Cities Where Incomes Are Shrinking the Fastest

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Source: Brandonrush / Wikimedia Commons

25. Mankato-North Mankato, MN
> Per capita income growth in 2016: -2.2%
> 5 yr. per capita income growth: 6.0%
> Per capita income: $43,319
> May 2018 unemployment 2.4%

After climbing for six consecutive years, per capita income fell by 2.2% in the Mankato metro area in 2016. The last time per capita income dipped in the area was from 2008 to 2009, in the midst of the Great Recession. Despite the dip in 2016, Mankato’s income per capita of $43,319 is 6% higher than it was half a decade prior.

While income growth is lagging, the metro area’s job market remains strong. Just 2.4% of workers in the area are out of a job, the lowest unemployment rate of any Minnesota metro area and well below the May national unemployment rate of 3.8%.

Source: picturist / Getty Images

24. New Orleans-Metairie, LA
> Per capita income growth in 2016: -2.2%
> 5 yr. per capita income growth: 7.7%
> Per capita income: $44,979
> May 2018 unemployment: 4.5%

The total income of all workers in the New Orleans-Metairie metro area was 1.6% lower in 2016 than in 2015, even as the population increased by 0.5% over the same period. On a per capita basis, income fell by 2.2% from about $46,000 in 2015 to $45,000 in 2016. The metro area’s economy is heavily dependent on tourism — and income in the region fell despite a record 10.5 million visitors who spent some $7.4 billion in 2016.

The decline in per capita income in New Orleans is likely partially attributable to the oil industry. Oil and gas extraction and related fields account for a larger than typical share of employment and income in the metro area, and oil prices plummeted in both 2014 and 2015, hitting lows not seen in well over a decade in 2016. Total wages in the oil and gas extraction industry in New Orleans fell by 16.7% that year.

Source: Thinkstock

23. Denver-Aurora-Lakewood, CO
> Per capita income growth in 2016: -2.2%
> 5 yr. per capita income growth: 12.6%
> Per capita income: $48,728
> May 2018 unemployment: 2.5%

The Denver metro area population grew by 1.4% in 2016, nearly three times the national population growth of 0.5% over the same period. Overall income did not climb commensurately, however. Per capita income in the Denver metro area was $48,728 in 2016, down 2.2% from the year before. Despite the dip, longer-term income growth in the area has been far faster than average. Over the last half decade, per capita income rose by 12.6% in the metro area — a greater increase than in the majority of cities and the 9.0% national average.

Long term income growth has likely contributed to the relative lack of financial hardship in the metro area. Denver’s 9.4% poverty rate is among the lowest of U.S. metro areas and well below the 14.0% U.S. poverty rate.

Source: John Tufts / Wikimedia Commons

22. San Angelo, TX
> Per capita income growth in 2016: -2.3%
> 5 yr. per capita income growth: 2.5%
> Per capita income: $41,582
> May 2018 unemployment: 3.2%

Per capita income in the San Angelo metro area fell for the second consecutive year in 2016 to $41,582 from $42,547 in 2015. The 2.3% decline was among the largest of any U.S. metro area. For reference, per capita income climbed 0.4% nationwide over the same period.

Like many other metro areas on this list, oil and gas extraction accounts for a larger than typical share of employment and wages in San Angelo. Plummeting oil prices in 2015 and 2016 likely largely explain the fall in per capita income in the area. Employment in the industry fell by 8.2% in 2016 and total wages in the industry fell by 7.8%.

Source: Thinkstock

21. Naples-Immokalee-Marco Island, FL
> Per capita income growth in 2016: -2.3%
> 5 yr. per capita income growth: 15.6%
> Per capita income: $75,635
> May 2018 unemployment: 3.6%

Naples-Immokalee-Marco Island is one of the fastest growing metro areas in the country. The metro area’s population increased by 2.2% from 2015 to 2016, more than four time the national population growth of 0.5% over that time. Income growth has not kept pace, however. Over the same period, total income remained flat and per capita income fell by 2.3%. This may be largely due to a rapidly growing retired population as the number of area residents 65 and older increased by 4.9% in 2016, faster than the comparable 4.7% national increase.

Despite the decline in per capita income, the area remains among the highest earning in the country. Per capita income in the Naples metro area is $75,635, about $31,200 more than per capita income nationwide.