Home > News Release: Local Area Personal Income, 2009 – 2011
EMBARGOED FOR RELEASE: 8:30 A.M. EST, Monday, November 26, 2012
BEA 12–52
Local Area Personal Income, 2009 – 2011

Personal income rose in 2011 in all of the nationís 366 metropolitan statistical areas (MSAs) for the first time since 2007, according to estimates released today by the U.S. Bureau of Economic Analysis. Personal income growth ranged from 14.8 percent in Odessa, Texas to 1.0 percent in Rochester, Minnesota. Personal income in the United States rose 5.2 percent in 2011, up from 3.8 percent in 2010. Inflation, as measured by the national price index for personal consumption expenditures, accelerated to 2.4 percent in 2011 from 1.9 percent in 2010.

Map of US county local area personal income

Odessa and neighboring Midland, Texas–which ranked second in personal income growth for MSAs at 14.6 percent–had strong earnings growth in mining and related industries, while Rochesterís personal income was affected by a decline in health care earnings.

In 2011, personal income grew on average 5.2 percent across all MSAs–which accounted for 87 percent of the nationís personal income–up from 3.9 percent in 2010. Earnings grew 5.5 percent and property income (personal dividends, interest, and rent) grew 7.6 percent for all MSAs in 2011, up from 3.6 percent and 1.8 percent respectively in 2010. The growth of current transfer receipts (including Social Security, Medicare, and unemployment insurance) slowed to 1.5 percent in 2011, down from 7.1 percent in 2010.

Per capita personal income (personal income divided by population) in MSAs in 2011 ranged from $78,504 in Bridgeport-Stamford-Norwalk, Connecticut to $21,620 in McAllen-Edinburg-Mission, Texas. Per capita personal income for the nation was $41,560.


Personal income rose in 3,062 of the nationís 3,113 counties in 2011, with growth ranging from 62.2 percent in King County, Texas to -28.8 percent in Lynn County, Texas. Of the 50 counties with the fastest personal income growth in 2011, 45 were located in the Plains Region–with 41 of the 45 counties located in Nebraska, North Dakota, and South Dakota. Increases in farm income were a major factor in the growth rates for most of these counties.

Personal income for nonmetropolitan counties grew, on average, 5.5 percent in 2011, up from 3.5 percent in 2010. Earnings grew 6.8 percent in 2011 for nonmetropolitan counties (up from 3.8 percent in 2010), which exceeded the growth rate across all metropolitan counties, while growth rates in property income (7.4 percent) and current transfer receipts (1.6 percent) were slightly lower than the growth rates for metropolitan counties.

Per capita personal income in counties in 2011 ranged from $121,301 in New York County (Manhattan), New York to $16,752 in Crowley County, Colorado. Of the nationís 3,113 counties, 609 (19.6 percent) had 2011 per capita personal income levels that exceeded the nationís average of $41,560.

The county estimates released today complete the successively more detailed series of data releases depicting the geographic distribution of the nationís personal income for 2011. A partial sample of the data available is presented in the attached table for San Diego County, California. These estimates are the only comprehensive annual measure of economic activity available for counties. To access these estimates, go to www.bea.gov/iTable/index_regional.cfm.

Acceleration of Release of Local Area Personal Income Statistics

Todayís release of personal income and employment for all local areas represents a five-month acceleration of the release of the complete set of local area personal income statistics, which includes counties, metropolitan areas, and micropolitan areas. Separate releases of Advance Personal Income for Metropolitan Areas (formerly in August of each year), and County Compensation by Industry (formerly released in December), have been discontinued by BEA due to this acceleration.

Note about data on the BEA Web site

The complete set of local area income and employment estimates for 1969-2011óincluding estimates for counties and metropolitan areasóis now available interactively on BEAís 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 commutersí 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/iTable/index_regional.cfm 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 BEAís 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 December 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 on BEAís 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, supplements to wages and salaries, and proprietorsí 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 the residents of a given area divided by the resident population of the area. In computing per capita personal income, BEA uses the Census Bureauís 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 December 2009. OMBís 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. The definitions of the metropolitan areas are available at www.bea.gov/regional/docs/msalist.cfm.

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.