Richard Florida
by Richard Florida
Wed Sep 16th 2009 at 10:00am UTC

The Income Map

The big story last week was the census report on the fall-off in Americans’ incomes. The New York TimesDavid Leonhardt called it a “lost decade” with 2008 median household income of $50,303 falling beneath the 1998 figure of $51,295. While the national pattern is troubling, the trend in U.S. income varies widely by state.

Kevin Stolarick, research director of the Martin Prosperity Institute, compiled state-by-state statistics comparing incomes in 2007-2008 and 2005-2006.

The first map below shows the change in income for the 50 states. There were some big losers – New Jersey (-$7,214), Vermont -($5,757), Georgia (-$3,304), Delaware (-$2,558), Minnesota (-$2303), Tennessee (-$2218), Arizona (-$1,891) and Florida (-$1,890).

But there were also some big income gainers – Colorado ($4,658), North Dakota ($4,412), Oklahoma ($3,998), Alaska ($3,756), New Hampshire ($3,663), D.C. ($3,467), and Alabama ($3,405).

The second map shows the percent change in income by state.

Once again we see the patterns of winners and losers. Unlike in the nation as a whole, incomes actually increased in 29 of 50 states. Eight states saw income gains of more then five percent – Oklahoma (9.6 percent), North Dakota (9.2 percent), Alabama (8.4 percent), Colorado (8.1 percent), D.C. (6.8 percent), Alaska (6.2 percent), New Hampshire (5.7 percent), and Oregon (5.0 percent).

On the other hand, two states saw income losses of 10 percent or more – Vermont (-10.3 percent) and New Jersey (-10.1 percent); and incomes declined by more than five percent in two others – Georgia (-6.4 percent) and Tennessee (- 5.1 percent).

8 Responses to “The Income Map”

  1. Creative Class: The Income Map | The Daily MBA Says:

    [...] income in 2008 was $50,303 down from the 1998 figure of $51,295. The chart per state is here. It’s a disturbing trend but the by state data is all over the map. It’s hard to see [...]

  2. Michael Wells Says:

    Oregon had decent gains on this map from ‘08. I wonder what it’s like now, with unemployment over 11%?

  3. Cliff Lippard Says:

    And of course there are likely large variances within the states:

  4. Buzzcut Says:

    With so much paper weath generated over the last TWO decades by, first, bogus venture capital schemes in “technology” and, second, real estate, both of which had bubbles that popped, you really have to question all these income statistics. What was real, sustainable income, and what was just cash thrown off from the bubbles, never to be seen again?

    And, moving forward, what’s the next bubble(s)? Most likely T-bills and the US dollar itself. How much of our wealth and income that we now have is not real, just like the capital gains of tech stocks?

    In particular, if you’re one of those federal workers making 100% more than your private sector equivalent, I question if your income is sustainable. When the feds go into default, you’re going to be out on the street taking a 50% pay cut.

  5. Buzzcut Says:

    BTW, the time frame of these maps also reflects the bubbles in commodities. That explains why Alaska and North Dakota look so good. Again, that income is not real, not sustainable.

    In another words, Sarah Palin should not spend the “oil royalty bonus” all Alaskans got in ‘08. She might not see another one.

    Of course, with oil at $72 a barrel this morning, there is still a bit of a bubble in commodities. Gold at $1000 reflects it as well.

  6. Richard Florida on the Geography of Income Change « Voir Dire Says:

    [...] Richard Florida blogs on the geography of income change. On the other hand, two states saw income losses of 10 percent or more – Vermont (-10.3 percent) and New Jersey (-10.1 percent); and incomes declined by more than five percent in two others – Georgia (-6.4 percent) and Tennessee (- 5.1 percent). [...]

  7. ProBlogger: Secrets for Blogging Your Way to a Six-Figure Income | WordPress Source Says:

    [...] Creative Class » Blog Archive » The Income Map – Creative Class [...]

  8. Dr. M Says:

    Median income at state level is a proxy for many variables, including employment type. States with highest levels of self-employment would naturally reflect greater drops in media income… Also, states with largest state supported sectors and budgetary declines will be impacted… The maps needs to be adjusted for these factors before coming to any final conclusions. Interesting, though…