Total personal income in the United States climbed for the third consecutive year in 2016. Nationwide, the total amount Americans took home rose 1.1% — from $14.2 trillion in 2015 to $14.4 trillion in 2016. Factoring in population growth over the same period, per capita income inched up by a relatively modest 0.4%, and now stands at $44,450.
Per capita income growth was generally strongest in and around major American cities. However, there were several exceptions. In a number of metro areas, per capita income fell considerably in 2016.
Each metro area economy is unique, and a decline in income per capita in a certain area can be attributed to any number of causes. In some cities, the rapidly falling per capita income was the product of employment and wage declines in major industries — and often symptomatic of broader economic trouble.
In other cities, a dip in per capita income is simply the result of population growth outpacing income growth — and not necessarily an indication of economic decline.
24/7 Wall St. reviewed one-year changes in per capita income in U.S. metro areas to identify the cities where incomes are shrinking the fastest. Per capita income is total personal income divided by the population. The declines in 2016 in per capita income range from 2.2% to 8.8%.