Ottawa/New York/San Francisco — You could easily drive through this leafy Silicon Valley suburb without realising you were in America’s richest neighbourhood. From the road, it is all high brick walls and opaque gates.

It takes Google Maps to get a glimpse of what lies behind. Satellite images of Atherton, California — where the average household income just blew $500,000 — reveal the sprawling homes of tech billionaires and sports stars, studded with tennis courts and pools...

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