The United States has lost $63 billion of personal income in the last quarter, and about the fifth of the loss comes from California. But when you line up the states back to back in order of percent change in income, America's late acquisitions are the bookends: Hawaii is getting richer, faster, while Alaska's income plummet is more than six-times worse than the national average.


A quick caveat for Alaska's figures is pointed out in the introduction. The Alaska Parliament Permanent Fund offered a 2008 special* $2000 payment to each resident (socialism?), so the percent drop in income is inflated. But still, Alaska did suffer the worst year-over-year GDP drop of any state in the union, so it's no surprise that its personal income should suffer similarly.

Here's a graph comparing all the states' income drops, by percentage.

personalincomepercent.png
And because blogging is all about making loose connections (just like Obama's speeches) check out how this graph compares with the 2008 election results:

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Of the 20 states with positive quarter-over-quarter personal income gains, a majority (12) went for McCain! This is not as stunning an observation as I thought it would be when I uploaded the electoral map, but oh well. In the data, one thing that strikes me about the Southeast is that while farming incomes nationally fell at a near-double-digit level, they actually increased in the Southeast by nearly 10 percent.

*Update: Astute Atlantic fellow Jeannette Lee points out that the Alaska Permanent Fund is, well, more permanent than I suggested, and not very parliamentary at all. It's basically a way to funnel oil (and other minerals') revenue to current and future Alaskans. She explains: "The 2008 payout of $2,000 wasn't a special one-shot deal. It's paid out annually, just in varying amounts depending on the five-year average of oil royalty investments. The special payout in 2008 that you may have been thinking of was a $1,200 "energy rebate," which came on top of the Permanent Fund payout, for a grand total of $3,200 and change."

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