From an economic standpoint, the United States has changed profoundly in the last 10 years. Emerging from a devastating recession in 2009, gross domestic product increased nearly 19% since, and the economy has added jobs for an unprecedented 101 consecutive months. These welcome developments have had a meaningful impact on the lives of everyday Americans as real personal income per capita — a measure that accounts for inflation — climbed 14.3%, from $43,431 in 2008 to $49,627 in 2018.
While the United States is a wealthier nation than it was a decade ago, income growth has not been evenly spread geographically. In some states, the 10-year increase in real personal income far exceeds the 14.3% national growth over that time.
24/7 Wall St. calculated change in real personal income per capita from 2008 to 2018 to identify the states where incomes are booming. In most of these states, faster than average employment growth and strong GDP growth underpin the rapid increase in purchasing power.
It is important to note that an increase in per-capita purchasing power in a state does not necessarily mean all residents are benefitting equally. Real personal income includes sources like capital gains, and often, capital growth disproportionately benefits the highest earners, exacerbating the problem of income inequality and, in some states, the erosion of the middle class. Additionally, increase in income is relative, and some of these states, despite nation-leading increases in income per capita, still rank among the poorest in the country.
To identify the 13 states where incomes are booming, 24/7 Wall St. calculated the percentage growth in real personal income per capita from 2008 to 2018. RPI for 2017 and 2018 were calculated using the 2016 regional price parity, personal income figures, and the personal consumption expenditure price index, in accordance with the methodology provided by the Bureau of Labor Statistics. RPP, PCEPI, RPI, and real gross domestic product in chained 2012 dollars came from the Bureau of Economic Analysis. The fastest-growing industry in each state, as well as data on labor force and unemployment, was derived from the BLS. Total population, population change, household income, and poverty rates were derived from the U.S Census Bureau’s 2017 American Community Survey.