The Income Map

By Richard Florida

The big story last week was the census report on the fall-off in Americans' incomes. The New York Times' David 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), DC ($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).

This article available online at:

http://www.theatlantic.com/national/archive/2009/09/the-income-map/26446/