Update on Median Household Incomes: 2016


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Just released Survey of Current Population (CPS) indicates that median household income in the United States was $59,039 in 2016 (Note). This is four percent above the 2002 level, when the ethnic surveying system was adopted. This article provides data for each of the metropolitan areas (more than 1,000,000 population), including the overall median, and figures for the largest ethnicities (White Non-Hispanic, African-American, Asian, and Hispanic. The ethnicty of households is determined by “householder,” (formerly called “head of household”). The major metropolitan area data is shown in the table at the bottom of the article.

Median Household Income by Largest Ethnicity

Some people may find it surprising that Asian households have by farthe highest median incomes of the four largest ethnicities. This is not new, but has been evident from the very earliest Census Bureau income estimates that separated out Asians. According to the Census Bureau, Asians are persons “having origins in any of the original peoples of the Far East, Southeast Asia, or the Indian subcontinent, including, for example, Cambodia, China, India, Japan, Korea, Malaysia, Pakistan, the Philippine Islands, Thailand, and Vietnam.” In 2016, Asian household median household income was $81,431, compared to $65,041 for White Non-Hispanic households.

San Jose: Most Affluent Metropolitan Area

Asian (alone) income has been separately estimated since 2002 when it was 12 percent higher than the median income of White Non-Hispanic (alone) households. Even before that, from 1987 to 2001, Asian income was reported along with that of Pacific Islanders and was 14 percent above that of White Non-Hispanic households. ing gap has widened substantially and now Asian households have a median income 25 percent above White Non-Hispanic households. The gap has increased because White Non-Hispanic households have stagnated, rising four percent inflation adjusted terms between 2002 in 2016, while Asian incomes have increased 16 percent.

Hispanic median household income was $47,675, an increase of eight percent from 2002. African-American (alone) median household income was $39,490, an even lower increase than White Non-Hispanic four percent from 2002 (Figure 1).

Highest and Lowest Household Metropolitan Area Incomes: Overall

The highest median household income is in San Jose, at $110,400 annually, according to the American Community Survey, 2016. San Jose also has the highest median household income for all four ethnicities. Nearby San Francisco has the second highest median household income, $96,700. Washington is third, at $95,800. Fourth ranked Boston is more than $10,000 lower, while fifth ranked Seattle is nearly $4,000 lower than Boston. The balance of the top 10 includes Baltimore, Minneapolis-St. Paul, Hartford, Denver and New York (Figure 2).

Tucson had the lowest median household income, at $47,800. Six of the least affluent 10 major metropolitan areas were in the South, including New Orleans, Memphis, Tampa – St. Petersburg, Miami, Birmingham and Orlando. The East and Midwest each had one in the bottom 10, Cleveland and Buffalo. The West’s Las Vegas was also in the least affluent 10.

Asian Households: The Most Affluent

The three most affluent major metropolitan areas for Asian households duplicate the overall ratings, above, San Jose, San Francisco and Washington. Raleigh ranks fourth and Baltimore fifth, followed by Seattle, Charlotte, Boston, Dallas-Fort Worth and Cleveland (Figure 3).

Tucson also had the lowest Asian median household income, with Buffalo and New Orleans only slightly higher. Grand Rapids was the fourth least affluent followed by Rochester. Oklahoma City, Birmingham, Jacksonville, Indianapolis and Las Vegas rounded out the least 10 affluent Asian households.

White Non-Hispanic Households

The top three among White Non-Hispanic households are the same as the overall and Asian rankings, though Washington is rated second, instead of third, with San Jose first and San Francisco third. New York was fourth, while Boston was fifth. The balance of the top ten for White Non-Hispanic median household incomes included Baltimore, Los Angeles, Seattle, Houston, and Hartford (Figure 4).

Tucson had the lowest White Non-Hispanic median household income, at $53,700. Tampa St. Petersburg, Pittsburgh, Louisville and Buffalo made up the balance of the bottom five. Rochester, Cleveland, Okemos city, Birmingham and Las Vegas occupy positions six through 10.

Hispanic Households

As with White Non-Hispanics, the highest Hispanic median household incomes were in San Jose, Washington and San Francisco. Baltimore and Seattle ranked fourth and fifth. The balance of the top 10 included Austin, Pittsburgh, Jacksonville, San Diego and Chicago (Figure 5)

Rochester had the least affluent Hispanic households, with a median income of $28,600. The balance of the bottom five included Buffalo, Indianapolis, Providence, and New Orleans. Milwaukee, Philadelphia, Tucson Louisville and Oklahoma City were also in the bottom 10.

