Tuesday, January 22, 2013

Few rural counties have incomes above U.S. median

Just 15 percent of rural and exurban counties had median family incomes that were at or above the national median of $50,502 in 2011, according to Census Bureau data analyzed by the Daily Yonder. Exurban counties are inside a metropolitan area but mostly rural in nature. "Remember, 'median' means the middle," Bill Bishop reports. "Half the households in the U.S. had income greater than $50,502 in 2011, and half made less."
The Yonder map above shows the median household income in each rural and exurban county. (Click on the map for a larger version.) Dark blue counties were the richest in terms of household income. Counties in any shade of blue have incomes higher than the median household income of $41,974. Half of all rural and exurban counties had median family incomes above $41,974, and half had incomes below that amount. Red counties on the map were below the $41,974 mark.

Familiar patterns are revealed by the map, Bishop writes. The richest rural and exurban counties are the western ski areas, the oil and gas region of North Dakota and the Hill Country counties of Texas. The poorest are in Appalachia, the Black Belt in the South, Native American reservations and the Texas/Mexico border. The poorest of the rural and exurban counties were, in descending order: Wilcox County, Alabama; Buffalo County, South Dakota; Owsley County, Kentucky, and Noxubee County, Mississippi. Those counties had median incomes lower than $22,000 in 2011. (Read more)

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