lot. Even pets get in on the refined tastes of their owners; in a small shopping center near the school, a shop specializing in organic dog food is next door to the organic grocery store.