African-American Households

The highest income African-American households were in San Jose, Baltimore and San Diego, followed by Denver and Austin. The fifth through 10th positions were occupied by New York, Raleigh, Boston, Atlanta, and Riverside-San Bernardino (Figure 6).

Buffalo had the lowest median household income among African – Americans, at $27,600. Milwaukee, New Orleans, Cleveland, and Rochester were also below 30,000. The sixth through 10th positions were occupied by Oklahoma City, Cincinnati, Pittsburgh, Indianapolis and Louisville, with incomes between $31,000 and $34,000.

The Challenge

The stagnation of incomes since 2002 is apparent, especially at the overall level and among African-American and White Non-Hispanic households. It is to be hoped that the future results in a return of historic economic growth, which is the only sure way of sustainably increasing the incomes of all households and all ethnicities.

Note: Because of differing data collection approaches, the Survey of Current Population (CPS) income data is somewhat higher (2.5 percent) than that of American Community Survey (ACS) 2016 figure of $57,617. CPS data is not available for most geographies. Because the principal, national and ethnicity analysis by the Census Bureau relies on CPS data, it is used here for the national level.

Median Household Income: 2016: Metropolitan Areas over 1,000,000 Population
Metropolitan Area All Rank White Non-Hispanic Rank African-American Rank Asian Rank Hispanic Rank
Atlanta, GA  $   62,613    22  $   75,435    19  $   48,161    10  $   80,209    22  $ 50,563    21
Austin, TX  $   71,000    12  $   80,599    13  $   49,871      6  $   87,817    12  $ 56,306      6
Baltimore, MD  $   76,788      6  $   89,329      6  $   53,231      3  $   97,252      5  $ 69,525      4
Birmingham, AL  $   52,226    47  $   61,662    45  $   37,336    34  $   63,144    47  $ 47,083    26
Boston, MA-NH  $   82,380      4  $   91,051      5  $   48,444      9  $   90,098      8  $ 46,708    28
Buffalo, NY  $   53,487    45  $   60,342    49  $   27,635    52  $   45,726    52  $ 28,939    52
Charlotte, NC-SC  $   59,979    31  $   67,742    28  $   42,108    22  $   90,291      7  $ 43,680    36
Chicago, IL-IN-WI  $   66,020    16  $   79,865    15  $   37,258    35  $   87,469    13  $ 52,730    10
Cincinnati, OH-KY-IN  $   60,260    28  $   65,438    34  $   32,429    46  $   86,953    14  $ 50,932    20
Cleveland, OH  $   52,131    48  $   61,078    47  $   29,376    49  $   88,735    10  $ 41,699    43
Columbus, OH  $   60,294    27  $   65,465    32  $   36,679    37  $   70,224    37  $ 42,820    38
Dallas-Fort Worth, TX  $   63,812    20  $   78,994    17  $   45,588    18  $   89,177      9  $ 48,311    24
Denver, CO  $   71,926      9  $   80,668    12  $   50,318      5  $   72,038    34  $ 51,955    15
Detroit,  MI  $   56,142    38  $   64,620    37  $   33,558    42  $   88,045    11  $ 49,715    22
Grand Rapids, MI  $   60,212    29  $   63,872    40  $   34,667    41  $   54,819    50  $ 41,997    41
Hartford, CT  $   72,559      8  $   81,839    10  $   47,328    13  $   83,141    18  $ 42,200    40
Houston, TX  $   61,708    25  $   82,015      9  $   47,588    12  $   85,527    16  $ 46,488    29
Indianapolis. IN  $   56,750    37  $   63,826    41  $   32,696    44  $   64,404    45  $ 35,941    51
Jacksonville, FL  $   56,840    36  $   62,373    42  $   41,007    26  $   63,473    46  $ 54,447      8
Kansas City, MO-KS  $   61,385    26  $   67,607    29  $   36,575    38  $   68,609    41  $ 45,672    33
Las Vegas, NV  $   54,384    44  $   61,833    44  $   37,410    32  $   65,423    44  $ 45,831    32
Los Angeles, CA  $   65,950    18  $   84,075      7  $   45,469    19  $   75,879    27  $ 52,076    13
Louisville, KY-IN  $   54,546    43  $   60,235    50  $   33,287    43  $   65,867    43  $ 41,628    45
Memphis, TN-MS-AR  $   49,809    51  $   67,781    27  $   35,542    39  $   72,892    33  $ 42,244    39
