Thursday, May 06, 2010

Rural counties led in income growth, but were still below urban counties in per capita income

The top counties showing an increase in personal income between 2007 and 2008 are decidedly rural. The 108 highest ranked counties and 364 of the top 400 counties in average personal income growth are rural, Bill Bishop writes in the Daily Yonder. "Most of the counties with the fastest growing incomes were in the Midwest and Great Plains, communities that benefited from extraordinary increases in farm revenue in ’08," Bishop writes. Counties in green on the Yonder map below have the highest growth rates, while counties in red have growth rates below the 2.9 percent national average and those in dark red saw decreases in income.

Despite the rural-heavy trend in the fastest growing counties list, the gap in per capita income between rural and urban counties widened in the 2000s. "In 2000, average per capita income in urban counties was $10,281 greater than in rural counties," Bishop writes. "By 2008, the gap had grown to $11,864." Counties with the lowest per capita incomes were concentrated in "Eastern Kentucky, South Texas, the Mississippi Delta and counties with high concentrations of Native Americans," Bishop writes. The Yonder also has data for each county available in spreadsheet form and charts ranking the top 50 and bottom 50 rural counties in per capita income growth. (Read more)

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