Home > News Release: Local Area Personal Income, 2006
EMBARGOED FOR RELEASE: 8:30 A.M. ET, Thursday, April 24, 2008
BEA 08–16
Local Area Personal Income, 2006

WASHINGTON DC, April 24, 2008 – Today, the Bureau of Economic Analysis (BEA) released estimates of personal income at the county level for 2006 based on newly available source data. Personal income is a comprehensive measure of the income of all persons from all sources. In addition to wages and salaries it includes employer–provided health insurance, dividends and interest income, social security benefits, and other types of income.1

Map of US

The percent change from 2005 to 2006 in county personal income ranged from 648 percent in St. Bernard Parish, Louisiana to –43 percent in Slope County, North Dakota. For the nation, personal income grew 6.7 percent. A sharp drop in the expenses of proprietors and owner occupied housing accounts for most of the growth in 9 of the 10 fastest growing counties–all of them in Louisiana. Expenses in those counties had been extraordinarily high in 2005 because the property destroyed and damaged by Hurricane Katrina and other disasters (net of insurance claims) is treated as an expense (consumption of fixed capital) in the derivation of personal income.

Personal income declined in 2006 in 227 counties. In all but 5 of these counties farming can account for the entire decline. The largest percentage losses in personal income were in counties in the Dakotas and Texas.

Per capita personal income (personal income divided by population) ranged from $110,292 in New York County, New York to $9,140 in Loup County, Nebraska.

The county estimates released today complete the increasingly detailed series of data releases depicting the geographic distribution of the nation's personal income for 2006. National estimates typically are released one month after the end of the year, state estimates are released two months later, and metropolitan area estimates for 2006 were released last August.

Personal income and its components are available for 3,111 counties from 1969 to 2006. In addition, detailed annual estimates of earnings and employment by industry, inflows and outflows of commuters' earnings, personal current transfer receipts, and farm gross income and expenses by major category for each county are available. A partial sample of the data available is presented in the attached table for Cook County, Illinois. These estimates are the only detailed, broadly inclusive, annual measure of economic activity available for counties. Go to www.bea.gov/bea/regional/reis/ to access these estimates.

A computer–generated narrative describing county, MSA, and state personal income using current estimates, growth rates, and a breakdown of the sources of personal income is available at www.bea.gov/regional/bearfacts/.

1. — For a comparison of BEA's personal income to other measures of income see the box, "Alternative Measures of Household Income," in the April issue of the Survey of Current Business.

Note about data on the BEA Web site

The complete set of income and employment estimates for 1969–2006 for counties, micropolitan areas, metropolitan areas, and BEA Economic Areas is now available interactively on BEA's Web site. Detailed annual estimates of earnings and employment by industry, components of personal income, personal current transfer receipts, farm gross income and expenses by major category, and inflows and outflows of commuters' earnings for each of the geographic regions are available. These estimates are the only detailed, broadly inclusive, annual measure of economic activity available for counties. Go to www.bea.gov/regional/reis/ to access these estimates.

BEA Regional Facts (BEARFACTS), a narrative summary of personal income, per capita personal income, and components of income for metropolitan areas and counties, is available on BEA's Web site. Go to www.bea.gov/regional/bearfacts/ to access these summaries.

Data on personal income and per capita personal income for BEA regions, states, and metropolitan areas, as well as data for counties, will be presented in the May issue of the Survey of Current Business, the monthly journal of the Bureau of Economic Analysis. See the end of this release for information on obtaining copies of the Survey of Current Business in printed form and on BEA's Web site. For further information, call (202) 606–5360.


Personal income is the income received by all persons from all sources. Personal income is the sum of net earnings by place of residence, rental income of persons, personal dividend income, personal interest income, and personal current transfer receipts. Net earnings is earnings by place of work (the sum of wage and salary disbursements (payrolls), supplements to wages and salaries, and proprietors' income) less contributions for government social insurance, plus an adjustment to convert earnings by place of work to a place–of–residence basis. Personal income is measured before the deduction of personal income taxes and other personal taxes and is reported in current dollars (no adjustment is made for price changes).

The estimate of personal income in the United States is derived as the sum of the county estimates; it differs slightly from the estimate of personal income in the national income and product accounts (NIPAs) because of differences in coverage, in the methodologies used to prepare the estimates, and in the timing of the availability of source data.

Per capita personal income is calculated as the personal income of residents of a given area divided by the resident population of the area. In computing per capita personal income, BEA uses the Census Bureau's annual midyear population estimates.

The metropolitan area definitions used by BEA for its entire series of personal income estimates are the county–based definitions developed by the Office of Management and Budget (OMB) for federal statistical purposes and last updated in November 2007. OMB's general concept of a metropolitan area is that of a geographic area consisting of a large population nucleus together with adjacent communities having a high degree of economic and social integration with the nucleus. Detailed personal income estimates for metropolitan statistical areas, micropolitan statistical areas, metropolitan divisions, and combined statistical areas are available on the BEA Web site at www.bea.gov.

BEA's national, international, regional, and industry estimates; the Survey of Current Business; and BEA news releases are available without charge on BEA's Web site at www.bea.gov. By visiting the site, you can also subscribe to receive free e–mail summaries of BEA releases and announcements.