Miami, FL  $   51,362    49  $   65,176    35  $   40,239    29  $   69,547    39  $ 45,938    30
Milwaukee,WI  $   58,029    35  $   68,540    26  $   28,942    51  $   82,121    21  $ 39,389    48
Minneapolis-St. Paul, MN-WI  $   73,231      7  $   78,864    18  $   34,720    40  $   73,010    32  $ 51,122    18
Nashville, TN  $   60,030    30  $   65,441    33  $   41,374    25  $   71,900    35  $ 44,503    34
New Orleans. LA  $   48,804    52  $   64,152    39  $   29,296    50  $   46,860    51  $ 37,463    49
New York, NY-NJ-PA  $   71,897    10  $   91,454      4  $   49,488      7  $   83,063    19  $ 47,266    25
Oklahoma City, OK  $   55,065    42  $   61,536    46  $   31,344    47  $   59,865    48  $ 41,657    44
Orlando, FL  $   52,385    46  $   62,218    43  $   37,356    33  $   76,575    25  $ 42,959    37
Philadelphia, PA-NJ-DE-MD  $   65,996    17  $   79,869    14  $   39,609    30  $   74,597    28  $ 40,334    47
Phoenix, AZ  $   58,075    34  $   64,286    38  $   42,006    23  $   73,380    30  $ 45,883    31
Pittsburgh, PA  $   56,063    40  $   59,046    51  $   32,534    45  $   76,005    26  $ 55,641      7
Portland, OR-WA  $   68,676    14  $   71,859    23  $   37,452    31  $   79,128    23  $ 52,507    11
Providence, RI-MA  $   61,948    23  $   66,853    30  $   41,401    24  $   85,568    15  $ 36,639    50
Raleigh, NC  $   71,685    11  $   79,539    16  $   49,433      8  $ 100,396      4  $ 44,346    35
Richmond, VA  $   62,929    21  $   74,900    20  $   43,265    20  $   85,510    17  $ 51,084    19
Riverside-San Bernardino, CA  $   58,236    33  $   64,699    36  $   47,879    11  $   77,682    24  $ 51,892    16
Rochester, NY  $   55,134    41  $   60,441    48  $   29,527    48  $   58,907    49  $ 28,553    53
Sacramento, CA  $   64,052    19  $   71,675    24  $   40,969    27  $   69,088    40  $ 51,555    17
St. Louis,, MO-IL  $   59,780    32  $   66,815    31  $   36,712    36  $   68,112    42  $ 52,005    14
Salt Lake City, UT  $   68,196    15  $   72,356    21       $   73,650    29  $ 49,637    23
San Antonio, TX  $   56,105    39  $   72,280    22  $   46,754    15  $   71,485    36  $ 46,943    27
San Diego, CA  $   70,824    13  $   81,431    11  $   52,715      4  $   82,136    20  $ 53,076      9
San Francisco-Oakland, CA  $   96,677      2  $ 115,056      3  $   46,571    16  $ 105,295      2  $ 70,290      3
San Jose, CA  $ 110,040      1  $ 121,344      1  $   65,438      2  $ 128,175      1  $ 70,999      1
Seattle, WA  $   78,612      5  $   82,935      8  $   47,270    14  $   91,036      6  $ 59,073      5
Tampa-St. Petersburg, FL  $   51,115    50  $   54,295    52  $   40,760    28  $   69,574    38  $ 41,767    42
Tucson, AZ  $   47,560    53  $   53,722    53  $   43,154    21  $   45,648    53  $ 40,394    46
Virginia Beach-Norfolk, VA-NC  $   61,805    24  $   71,553    25  $   46,209    17  $   73,191    31  $ 52,353    12
Washington, DC-VA-MD-WV  $   95,843      3  $ 115,474      2  $   69,246      1  $ 103,746      3  $ 70,523      2
Source: American Community Survey 2016
Blank indicates insufficiently large sample size

 

Wendell Cox is principal of Demographia, an international public policy and demographics firm. He is a Senior Fellow of the Center for Opportunity Urbanism (US), Senior Fellow for Housing Affordability and Municipal Policy for the Frontier Centre for Public Policy (Canada), and a member of the Board of Advisors of the Center for Demographics and Policy at Chapman University (California). He is co-author of the “Demographia International Housing Affordability Survey” and author of “Demographia World Urban Areas” and “War on the Dream: How Anti-Sprawl Policy Threatens the Quality of Life.” He was appointed to three terms on the Los Angeles County Transportation Commission, where he served with the leading city and county leadership as the only non-elected member. He served as a visiting professor at the Conservatoire National des Arts et Metiers, a national university in Paris.



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