Home > News Release: Local Area Personal Income: 2015
EMBARGOED UNTIL RELEASE: 8:30 A.M. EST, Thursday, November 17, 2016
BEA 16—61

Local Area Personal Income: 2015

Personal income grew in 2015 in 2,552 counties, fell in 548, and was unchanged in 13, according to estimates released today by the U.S. Bureau of Economic Analysis. On average, personal income rose 4.7 percent in 2015 in the metropolitan portion of the United States and rose 2.7 percent in the nonmetropolitan portion. Personal income growth in 2015 ranged from -30.3 percent in Sully County, South Dakota to 35.0 percent in Loving County, Texas.

Map of US

Personal income is the income received by, or on behalf of, all persons from all sources: from participation as laborers in production, from owning a home or unincorporated business, from the ownership of financial assets, and from government and business in the form of transfer receipts. It includes income from domestic sources as well as from the rest of the world.

Personal income is the income that is available to persons for consumption expenditures, taxes, interest payments, transfer payments to governments and the rest of the world, or for saving. Personal income for 2015 ranged from $3.6 million in Loving County, Texas to $544.3 billion in Los Angeles County, California.

Per capita personal income–personal income divided by population–is a useful metric for making comparisons of the level of personal income across counties. Table 1 presents estimates of per capita personal income by state and county. In 2015, it ranged from $16,007 in Wheeler County, Georgia to $194,861 in Teton County, Wyoming.

The county personal income estimates released today continue the successively more detailed series of data releases from the Bureau of Economic Analysis (BEA) depicting the geographic distribution of the nations personal income for 2015. National estimates of personal income for 2015 were released in January 2016, followed by preliminary state personal income estimates in March. The personal income estimates released today provide the first glimpse of personal income for 2015 in counties and metropolitan statistical areas. The geographic picture will be completed with the release of real personal income for states and metropolitan areas in June 2017.

Updates to Local Area Personal Income. In addition to today's release of 2015 local area personal income, BEA released revised statistics for the 1998 to 2014 period. Revisions were made to incorporate the results of the annual revision of the national income and product accounts (NIPAs), the annual revision of the state personal income accounts, and to incorporate local area source data that are more complete and more detailed than those previously available. In addition, this year's revision introduced two major methodological improvements affecting nonfarm proprietors' income that were discussed in the March, July, and October 2016 issues of the Survey of Current Business: (1) improved geocoding and editing of source data from IRS Form 1065 (Partnership Returns) and Schedule C of Form 1040 (Sole Proprietor Returns), and (2) an improved method of allocating national control totals to states and counties. A complete presentation and discussion of the data and revisions will be provided in the December 2016 issue of the Survey of Current Business.

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Next release: June 22, 2017 at 8:30 A.M. EDT – Real Personal Income for States and Metropolitan Areas, 2015

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Definitions

Personal income is the income received by, or on behalf of, all persons from all sources: from participation as laborers in production, from owning a home or business, from the ownership of financial assets, and from government and business in the form of transfers. It includes income from domestic sources as well as the rest of world. It does not include realized or unrealized capital gains or losses.

Per capita personal income is calculated as the total personal income of the residents of a given area divided by the population of the area. In computing per capita personal income, BEA uses Census Bureau mid-year population estimates.

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 for the United States is the sum of the state estimates and the estimate for the District of Columbia; 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.

Uses of the Local Area Personal Income Statistics

Local area personal income statistics provide a framework for analyzing current economic conditions in local economies and can serve as a basis for decision making. For example, they can be used:

  • in economic models to project tax revenues and the demand for public utilities and services,
  • to determine areas for locating, expanding, and closing businesses,
  • to analyze the economic impact of disasters, and
  • to determine whether an area has sufficient income to undertake and support specific projects and activities to encourage economic development.

List of News Release Tables

Table 1. Per Capita Personal Income by County, 2013 - 2015