Home > News Release: Personal Income for Metropolitan Areas, 2010
EMBARGOED FOR RELEASE: 8:30 A.M. ET, Tuesday, August 9, 2011
BEA 11-40
Personal Income for Metropolitan Areas, 2010

WASHINGTON DC, August 9, 2011 – Personal income rose in 2010 in all but four of the nation’s 366 metropolitan statistical areas (MSAs), according to estimates released today by the U.S. Bureau of Economic Analysis. Personal income in the metropolitan portion of the United States rose 2.9 percent in 2010 after falling 1.9 percent in 2009. Personal income growth in 2010 ranged from 10.1 percent in Elizabethtown, Kentucky to -0.9 percent in Grand Junction, Colorado. Inflation, as measured by the national price index for personal consumption expenditures, accelerated to 1.8 percent in 2010 from 0.2 percent in 2009.

Map of US

In 2010, earnings grew 2.3 percent and property income grew 0.6 percent as the metropolitan portion of the United States continued to recover from the recession which ended in June 2009. In 2009, these components of personal income fell 4.0 percent and 6.1 percent, respectively. The growth of personal current transfer receipts (including unemployment compensation and social security benefits) slowed to 7.8 percent in 2010 from 13.7 percent in 2009.

Earnings by industry. Earnings grew in the government sector and in 18 out of 21 private industries in 2010. In two of these industries—professional services and the management of companies—the 2010 earnings increase was sufficient for them to recover from the earnings declines in 2008 and 2009. The health care and educational services industries (which are not cyclical) continued to expand in 2010, growing 3.3 percent and 6.2 percent, respectively. In the other 14 private industries that grew in 2010 (including durable goods manufacturing, nondurable goods manufacturing, and finance) earnings grew 2.8 percent (on average) in 2010 after falling 6.5 percent in 2009.

In 2010, earnings continued to decline in the construction and real estate industries. A 4.5 percent decline brought construction earnings to their lowest level since 2001 and a 2.1 percent decline brought real estate earnings to their lowest level in the ten-year history for the data. Earnings also fell 0.1 percent in the utilities industry following a 1.4 percent increase in 2009.

Earnings by MSA. Private-sector earnings grew in 2010 in each of the 15 largest MSAs (accounting for 48 percent of this sector’s earnings in the metropolitan portion of the United States). In two of these MSAs—San Jose, California and Washington, D.C.—the rebound in 2010 brought their earnings to new highs after falling in 2008 and 2009. In the other 13 large MSAs, earnings grew 2.8 percent (on average) in 2010 after falling 5.9 percent in 2009.

Among the other 351 MSAs, private-sector earnings grew in 301 metropolitan areas, declined in 46, and remained unchanged in 4. On average, private-sector earnings in these smaller MSAs grew 2.0 percent in 2010 after falling 4.6 percent in 2009.

Among the 20 MSAs with the fastest earnings growth, the mining industry (including oil and gas extraction) contributed more than any other industry to earnings growth in Midland, Texas; Odessa, Texas; and Williamsport, Pennsylvania (in the Marcellus Shale region). The durable goods industry contributed the most to earnings growth in Elkhart, Indiana; Columbus, Indiana; and Oshkosh, Wisconsin.

In the four MSAs having the fastest personal income growth rates in 2010—Elizabethtown, Kentucky; Lawton, Oklahoma; Manhattan, Kansas; and Hinesville, Georgia—government earnings growth, particularly for the military, was strong. In these four MSAs military earnings grew 14 percent or more in 2010.

NOTE.–MSA names in the text are abbreviated; full names are provided in Table 1.


Personal income is the income received by all persons from all sources. Personal income is the sum of net earnings by place of residence, property 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 proprietors' income) less contributions for government social insurance, plus an adjustment to convert earnings by place of work to a place-of-residence basis. Property income is rental income of persons, personal dividend income, and personal interest income. 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 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. 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. Personal income statistics for the 366 metropolitan areas are shown in Tables 1 and 2.


An article describing data sources and presenting summary personal income statistics for metropolitan areas will be published in the September issue of the Survey of Current Business, the monthly journal of the Bureau of Economic Analysis.


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 alerts of BEA releases and announcements.


The next metropolitan area economic data release, scheduled for September 13, 2011 at 8:30 A.M., will be Gross Domestic Product by Metropolitan Area, 2010 and Revised for 2007-09.