Cities Where Incomes Are Shrinking the Fastest

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20. Morgantown, WV
> Per capita income growth in 2016: -2.3%
> 5 yr. per capita income growth: -0.7%
> Per capita income: $38,691
> May 2018 unemployment: 4.4%

Morgantown is one of two West Virginia metro areas with a near nation-leading decline in income per capita in 2016. Per capita income fell in the Morgantown metro area by 2.3% in 2016 even as per capita income climbed by 0.4% nationwide the same year. While there has been no consistent pattern of growth or decline year by year in the metro area, over the last half decade, per capita income in the metro area declined by 0.7%. Many Morgantown residents are feeling the pinch. The SNAP — formerly known as Food Stamp — recipiency rate in the area climbed from 8.4% in 2011 to 13.6% in 2016. Over the same period, the poverty rate climbed from 18.1% to 20.1%.

Source: Thinkstock

19. Parkersburg-Vienna, WV
> Per capita income growth in 2016: -2.4%
> 5 yr. per capita income growth: 5.0%
> Per capita income: $39,276
> May 2018 unemployment: 5.7%

By several measures, the Parkersburg-Vienna metro area’s economy is stagnating. Per capita income fell for the second consecutive year in 2016, declining by 2.4%. Currently, 5.7% of the metro area’s labor force is out of a job, one of higher metro area unemployment rates nationwide and well above the May U.S. unemployment rate of 3.8%. Per capita income in the area relatively low at just $39,276 — about $5,200 less than the national per capita income.

The area is also rapidly losing residents. From 2015 to 2016, Parkersburg-Vienna’s population fell by 2.4%, nearly the steepest one-year decline of any metro area.

Source: Thinkstock

18. Sebastian-Vero Beach, FL
> Per capita income growth in 2016: -2.4%
> 5 yr. per capita income growth: 9.6%
> Per capita income: $67,841
> May 2018 unemployment: 4.5%

Like every other Florida metro area on this list, Sebastian-Vero Beach’s population is growing rapidly. From 2015 to 2016, the metro area’s population climbed by 2.5% — five times the national population growth rate the same year. Income growth of 0.1% in 2016 was not enough to keep pace, and as a result, per capita income fell by 2.4% in 2016. This may be largely due to a rapidly growing retired population. The number of area residents 65 and older increased by 6.5% in 2016, faster than the comparable 4.7% national increase.

Despite the decline in 2016, the longer term per capita income growth in the area remains high. Over the last five years per capita income grew by 9.6%. For reference, national per capita income grew by 9.0% over the same period. The last time income per capita fell in the Sebastian-Vero Beach metro area was during the Great Recession, from 2008 to 2009.

Source: Thinkstock

17. Cape Coral-Fort Myers, FL
> Per capita income growth in 2016: -2.4%
> 5 yr. per capita income growth: 3.1%
> Per capita income: $43,309
> May 2018 unemployment: 3.4%

Total personal income grew by 0.7% in the Cape Coral-Fort Myers metro area in 2016. Still, the increase in personal income did not keep pace with population growth. The metro area’s population increased by 2.9%, from 702,000 in 2015 to 722,300 in 2016, nearly six times the 0.5% U.S. population growth over the same period. As a result, per capita income in Cape Coral-Fort Myers fell by 2.4% in 2016.

In every Florida metro area on this list — including Cape Coral-Fort Myers — the rapidly growing population is fueling demand for new housing and development. Partially as a result, construction accounts for 10.5% of total private industry employment in Cape Coral-Fort Myers, more than double the industry’s employment share on a national scale. Growth in employment and wages in the construction industry in the Cape Coral-Fort Myers metro area partially offset declines in other industries.

Source: Thinkstock

16. Shreveport-Bossier City, LA
> Per capita income growth in 2016: -2.7%
> 5 yr. per capita income growth: 9.6%
> Per capita income: $45,168
> May 2018 unemployment: 5.3%

Income per capita fell for the first time in five years in the Shreveport-Bossier City metro area. The area’s income per capita of $45,168 is 2.7% lower than in 2015. Oil and gas extraction is a major industry in the area, employing a five times larger share of workers than the comparable nationwide share. The area’s relative dependence on oil and gas extraction likely partially explains the falling per capita income. Oil prices plummeted globally in both 2014 and 2015, hitting lows not seen in well over a decade in 2016. Both employment and total wages in the metro area’s oil and gas extraction industry fell by roughly 20% that year.

Despite the recent decline, per capita income over the last half decade has kept pace with income growth nationwide. Per capita income is up 9.6% from 2011 compared to the 9.0% increase over the same five year period nationwide.