Per Capita Income

Indicator: 
Total income earned in the region divided by the population.
Outcome(s): 
Individual and family prosperity.
Significance: 

The personal income for a metropolitan region is the current income that is received by, or on behalf of, the residents of that area from all sources, minus their contributions for social insurance. Per capita income normalizes personal income by dividing it by the total population. Per capita income, which includes other sources of income aside from wages, such as social security and investment income, is a measure of an area’s economic health and a factor in a community’s standard of living.

Data (click image for interactive version): 

Per capita income, Portland MSA and US Metro average, 1990-2012

Source: Regional Economic Information System, Bureau of Economic Analysis, US Department of Commerce, Table CA1-3: Personal income, population, per capita income

Per capita income, by county, 1990-2012

Source: Regional Economic Information System, Bureau of Economic Analysis, US Department of Commerce, Table CA1-3: Personal income, population, per capita income

Per capita income, above/below national average ($27,319), greater Portland region, 2012 one year estimates

Source: American Community Survey, Table B19301

Per capita income, above/below national average ($26,708), greater Portland region, 2011 one year estimates

Source: American Community Survey, Table B19301

Per capita income, above/below national average ($26,059), greater Portland region, 2010 one year estimates

Source: American Community Survey, Table B19301

Per capita income, above/below national average ($26,409), greater Portland region, 2009 one year estimates

Source: American Community Survey, Table B19301

Per capita income, Portland MSA and United States, by race and ethnicity, 2008 - 2012, five year estimates

Source: American Community Survey, Table B19301A-I

Finding & Trends: 

The Portland-Vancouver-Hillsboro Metropolitan Statistical Area (MSA) per capita income was 95.4 percent of the United States Metro per capita income in 2012, down from a high of 101.6 percent in 2000.

Personal income for the Portland-Vancouver-Hillsboro MSA has grown from $30.7 billion in 1990 to $98.7 billion in 2012. Over the same period, the area’s per capita personal income has grown from about $20,000 to $43,103.

Clackamas County has the highest per-capita income in the four county region ($48,286 in 2012), followed by Washington County ($44,396 in 2012). The average for Multnomah County is very close to the average for the metropolitan area ($43,089) and Clark County has the lowest per capita income ($39,758 in 2012).

Between 2009 and 2012, Clackamas is the only county in the greater Portland region where the growth in per capita income grew at a slower rate than inflation. In other words, when accounting for inflation, the per capita income in Clackamas County was lower in 2011 than in 2009.

In the Portland-Vancouver-Hillsboro MSA, per capita income varies widely across racial and ethnic groups. In 2008-2012, the group with the highest per capita income was non-Hispanic Whites ($32,568 +/-$477). The groups with the lowest per capita incomes were Hispanics or Latinos ($13,717 +/-$362) and those who identified as Some Other Race ($13,583 +/-$671).

Driver(s): 
Education
Wages
Assets
Using the indicator to drive change: 

Per capita income measures both the overall economic health of the community and the financial resources of each household. A good per capita income is important to a region’s ability to attract and attain a highly skilled workforce (Berry, C. Glaeser, E. 2005). Per capita income is a major factor in a community’s standard of living and is regularly used as a Quality of Life indicator (Schuessler, K. Fisher, G., 1985). Regions with a higher per capita income tend to have more educational, recreational and entertainment opportunities. Per capita income is often used as an approximate indicator of a region’s economic health. Active recruitment of industries that pay well is one strategy for increasing per capita income.

Methodology: 

Personal income, as reported by the Bureau of Economic Analysis (BEA), is the sum of wage and salary disbursements, supplements to wages and salaries, proprietors’ income with inventory and capital consumption adjustments, rental income of persons with capital consumption adjustments, personal dividend income, personal interest income, and personal current transfer receipts, less contributions for government social insurance.

The BEA produces annual estimates of personal income for local areas, including counties, metropolitan areas, and BEA economic areas. These estimates are designed to be consistent with the national income and product accounts, which are used to estimate Gross National Product (GNP) and other national economic data. The BEA’s personal income measure is a more comprehensive measure of income than the money income measure used by the Census Bureau (BEA, 2008).

The geography for per capita income is the Portland-Vancouver-Hillsboro, OR-WA Metropolitan Statistical Area (MSA) which includes Clackamas County, OR; Columbia County, OR; Multnomah County, OR; Washington County, OR; Yamhill County, OR; Clark County, WA; and Skamania County, WA. Please note that the geography used varies across different indicators.

Metadata

Disclaimer: 
This indicator is based on information from credible sources. However, changes in collection methods and statistical procedures that have occurred over time may affect the data presented. Limitations that are acknowledged by the sources are noted below. Nevertheless, caution should be taken when interpreting all available data.
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