Top 10 Cities for Personal Income Growth

Wendell Cox looks at which U.S. cities saw the greatest gains (and losses) to per capita income from 2000 to 2010.
January 28, 2011, 6am PST | Lynn Vande Stouwe
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Adjusting for inflation, Cox examines the 28 cities covered by the U.S. Bureau of Labor's Metropolitan Region Consumer Price Index to determine which areas saw the greatest gains and losses to personal income over the past ten years. While 18 cities saw per capita income increase, 10 experienced decreases.

At the top of the list with 9.7% growth is Baltimore, which Cox says benefits from proximity to Washington, D.C. (#3). The list's "biggest surprise" is Pittsburgh's second place finish. Cox attributes the city's 8.2% income growth to a increasing economic activity throughout the greater metropolitan region and declining reliance on the central city. At the bottom of the list is San Jose, with a "stunning" 18.7% decline in personal income since 2000.

The findings suggest a need to rethink preconceptions about regional growth, Cox says:

"Overall, the South and the West captured nine of the bottom ten positions, while only one Midwestern metropolitan area, Detroit, broke into the bottom ten. Of course, the 2000s certainly were an unusual time. But it does suggest that the dogma about the geography of regional prosperity needs to be challenged and perhaps thoroughly revised."

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Published on Sunday, January 23, 2011 in New Geography
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