Special Report

10 Cities Where Incomes Are Shrinking the Fastest

Cities Where Incomes are Growing the Fastest

Source: Thinkstock

10. Stockton-Lodi, CA
> Income growth in 2015: 7.8%
> Income growth 2010-2015: 18.9%
> Per capita income: $35,421
> May unemployment rate: 7.0%

The Stockton-Lodi metro area’s population grew by 1.4% in 2015, double the U.S. population growth rate that year. With additional income-earners, aggregate personal income in the area also grew in 2015 at nearly double the U.S. rate, at 7.8% versus 4.1%.

Natural resource extraction and mining contributed to overall GDP growth in the metro area more than any other industry. Though the largest contributor to economic growth is not an especially high paying industry, it employs 6.9% of the Stockton-Lodi workforce. In comparison, natural resource extraction and mining accounts for only 1.3% of all jobs nationwide.

Source: Thinkstock

9. Vallejo-Fairfield, CA
> Income growth in 2015: 7.9%
> Income growth 2010-2015: 17.7%
> Per capita income: $35,227
> May unemployment rate: 4.8%

The Vallejo-Fairfield metro area’s population grew by 1.1% in 2015, well above the U.S. population growth over the same period. A growing population adds incomes to the economy, and generally reflects strong consumer confidence. Incomes grew by 7.9% in the metro area in 2015, also nearly double the U.S. income growth.

Income growth in Vallejo-Fairfield coincided with improved economic conditions. The metro area’s poverty rate fell slightly from 12.3% in 2014 to 12.1% in 2015. Some of the income gains occurred at the top of the income spectrum. The share of area households earning over $200,000 a year climbed from 5.2% to 5.6% over the same period.

Source: Thinkstock

8. Reno, NV
> Income growth in 2015: 7.9%
> Income growth 2010-2015: 12.3%
> Per capita income: $44,005
> May unemployment rate: 4.1%

Reno’s durable goods manufacturing industry contributed 0.7 percentage points to the area’s above-average 2015 economic growth of 3.3%. The contribution may seem small at under 1 percentage point, but it is seven times greater than the national average contribution of the industry. Reno has enjoyed something of a tech boom in recent years, and the industry’s growth is likely in part the result of companies like Apple, Google, and Tesla expanding operations in the region. Each of these tech giants now has facilities operational or under construction in Reno. The area’s rapid tech expansion has so far likely led to the area’s income growth. A review of local news reports reveals wide approval of the growth, but there are also concerns that with rising demand for high-end apartment buildings an affordable housing shortage may also emerge.

Source: Thinkstock

7. Nashville-Davidson–Murfreesboro–Franklin, TN
> Income growth in 2015: 8.0%
> Income growth 2010-2015: 23.6%
> Per capita income: $49,465
> May unemployment rate: 2.6%

The Nashville metro area’s 8.0% growth in income in 2015 is due in part to the area’s 2.0% population growth, which was more than double the 0.7% U.S. population growth.

The metro area’s thriving professional and business services industry also likely played a role in the metro area’s near nation leading income growth. The industry contributed far more than any other to Nashville’s 3.9% GDP growth in 2015. The metro area’s largest industry by total employment, professional and business services, is also high paying. The average annual salary in Nashville’s professional business services industry is $65,539, well above the area’s $49,465 per capita income.

Source: Thinkstock

6. Kennewick-Richland, WA
> Income growth in 2015: 8.2%
> Income growth 2010-2015: 7.5%
> Per capita income: $37,939
> May unemployment rate: 5.6%

Incomes in the Kennewick-Richland metro area climbed by 8.2% in 2015. Over the same time period, the area’s poverty rate fell from 16.3% to 15.5%.

The professional and business services sector is the largest industry in the metro area by total employment, as well as the second highest paying. The industry employs 18.1% of the area labor force, 12th highest compared with the industry’s employment levels in other U.S. metro areas. The average salary among professional and business service workers in the state is $83,276 a year, more than double the per capita income across the metro area. Two of the largest employers in the area are the Department of Energy’s Pacific Northwest National Laboratory and construction and engineering company Bechtel.

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