Connecting state and local government leaders

How Incomes Compared Last Year Across States and Metro Areas

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Connecting state and local government leaders

New data from the Census Bureau show how median household income levels stacked up around the U.S. in 2017.

Median household incomes last year at the state level ranged from $43,469 in West Virginia, to $82,372 in the District of Columbia, according to U.S. Census Bureau estimates.

Click to expand the chart in a new window. (Data: U.S. Census Bureau/ Chart: Route Fifty)

The Census Bureau also reported metropolitan area median income figures for 2017. Among the 50 U.S. metro areas with the greatest number of households, median income ranged from $50,528 in the region that includes New Orleans, to $117,474 in the Silicon Valley enclave in California where San Jose and Santa Clara are located. 

This chart shows median income levels for the 50 metropolitan areas in the latest American Community Survey release with the greatest number of households. Click to expand the chart in a new window.  (Data: U.S. Census Bureau/ Chart: Route Fifty)

The state and metro area income figures were all recorded as part of the 2017 American Community Survey, released on Thursday.

The Census Bureau also released findings from its Current Population Survey. These include a 2017 median income statistic for the entire U.S.—$61,372. That's up from $60,309 in 2016 and close to high points for the figure seen in 1999 and 2007. 

The latest national median income figure, along with other metrics like economic output and employment rates, are signs that overall the U.S. economy is healthy. But there are simmering concerns that the next downturn could be on the horizon. Experts point to large amounts of outstanding corporate debt and trade tensions as two of the issues to watch.

At the same time, there are indications that economic growth during the roughly decade long recovery period since the Great Recession has disproportionately benefited people at the top of the income ladder.

In response to the Census estimates, an economist with the liberal Economic Policy Institute noted that income growth appears to have "stalled" last year among black households.

While the chart below does not show changes over time, it does illustrate the sharp differences in median incomes for black and white households in states across the nation.

The American Community Survey release did not include a median income estimate for black or African American households in Wyoming. Click to expand the chart in a new window. (Data: U.S. Census Bureau/ Chart: Route Fifty)

Route Fifty's previous coverage of the poverty statistics in the latest American Community Survey release can be found here.

More information from the Census Bureau on the data can be found here.

Bill Lucia is a Senior Reporter for Government Executive's Route Fifty and is based in Washington, D.C.

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