Home > News Release: Real Personal Income for States and Metropolitan Areas, 2013
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BEA 15—32

Real Personal Income for States and Metropolitan Areas, 2013

Real personal income across all regions rose by an average of 0.8 percent in 2013. This growth rate reflects the year-over-year change in nominal personal income across all regions adjusted by the change in the national personal consumption expenditures (PCE) price index. On a nominal basis, personal income across all regions grew an average of 2.0 percent in 2013. In 2013, the U.S. PCE price index grew 1.2 percent.

Map of US

Real Personal Income for States and Metropolitan Areas

Growth in real state personal income in 2013 ranged from an increase of 3.5 percent in Idaho to a decline of 4.4 percent in North Dakota. These growth rates reflect the year-over-year change in the state's nominal personal income, the change in the national PCE price index, and the change in the regional price parity for that state. After Idaho, the states with the largest growth rates were Utah (2.3 percent), California (2.2 percent), Nebraska (2.2 percent), and South Dakota (2.0 percent). After North Dakota, the states with the largest rates of decline were New Mexico (-0.6 percent), New York (-0.4 percent), Maryland (-0.3 percent), and Montana (-0.2 percent). States with growth rates close to the national average were Wyoming (0.8 percent), Oklahoma (0.7 percent), Ohio (0.7 percent), New Hampshire (0.7 percent), and Illinois (0.7 percent).

Growth in real metropolitan area personal income in 2013 ranged from an increase of 4.8 percent in Sioux City, IA-NE-SD to a decline of 3.1 percent in New Bern, NC. After Sioux City, IA-NE-SD, the metropolitan areas with the largest growth rates were Janesville-Beloit, WI (4.6 percent), Danville, IL (4.4 percent), Monroe, MI (4.4 percent), and Boise City, ID (3.9 percent). After New Bern, NC, the metropolitan areas with the largest declines were Beckley, WV (-3.0 percent), Fairbanks, AK (-2.9 percent), Peoria, IL (-2.9 percent), and Anniston-Oxford-Jacksonville, AL (-2.4 percent).

Regional Price Parities

Regional Price Parities (RPPs) measure the differences in the price levels of goods and services across states and metropolitan areas for a given year. RPPs are expressed as a percentage of the overall national price level for each year, which is equal to 100.0.

In 2013, the District of Columbia's RPP (117.7) was higher than that of any state. The states with the highest RPPs were Hawaii (116.2), New York (115.3), New Jersey (114.5), and California (112.3). Mississippi (86.8), Arkansas (87.5), South Dakota (87.6), Alabama (87.7), and West Virginia (88.4) had the lowest RPPs among the States. States with high (low) RPPs typically have relatively high (low) price levels for rents. States with RPPs closest to the national average price level were Vermont (100.2), Illinois (101.0), Florida (98.8), and Oregon (98.7).

In 2013, the metropolitan area with the highest RPP was Urban Honolulu, HI (122.5). Metropolitan areas with RPPs above 120.0 also included New York-Newark-Jersey City, NY-NJ-PA (122.3), San Jose-Sunnyvale-Santa Clara, CA (121.3), Bridgeport-Stamford-Norwalk, CT (120.8), Santa Cruz-Watsonville, CA (120.5), and San Francisco-Oakland-Hayward, CA (120.3). The metropolitan area with the lowest RPP was Beckley, WV (78.0), followed by Danville, IL (79.2), Rome, GA (81.3), Jonesboro, AR (81.7), and Valdosta, GA (81.8).

Map of US

Technical Note on Regional Price Parities and Implicit Regional Price Deflators

Price indexes commonly measure price changes over time. The BEA's Personal Consumption Expenditure price index and the BLS' Consumer Price Index (CPI) are two examples. Spatial price indexes measure price level differences across regions for one time period. An example of these type of indexes are purchasing power parities (PPPs), which measure differences in price levels across countries for a given period, and can be used to convert estimates of per capita GDP into comparable levels in a common currency. The regional price parities (RPPs) that BEA has developed compare regions within the United States, but without the need for currency conversion. An implicit regional price deflator (IRPD) can be derived by combining the RPPs and the PCE price index.

Regional Price Parities. The RPPs are calculated using price quotes for a wide array of items from the CPI, which are aggregated into broader expenditure categories (such as food, transportation, or education)1. Data on rents are obtained separately from the Census Bureau's American Community Survey (ACS). The expenditure weights for each category are constructed using CPI expenditure weights, BEA's Personal Consumption Expenditures, and ACS rents expenditures2.

