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Washington DC Incomes Soar as Most of U.S. Declines

Posted on 21-Sep-2013
Topics: Public Trust  Wealth and Power  

From The Wall Street Journal:

American incomes have tumbled over the last decade. But for many people in Washington, D.C., it’s been something of a party.

The income of the typical D.C. household rose 23.3% between 2000 and 2012 to an inflation-adjusted $66,583, according to the Census Bureau’s American Community Survey, its most comprehensive snapshot of America’s demographic, social and economic trends. During this period, median household incomes for the nation as a whole dropped 6.6% — from $55,030 to $51,371. The state of Mississippi, which had one of the biggest declines, dropped 15% to $37,095: Nearly one in three people there have an income that is near the poverty line.

The Washington, D.C. metro area — which includes the surrounding suburbs in Maryland, Virginia and West Virginia — has it even better, with a median household income of $88,233 that ranks highest among the U.S.’s 25 most populous metro areas. Tampa, Florida’s median income, by contrast, is under $45,000.

...

But D.C. — which wasn’t hit as hard as other major U.S. cities by the 2007-2009 recession — is a different story. Its local economy is expanding faster than the broader nation, and its property market is soaring, thanks in part to increased federal-government spending and an influx of federal contractors, lawyers and consultants.

There is, however, a dark side to D.C.’s relative prosperity.

The share of people in D.C. experiencing what’s called “deep poverty” — incomes that are 50% below the poverty line — actually rose between 2000 and 2012 from 9.4% to 10.4%. Forty-five U.S. states saw this rate rise over the same time period. But D.C.’s rate is the highest in the country, beating out Mississippi.

Sources:

[1] "Washington Sees Incomes Soar as Most of U.S. Declines", Neil Shah, Wall Street Journal Blogs, 19-Sep-2013

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