In the first 20 years of the 21st century, real per capita income rose from $33,645 in 2000 to $47,241 in 2020. Income growth was not distributed evenly across the country, rising the most in fast-growing tech hubs like San Jose and San Francisco, while declining in a handful of Southern and Midwestern cities. The question is, what does the future hold?
Incomes have started to rise more rapidly recently amid low unemployment and high demand for workers. But record-levels of inflation have more than offset these recent wage increases for the average American worker.
Still, real per capita income, based on data from business consulting firm Woods & Poole Economics, is projected to grow by 72% by 2060, from $53,658 in 2022 to $92,394 in 2060. Over that time, the U.S. population is projected to grow by 25.5%. Income growth will not be even nationwide and is projected to grow much faster than the national pace in some metro areas.
To determine the 40 cities where incomes will rise the most by 2060, 24/7 Wall St. reviewed data on income projections from Woods & Poole Economics, Inc., Washington D.C. Copyright 2022. Metropolitan areas were ranked based on the percentage change in projected real income per capita from 2022 to 2060. Income figures are in 2012 dollars. Supplemental data on employment and earnings by industry used to calculate change in average earnings by industry from 2022 to 2060 is also from Woods & Poole.
Projected per capita real income growth from 2022 to 2060 in the 40 cities on the list ranges from 77.6% in Springfield, Massachusetts, to nearly 110% in the south Texas border metro area of Brownsville-Harlingen. (By population, these are cities that will grow the fastest in the next few decades.)
Texas and Florida, the country’s second- and third-most populous states, have the most cities on the list — cities where real incomes are forecast to increase the most. North Carolina and Pennsylvania each placed three cities on the list, including Durham-Chapel Hill and Pittsburgh.
Among the 40 cities, per capita income is expected to increase the least — in dollar terms — in the Texas border metro area of McAllen-Edinburg-Mission, from $27,575 in 2022 to $55,641 in 2060, though the increase is third highest in percentage terms. At the other end of the spectrum, per capita incomes in Naples, Florida, are projected to grow from $102,829 to $185,732 (26th highest in percentage terms). (These are the best cities to move to.)
The industries projected to have the highest wage increases in the 40 cities on the list fall into two broad categories: forestry, fishing, and related activities; and management of companies and enterprises. Educational services are forecast to have the fastest wage increases in six metro areas, including Brownsville, Texas, and Bend, Oregon. Farming will have the top wage increase in Gainesville, Georgia, and Wheeling, straddling the border between West Virginia and Ohio.
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