The broader categories and the data on rents are combined with the expenditure weights using a multilateral aggregation method that expresses a region's price level relative to the US3.

For example, if the RPP for area A is 120 and for area B is 90, then on average, prices are 20 percent higher and 10 percent lower than the US average for A and B, respectively. If the Personal Income for area A is $12,000 and for area B is $9,000, then RPP-adjusted incomes are $10,000 ($12,000/1.20) and $10,000 ($9,000/0.90), respectively. In other words, the purchasing power of the two incomes is equivalent when adjusted by their respective RPPs.

Implicit Regional Price Deflator. The IRPD is a regional price index derived as the product of two terms: the regional price parity and the US PCE price index.

The implicit regional price deflator will equal current dollar personal income divided by real personal income in chained dollars. The growth rate or year-to-year change in the IRPDs is a measure of regional inflation4

Detailed information on the methodology used to estimate the RPPs may be found in the article, "Real Personal Income and Regional Price Parities for States and Metropolitan Areas, 2008-2012", in the June 2014 issue of the Survey of Current Business.


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. These are current dollar estimates. Comparisons for different regions and time periods reflect changes in both the price and quantity components of regional personal income.

Estimates of personal income in the United States are derived as the sum of the regional estimates. These differ from the estimates of personal income in the national income and product account (NIPAs) because of differences in coverage, in the methodologies used to prepare the estimates, and in the timing of the availability of source data.

Regional price parities (RPPs) are regional price levels expressed as a percentage of the overall national price level for a given year. The price level is determined by the average prices paid by consumers for the mix of goods and services consumed in each region.

Detailed CPI price data are adjusted to obtain average price levels for BLS-defined areas5. These are allocated to counties in combination with direct price and expenditure data on rents from the ACS. County data are then aggregated to states and metropolitan areas.

Personal income at RPPs is current-dollar personal income divided by the price parity6 for a given year and region. A balancing factor is applied so that the sum of personal income at RPPs across regions equals the current dollar sum.

Real personal income is personal income at RPPs divided by the national PCE chain-type price index. The result is real personal income in chained dollars (using 2009 as the reference year). Using Alaska in 2013 as an example:

Alaska RPI Forumla

Estimates of real personal income in the United States are derived as the sum of the regional estimates divided by the U.S. PCE Price Index.

Implicit Regional Price Deflator (IRPD) is the product of the RPP times the national PCE price index. It is equal to personal income divided by real personal income. See also the Technical Note.

The tables in this press release are also available on the BEA website. Additional tables showing estimates of real income and regional price parities can also be found there for state metropolitan and nonmetropolitan portions, and metropolitan areas. Supplemental tables are available upon request.

BEA's national, international, regional, and industry statistics; 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.

Next real personal income release – July 2016 for states, state metropolitan and nonmetropolitan portions, and metropolitan areas.

1 The BEA Regional Price Parity statistics are based in part on restricted access Consumer Price Index data from the Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS). The BEA statistics expressed herein are products of BEA and not BLS.

2 To estimate RPPs, CPI price quotes are quality adjusted and pooled over 5 years. The ACS rents are also quality adjusted and are either annual for states or pooled over 3 years for metropolitan areas. The expenditure weights are specific to each year.

3 The multilateral system that is used is the Geary additive method. Any region or combination of regions may be used as the base or reference region without loss of consistency.

4 The growth rate of the implicit regional price deflators will not necessarily equal the region or metro area price deflators published by the BLS. This is because the CPI deflators are calculated directly while the IRPDs are indirect estimates, and because of differences in the source data and the methodology. For a complete description see the BEA working paper titled "Notes on estimating the Multi-year regional price parities by 16 expenditure categories: 2005–2009" (/papers/pdf/notes_on_estimating_the_multi_year_rpps_and_appendix_tables.pdf)

5 The CPI represents about 87 percent of the total U.S. population, including almost all residents of urban or metropolitan areas. In the northeast region, rural area prices (exclusive of Rents) are assumed to be the same as those in the small metropolitan areas of the CPI; in the midwest, south, and west regions, they are assumed to be the same as those in the nonmetropolitan urban areas of the CPI.

6 RPP should first be divided by 100.